Photo of an older lady, sitting at a cafe while in respite, wearing a rust coloured polo neck with black vest smiling at someone off camera

The benefits of specialised financial advice for aged care

If you’re just dipping your toe into aged-care options, you’ll soon feel the boiling water. Nobody wants residential aged care to be complicated, but that doesn’t stop it being confusing and emotional. Most people, faced with urgency and worry, handle the aged care journey by themselves.
And that’s totally understandable.
Most people also don’t have the luxury of spending time exploring aged care options before they need it; typically, someone searching for aged care needs aged care – and soon.
While everyone would love to stay in their own home later in life, it’s not always possible. If we’re lucky to have lived a long life, the later years can be hard to cope with alone. Residential aged care is often the best solution, offering support, comfort, social companionship and medical supervision.

Home versus residential aged care

If you or your loved one is able to maintain an independent life at home, there are government services that can help. Start with your local council; they will explain the services they can offer and explain other options to help with independent living.
For many older people, home-based living is simply not possible, but a move to residential aged care can cause concern to families for many reasons, including loss of control, and a move to unfamiliar surroundings. These are important concerns, but here, we address the number one concern: financial implications.

Financially complicated

If you or a loved one needs to move into aged care, finances are usually top of mind. Government programs are designed to ensure that those with the means to pay for their own care do so, and those who can’t are able to access social funding.
But pretty soon – whether you’ve been self-sufficient or have relied on an aged pension – an aged care provider will start talking about RADs and DAPs and assets and special service fees ... It gets complicated quickly.
Everyone’s situation is unique, so there is no easy answer. The cost of a person’s access to aged care – and the kind of establishment they can live in – depends on many variables, including:
• existing home and other assets
• debts and liabilities,
• bank balances,
• investments,
• superannuation,
• pension,
• other government benefits.
Most older Australians will have a combination of these things. The best approach to aged care will depend on an analysis of this mix of savings, income, assets and debts.

Solving the aged care funding puzzle

For many people, subsidised aged care is available. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, understanding the options, thresholds and limits can be tricky and time-consuming.
Federal and state governments all have different regulations overseeing aged care.
To secure the best possible aged care while maintaining estate wealth, the family home, any other properties, and a hard-earned and richly deserved inheritance for future generations, consulting an aged care financial planner makes sense.
Not all financial advisers are the same: some are experts in property, shares or insurance. Some are experts in aged care, so be sure to seek out a planner who understands the complexities of aged care to help with:
• future financial modelling
• liaising with aged care homes on your behalf
• estate planning considerations
• assessment of aged care contracts
• RADs, DAPs and other aged-care related investment advice.

Make the move with confidence

Understand the financial implications of a move to residential aged care and explore whether it’s possible to maintain the family home or any other properties and investments accrued over a marvellous life.
Find an aged-care financial adviser, and make sure you’re making the best possible decision.

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