Asking tough questions about the twilight years

23 April 2019

twilight years

Asking tough questions about the twilight years

Aged Care is a tough topic to broach in general, and thinking about it can bring up a lot of uncomfortable feelings. But, whether you are thinking about your future or that of a loved one, there are a few important things to consider.

Embracing the Future

In the past, looking to the future may have been exciting. As age creeps up, that excitement takes a slower pace. Not only are you or your parents, siblings, partner, or friends getting older, but there may also be a reduction in energy, health, and everything that comes with age. To complicate matters further, you also have to consider costs and the changing needs associated with aged care in general. The care delivered in the first year may be vastly different from that down the line – and the same goes for cost.

Does this mean that the future is less bright? Not at all. It just means it needs to be considered more carefully. Aged Care can be complex and confusing, and Australia has a fairly unique system compared to other countries. It’s easy to get lost or feel overwhelmed by it all. Fortunately, the questions and considerations associated with Aged Care are easy to break down. They include:

Knowing where to start

You don’t wake up one day and suddenly need round-the-clock care. Ageing is a slow process and is something we rarely think about when young. When your body, or that of a loved one, starts to change – it changes gradually. This means that before personal care or residential aged care is considered, you may want to look at getting help with smaller tasks that are no longer as easy as they might have once been. This might include getting groceries delivered or utilizing a meal prep service. Gardeners may come to lend a hand on big tasks, and physical therapy might be the answer to a few aches, pains, and stiffness.

It’s quite easy but not always affordable to organise these services privately – so many will seek government assistance. The Commonwealth Home Support Programme would need to get an assessment of your requirements, but it’s the Programme generally restricted to people aged 65 years and older. The services are subsidised by the Programme so there is a requirement for a means test too.

Staying Independent

Independence itself is a big concern for many in aged care – especially when you have been living independently for the last 50-60 years. Fortunately, it is possible to maintain independence without risking health or lifestyle. Aged Care Communities, rather than Care Homes are a great middle-ground. They deliver support, community, and activity while still offering the care needed for golden years. On top of this, independent living facilities are often part of an aged care home, meaning that the accommodation is usually clean and well maintained, and services like transport, recreational activities, and medical professionals are close at hand.

Getting Help

There are several levels of Aged Care in Australia, with in-home and independent living laying the groundwork for more serious care. When the time comes for round-the-clock care, it is important to plan ahead. Some assessments can take a little time, and there are so many options. Making these decisions before they have to be applied, helps ensure a smoother transition. Getting help is easy, though. Beyond asking yourself, be sure to consult family, partners, and friends. Get their opinion, discuss budgets, and learn what you want from an Aged Care process – not just an Aged Care facility.

For more information speak to a Financial Advisor who specialises in Aged Care advice. 

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