An Essential Guide to Aged Care Planning

An Essential Guide to Aged Care Planning

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens over 65 access aged care services. As
data from the population ageing research centre (CEPAR) confirms, the number of ageing
Australians are on the rise. This calls for a more proactive aged care planning process.
Aged care planning involves preparing for the future care needs of elderly individuals,
considering medical, social, financial, and legal aspects. For many, this task can seem complex.

Beyond choosing a facility, it's about ensuring comfort and peace for our elderly years. If you're exploring aged care options for yourself or a loved one, this guide aims to help. It'll take
you through the different types of care services, financial and legal considerations, and more.

Different Types Of Aged Care Services

Australia is fortunate to have a variety of care options to suit diverse needs:

1. Home Care
This encompasses tailored care packages delivered at home, allowing seniors to remain independent. For instance, a caregiver might assist with grocery shopping or medication management. Additionally, periodic visits from physiotherapists or occupational therapists can help maintain seniors' mobility and daily function.

2. Residential Care
Aged care homes are more than just facilities; they're vibrant communities where seniors can
interact with each other and even form new friendships. These homes often offer a range of
activities, from art classes to movie nights, to foster engagement and interaction. Moreover,
residents benefit from round-the-clock medical oversight, medication administration
and health check-ups.

3. Transition Care
Post-hospital care often requires special attention. Here, the focus is on rehabilitation and
ensuring a smooth transition back to everyday life. This might include intensive physiotherapy
sessions after a hip replacement or speech therapy after a stroke. Additionally, support staff work
closely with patients to set recovery goals, providing guidance every step of the way.

4. Palliative Care
To ensure holistic support, palliative care teams often consist of doctors, nurses, counsellors, and even spiritual guides. Pain management, emotional counselling, and creating a serene
environment are some of the key services offered.

Every senior is unique, and their health and social requirements dictate the best care choices.

Financial And Legal Considerations

A clear understanding of the financial and legal aspects of aged care planning is paramount.
Here's what you should keep in mind.

Financial Considerations

Here are some options that can assist seniors in aged care:
1. Government subsidies: The Australian government provides financial assistance to
eligible seniors to offset aged care costs.
2. Private health insurance: Some insurance packages cover portions of aged care,
offering more choices and flexibility.
3. Superannuation: Seniors can finance their aged care from their super funds.
4. Home equity: Leveraging home equity through reverse mortgages allows seniors to fund
their care without selling their home.
5. Savings and investments: Seniors can utilize personal savings or investments to pay for
aged care services.

You can take these options to fund your stay or that of your loved one in an aged
care facility. Once financial arrangements are in place, it's essential to focus on legal matters:

1. Draft wills to ensure your assets are distributed as desired.
2. Implement an Enduring Power of Attorney, which allows a designated person to make
financial and health decisions on your behalf if you're unable to.
3. Formulate advance health directives to give clear instructions on medical interventions
and treatments desired when you aren't able to express them directly.
Incorporating these steps will ensure that your wishes, or that of your loved one remain supreme
even when they might no longer voice them.

Selecting The Right Facility Or Service

What should you look for?
1. Research and choose a facility known for its positive reviews and robust community
2. Ensure the facility meets official standards, showcasing its commitment to quality and
best practice care.
3. The competence of staff matters. Ascertain that they possess the necessary training and
certifications for aged care.
4. A visit can reveal a lot. Observe if the environment feels welcoming, friendly, and
conducive to residents' well-being.
5. Consider the facilities available. Does the aged care home have gardens? Are there
communal spaces where residents can mingle?
Once you've settled on the facility of choice, focus on adjusting or helping your loved one adjust
emotionally and mentally. Organise their belongings, ensure they have familiar items,
and most importantly, visit often.

In Closing

Aged care planning isn't just a task on a checklist but one replete with emotions, decisions, and
hopes for a better quality of life. Prioritising early planning, you'll ensure peace of mind for
yourself and your loved ones.
While the journey might seem overwhelming, remember you're supported. Australia offers
numerous resources and services tailored for this phase. The golden years indeed can be golden
with the right preparations.

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