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Steps to take before you need care

The need for either home care or residential aged care can emerge gradually over time. For many people, though, care needs arise from an accident or illness. This unexpected turn of events tends to take people by surprise, throwing them into the unfamiliar world of aged care.

If you have the chance, it’s great to make some plans ahead of time, just in case you need care in the future.

Finances and important documents

Keeping your financial affairs in order and having all of the paperwork in one spot is a great thing to do anyway, but if the need for aged care arises, it’ll make applying for government support and home or residential care much easier and faster.

If there’s a family member or friend you trust, it might be worth letting them know where everything is.

Power of attorney

Nominating someone you trust to be power of attorney is a big step, but can make things much easier if care becomes necessary. Even if you’d rather not hand over control of your finances, there are other ways people can be authorised to support and help you, such as by becoming a nominee, guardian or administrator.

Find out about allowing others to act for you in home care and residential aged care.

Wills and estate planning

Having an up-to-date will, and deciding what will happen to your assets, gives you peace of mind, and protects beneficiaries. It’s usually worth contacting a solicitor or financial advisor to help with paperwork and double-check that you’ve got everything covered.

Active ageing

Staying healthy and happy is the key to maintaining your independence for longer. Even if mobility is becoming more difficult, there are always exercises that a physio or physical therapist can suggest that can keep you active.

Maintaining contact with other people is important too. Whether it’s regular outings, being a member of a club, or just keeping up with friends and family, human contact is a great way to maintain a positive outlook. Have a chat, have a laugh, play cards or just meet for a coffee.

Read next: Why you need an aged care assessment

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