Planning for aged care
Retirement is increasingly seen as an opportunity to enjoy life on your own terms. People often talk about travel, gardening, spending more time with the grandkids or taking up new hobbies.
But one important issue that’s rarely discussed is the later stages of retirement, and the potential need for aged care.
The reality is that some of us will require more care than others. That may mean leaving your home for a dedicated retirement village or nursing home.
Knowing how aged care works, and being able to plan ahead, means you’ll have more input on the location, the level of care, and the facilities that you’ll be most comfortable with.
How to choose an aged care home
The Federal Government funds or subsidises a range of aged care homes throughout Australia. Each facility is different, so it’s important to choose one that’s right for you and your needs.
Different facilities charge different prices, so the government provides tools to help you estimate your out-of-pocket costs for aged care. The Fee Estimator calculator is a great place to start. It looks at your income, assets, and other financial information to determine your potential fees and costs.
Another useful tool is the Find a Provider service. This lets you compare different aged care facilities based on budget, services, location and other useful criteria.
Note that these websites only refer to government-supported facilities. There are also private aged care facilities which operate independent of the government sector.
Aged care eligibility
The above tools should provide a good overview of costs and services available in the government aged care sector.
If you decide this is something you’re interested in the next step is to check your eligibility. You can do this online via the official assessment tool.
As the government website explains, “Eligibility is based on need. To find out if you meet the criteria, we will ask a few questions about your current situation and if you need help with some everyday tasks.”
After you submit your application, an assessor will contact you to arrange a face-to-face conversation about your needs and eligibility.
Selling your home to fund aged care
Given the substantial amount of money involved, it’s not surprising that one of the major decisions people face is whether to sell the family home to fund their ongoing care.
For some, it may be financially necessary to sell. For others it may be preferable to sub-let the family home. Each option may have an impact on your Age Pension entitlements, as well as the cost of care.
This is something one of our financial planners can assist with if you opt for a Statement of Advice. They’ll be able to provide you with several different scenarios involving aged care, your assets, and any Age Pension benefits you may be receiving to determine the best financial outcome.
Aged care options
While it may be a difficult conversation, discussing aged care options for you or an elderly parent may help avoid costly surprises and unnecessary stress in the future.
Whether it’s a private retirement village, or a government run nursing home, knowing your options and picking something appropriate also means added peace of mind.
While there’s a range of government support services, online tools, and information on aged care, it always helps to get a second opinion. That’s something our financial planners can assist with.
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