- You should have an understanding of how much aged care services may cost you and whether you need financial support or not
- If you have a cultural or religious background, it may be beneficial to receive culturally appropriate and religiously sensitive services
- Having a good idea of what services and supports you require can make a big difference and ensure you receive the care that you need
You can expect when receiving aged care or moving into a nursing home, it will add new care and supports to your day-to-day. But what about every other aspect of your life?
Before accessing any type of support, it’s important to have an understanding of the impact on your finances, home situation and any health or cultural requirements, as well as considering what you need from aged care services to live well.
So what areas should I be thinking about when considering aged care?
Aged care can be expensive, however, the Government does subsidise the cost of care for eligible people.
You will still need to contribute towards the cost of your care, supports and potentially accommodation when accessing aged care services if you’re able to.
Before committing to any support services or moving into a nursing home, you should have an understanding of what your financial situation is as well as how much home supports or aged care may cost for you.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, the Government will provide you with more financial assistance to access the aged care services you need.
Generally, you won’t have to pay towards the cost of your care if you can’t afford to.
The family home
What aged care services you are considering can have a big impact on what happens to your family home.
If you are receiving help at home or a Home Care Package, you will likely be supported to live independently in your own home for longer.
However, if you are finding the property is too big to maintain, even with extra assistance, it might be a good idea to look at downsizing to a smaller home. This could be out in the community or in a retirement village.
If moving into aged care is the best option for you, then you will need to consider whether you should sell the home or keep it.
Selling the home can be a good way for you to pay all of the costs of moving into aged care, including the accommodation payment, a basic daily fee and a means tested fee.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to sell your home but need funding for a nursing home, you can use the equity of your house by getting a reverse mortgage.
This means your payments for this loan are only due once you sell your home or pass away.
If these two options don’t work and you still want to keep your home, then it can impact your assets test for aged care.
If a ‘protected person’ is still living in your home, like your partner, a dependent child, a carer who has lived in the home for over two years or a close relative who has lived in the home for at least five years, then this will be excluded from the aged care assets test.
However, if you don’t have a ‘protected person’ in your home, then it can be assessed up to the total amount of the Home Exemption Cap within the aged care asset test. The asset test affects how much money you have to pay while in aged care.
How much money you have in your superannuation can affect how much you pay towards your aged care costs.
When accessing Government subsidised aged care services, you will be subject to an income and assets test to see how much you will be asked to pay towards the cost of your care, either at your own home or when moving into an aged care home.
Since superannuation is a financial asset, this will be considered within this test.
If you have a substantial amount of super saved up, it will impact how much you pay towards the cost of your services and care.
Cultural and religious needs
If you have a cultural background or religion, you should also be looking for supports that are culturally appropriate and religiously sensitive.
It is important when receiving aged care that you feel comfortable and have your beliefs respected by your carers.
This could include dietary requirements, a special focus on upholding cultural traditions, or being delivered care by support staff that have a background in the same culture or religion.
For older people, being able to bond with someone who understands your cultural or religious needs can be really beneficial and ensure you get the most out of your care.
Understanding your needs
You may feel like you’re coping just fine without any help especially if you’ve looked after yourself for so long putting up with difficulties and issues of “everyday life”.
But struggling with everyday tasks shouldn’t be considered the new norm and you deserve to receive help and assistance to make sure you are safe and have a good quality of life.
Talking to family and friends can be a good way of finding out what you may need through care, as they will likely see small changes or issues you have begun having trouble with.
During your assessment, be honest about what daily activities you are struggling with so you can receive the care and support you need.
This could be physical impairments you have, like issues getting out of chairs, taking showers, making your own food, getting to the shops, or doing gardening.
If you have started having concerns around your mental health or cognitive function, this can be an essential factor as well.
For instance, do you ever feel uneasy about remembering things or forgetting to attend appointments? These issues can be signs that you may be developing a cognitive issue like dementia. With the right assistance, you can remain independent while living with dementia.
Loneliness and isolation is also a big issue among older demographics and something that can and should be covered within your assessment. If you find you are isolated from your community or don’t have many people visiting you at home, there are social inclusion interventions that can be put in place to help you.
Here are some questions to think about:
- Do you have supports in place already
- Has there been an increase in support you need?
- Are there concerns about your health or conditions that may impact your daily life?
- Have you noticed a change in your ability to undertake tasks that you used to do easily every day?
- Are you avoiding certain tasks because it hurts or are you worried about what might happen if you try to do it yourself?
- Do you feel safe living at home or being out in the community?
- What support networks do you have, for example, are family or friends able to come over easily if you need them for assistance?
Understanding your needs on different levels will ensure you get the most out of your assessment.
Your Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) assessor will likely ask about similar topics about your life during your assessment. Your answers will help form the care and support in your My Aged Care plan.
What things in your life do you need to consider if you are looking at accessing age care services? Tell us in the comments below.