Health related downsizing

For many people the need to downsize emerges gradually as they discover that their current lifestyle doesn’t quite ‘fit’ anymore. But for others the need to downsize can come as an unwelcome surprise, when illness or accident means that life has to change suddenly.

But downsizing for health reasons doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on creating the life you desire. Finding out how you can keep health concerns in check while still maintaining your independence and links to community will ensure that your downsizing journey is supported along the way. Here we explain the different levels and types of care you can access to create the life you want.

In Home Care

Downsizing doesn’t always have to mean a move to a smaller home. You can also ‘downsize’ your commitments and outsource the tasks that you find most challenging. Doing this can be as simple as getting a regular cleaner and gardener to lighten your load, or get a little help with the shopping. Home Care is flexible and easily tailored to your needs so assistance can be scaled up over time if need be. And higher-level In Home Care packages can include round the clock assistance should you require it. Says one retiree, ’My husband’s care needs are getting beyond what I can manage on my own, but we are both keen to remain in the family home. In Home Care has been the answer for us and I’ve gradually increased the level of help we get to cope with his health requirements.’

Home Based Respite Care

Home-based respite care is available to support a regular carer to give them a break from their duties – whether regularly or only occasionally. A qualified carer can step in and ensure that the day-to-day needs of the person are met.
Says one carer, ‘My wife can still do a lot for herself but she’s a bit forgetful. Having her at home in a familiar environment is very important for us. I get respite care for her 3 times a week so I can still go for bike rides and play golf.’

Out of Home Respite Care

Out of home respite care is also available if you need an alternative to at-home respite care. Respite centers offer day-long respite care, and there are also home respite centers for carers that need overnight assistance. Residential respite is also a good option if you need respite for a short period of time. One carer says, ‘My husband’s illness means he needs to stay put! But I still want to travel with my girlfriends once a year. For him a week at a respite care facility he’s familiar with is perfect so I can get away.’

Residential Care

Residential care is available for people with a range of health and lifestyle needs. No longer the badly lit and dreary institutions of the past, new aged-care facilities have more of a holiday vibe going on. Many support a range of social activities and provide facilities like bowling greens, swimming pools and communal areas for meals or getting together.
The important thing to consider when looking at an aged care home (formerly called an aged care facility or nursing home) is that it ticks the right boxes. Consider its location and proximity to family alongside an assessment of the services. Do you need what they offer, or is it missing something you’d be sad to do without? And take a good look at the room you are considering– does it get good light and have everything you need?
Most important though, is an understanding of the levels of care your residential facility can offer. While you may enter the home with only minimal support needs, that can change over time. Staying in a familiar aged care home while increasing your support needs may be the most comfortable option for you.