Aged care is a complex area that often requires careful consideration and advice from a suitably qualified expert with relevant skills and knowledge.
Whether you are considering aged care for yourself or for someone else your trusted advisor can provide you with some basic understanding when it comes to making an informed decision.
Many people would prefer to live independently at home as they get older. If you’re generally able to manage but just need some help with daily tasks, there are support services available to help you.
When you have been in hospital, often the most desirable place to go when you leave is to your own home, rather than an aged care home. But sometimes you might need extra help to recover. This is where transition care may be suitable and an option to consider.
Transition care is for older people who have been in hospital, but need more help to recover and time to make a decision about the best place for them to live in the longer term. Transition care may be provided either in your own home or in a ‘live-in’ setting. This setting can be part of an existing aged care home or health facility such as a separate wing of a hospital.
Respite care can support you and your carer with a break for a short period of time. This gives carers the chance to get to everyday activities or go on a planned break. Respite care may be given informally by family, friends, neighbours or by formal respite care services.
Formal respite care may be for a few hours, days or for longer periods. It can take place in the home, an overnight respite cottage, a day centre or an aged care home.
As you mature, you may find that you need more help with day-to-day tasks or health care. If you are living on your own and not able to get out and about as easily as you used to, you may also want some extra company. Sometimes, the best way to receive help and support can be by living in an aged care home (sometimes known as a nursing home) either on a permanent basis or for a short stay (called ‘residential respite’).
You may need help because of an illness, a disability, an emergency, or because of the needs of your family, friends or carer. Staff at aged care homes can help you with day-to-day tasks (such as cleaning, cooking, laundry); personal care (such as dressing, grooming, going to the toilet); or 24-hour nursing care.
Aged care homes are owned and run by people who are approved by the Australian Government to care for you. The aged care system in Australia aims to make sure that all older people can receive support and quality care when they need it.
Before entering an aged care facility your health must be assessed to determine your eligibility for care. The assessment can be performed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or a doctor or nurse.
To make sure you find a home that you are comfortable in and that will suit your needs, you may like to visit a few different places. You can apply to as many homes as you like. The accommodation costs for all aged care facilities are published on the Government’s aged care website myagedcare.gov.au. This website provides a description of aged care home providers’ costs.
On entry to a facility, you will be required to pay an accommodation contribution or accommodation payment. Some people will have their accommodation costs met in full or part by the Australian Government, while others will need to pay the accommodation price agreed with the aged care home. The Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria will advise which applies to you based on an assessment of your assets and income.
There will also be a basic daily fee to pay and there may be a means-tested care fee which is determined by your level of income and assets. Some facilities offer you a higher level of service or a higher standard of accommodation or food for an additional daily fee called an extra service fee.
AS Partners can help with the decisions you need to make and which strategies are best suited to your circumstances. We can also help you keep your plans on track with an annual review, in case your circumstances or external factors such as legislation, change.
We are best placed to help you understand your options when it comes to affordability of on-going care, government benefits, measuring your income and assets and overall tax position. AS Partners can also review your situation and identify tax offsets available to you and flag any other issues that may impact you such as land tax and / or capital gains tax.
If you require specialist support in the area of aged care please feel free to contact AS Partners.
By Leo Di Battista, Director, CPA, Adv DFP, DFP, DFS, CTA
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