What are your aged care options?

The number of people requiring assistance from aged care services in Australia is set to balloon over the next 40 years.

To put this in perspective, it’s estimated that by 2055 there will be 300 times more people living over the age of 100 than there were in the 1970s1. At present, more than half of those aged over 45 have contact with aged care providers for themselves or others2.

Based on these figures, there’s a good chance that you or a close family member will require some kind of assistance in the future.

Conversations about future arrangements are never easy, and the sheer amount of information can seem overwhelming. With this in mind, we’ve condensed some key points to help you understand your options.

Aged care services

There are a range of services available for aged care, with different eligibility criteria and assessment processes. These can be organised through the federal government’s My Aged Care initiative.

Options include:

  • Home-based assistance – this option is suitable for those who can live independently but require some help with everyday tasks.
  • Transition care – this after-hospital care is for those who have been in hospital and need support while they recover and consider long-term arrangements. Transition care can be provided at home, or in a ‘live-in’ facility. It’s available from 12 to 18 weeks.
  • Respite care – provides relief for primary carers who need time off to attend to other duties or go on holiday.
  • Residential care – live-in care for those who need ongoing support. Before committing to a residential aged care home, it’s important to research and visit several facilities to find the best fit for you. The services provided and range of activities can vary significantly. Search for facilities with the Aged Care Home Finder
  • Short-term care - also know as restorative care, this option enables people to get assistance over a period of 8 weeks to help with daily tasks. The aim is to promote independence and wellbeing, delaying the need for full-time residential care.

Costs of Aged Care

The financial outlay for aged care options varies depending on the type of care needed and the length of time it’s required. Income and assets are assessed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans Affairs for both at-home-care and residential care packages.

Many residential care facilities require a one-off deposit in addition to ongoing fees for services, accommodation and living expenses.

Self-funded retirees are advised to obtain an income assessment when considering either an at-home-care package or residential aged care to ensure they don’t pay excessive fees and charges.

The Home Care fee estimator and Residential Care fee estimator are helpful tools for calculating fees.

Raising the subject

Making the decision to talk about aged care is the first step in raising this delicate topic. Remember, it’s only natural for people to resist talking about getting older, so don’t try to cover everything in one conversation.

It’s better to introduce the subject gradually, over several conversations so that you and your loved ones feel comfortable discussing options and preferences.

Some tips:

  • Choose a time and place to engage in conversation
  • Consider which family members should be involved
  • Think about what paperwork may be required
  • Get perspectives from third parties, such as the family doctor

There are many factors to consider and decisions to be made when weighing up aged care options, including what to do with the family home.

Both the governments My Aged Care website and ASIC’s MoneySmart website provide further useful information.



Source: AMP 10 April 2017 



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