If you, or one of your loved ones, are ready to move into aged care, it’s worthwhile learning a little about the process. There are four key steps to worry-free aged care. Take them one at a time and you can minimise worries and reduce the stress of what can be an emotional journey.
Step 1: Organise an Aged Care Assessment
This first thing to do is arrange an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment. This will allow you to access most government-funded community care services and care homes. Appointments can be made through a doctor, nurse or social worker referral. Alternatively, call the Aged & Community Care Information Line on 1800 200 422.
Step 2: Choose the right aged care facility
Your ACAT appointment will guide you on the appropriate level of care – from low-level hostel to high-level nursing home. Of course, it’s just as important to choose a facility which matches the cultural, spiritual, dietary and linguistic needs of the person going into care, as well as ensure it provides any favourite recreational and social activities.
Step 3: Understand the financial implications
Going into aged care represents a big change in the way an individual’s finances are organised. For a start, there will be an upfront cost to pay based on your assessable assets when first entering care. A basic daily fee will then apply to cover living expenses and care, supplemented by an income-tested fee. Be aware that extra service fees relating to luxuries, facilities and activities offered may also apply. You need to be aware of all these costs and understand what they mean.
Step 4: Make the big decisions
Finally, you’ll need to make some important financial decisions; how to afford the chosen aged care facility, what assets to leverage and how best to use them and whether to sell the family home. Mistakes can be costly at this stage and it may not be easy to think things through properly if you, or the person moving into care, is upset or unaware of the implications of a decision. That’s why it is wise to always seek professional advice before making any commitments.