For most people, the first experience with aged care is when you or a loved one suddenly needs the support and care of daily assistance.
And suddenly it’s all about money.
Some lucky people are able to predict ahead of time when they might finally need to leave their home and receive the extra attention and security of aged care. They may sense that their strength and ability to do common tasks like shopping, preparing meals or changing the sheets is becoming more difficult. Sometimes community or council services can help. But many people will ultimately decide that aged care will be their best option in the long run.
But for most, the move to aged care is hurried and urgent; it’s typically triggered by an illness, a fall or a sudden health event. The luxury of choice disappears quickly.
Suddenly a move to supported accommodation is needed. It might be a self-contained unit in an aged care community, but usually it’s an immediate move into a room in a residential aged care home.
With urgency and care as the main factors, how can costs be managed?
Care and money
Obviously, everyone is looking for the best possible environment in aged care. However, fancy places cost fancy dollars. If money is not a problem, you’ll find wonderful care. But in Australia quality care is available to everyone, regardless of wealth and assets. While most people don’t realise it, the cost of aged care is often negotiable. Individual line items such as RADs (formerly known as bonds), alcohol at mealtimes, excursions and daily newspapers can be negotiated. Understanding your financial position and where savings can be found is vital to achieving the best outcome.
With careful planning and the right advice, it’s often possible to use existing savings, while maintaining property and other assets as a legacy for the next generation.
Spend small to save
While those entering aged care are usually in their twilight years, their stay may be for many years. Their happiness, comfort and care is paramount and negotiating the conditions in their final home is a duty that should be taken seriously.
Specialist aged care financial advisers understand the intricacies and state-based variations in aged care policy. Structuring finances and assets in the right way can open up more benefits and lower costs for aged care in a way that simple calculators can’t. Seek out professional specialist aged care advisers.
Costs of financial advice
Every person looking for financial help with aged care has different aims and different amounts of money available. Financial advisers will typically charge a flat fee for their service, or else act as a broker who takes your personal situation into account and attempts to find a home and a contract that best suits your family and financial circumstances.
Some advisers will even help you negotiate a contract, using their industry experience and market power to achieve the best possible outcome. With so many variables including property ownership, means tests, pensions, savings and shares, superannuation and more, it’s comforting to have an expert on your side.
Expert financial advice costs a tiny fraction of the overall cost of aged care. Understanding the structures, costs and available benefits makes the transition to care just that little bit less stressful.