If the need for residential aged care is nearing you or a loved one, following these five steps will help you make a smoother transition.
1. Get your eligibility assessed
Before you can enter an aged care facility and receive Government support, your health situation must be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). The assessors are generally health professionals who specialise in aged care assessment.
This is a free service that can be done at home, in a health centre or hospital. The purpose is to determine whether you are eligible to move into residential aged care, or can access a range of care services that would enable you to stay in your home longer.
2. Find a suitable aged care facility
Once Aged Care Assessment Team has determined your eligibility for residential aged care and the care services you may need, it’s a good idea to visit a few facilities.
Remember each facility is different and not all aged care facilities will be able to meet your care needs.
3. Work out the cost
While the Government provides some funding for residential aged care facilities, those who can afford it are expected to contribute to the cost of their care.
The four different fees you may be asked to pay include:
- an accommodation payment – for your accommodation in the aged care facility, which may be paid as either a lump sum, regular instalments or a combination of lump sum and instalments
- a basic daily fee – which will usually be payable by all residents and is a contribution towards daily living costs, such as nursing, personal care and meals
- a means-tested care fee – which is an additional contribution towards the cost of care that you may need to pay depending on the assessment of your income and assets, and
- an extra services fee – which may be payable if you choose a higher standard of accommodation or additional services and it varies from place to place.
4. Seek financial advice
Moving into residential aged care can be financially challenging. However, obtaining financial advice can help reduce a lot of the stress by helping you to:
- determine which fees may be payable
- implement strategies that could reduce your care costs and/or increase social security entitlements, and
- ascertain whether care at your preferred facility(s) is affordable for you.
In conjunction with a solicitor, your financial planner can also help to ensure your estate planning affairs are addressed as you will need to consider:
- selling, renting, retaining or transferring ownership of your family home
- reviewing your enduring power of attorney
- reviewing your Will (including the benefits of including provisions in your Will that establish a testamentary trust upon your death), and
- reviewing your superannuation death benefit nominations.
5. Apply for an aged care facility
Once you’ve decided the type of care you want and can afford, and your estate planning affairs are in order, it’s time to apply. It may be a good idea to lodge an application with a few places and ask to go on the ‘waitlist’ in case your preferred aged care facility is not available.
If you are offered a place, you must be given a copy of the accommodation agreement before you move in. This agreement sets out the key terms and conditions and it should be reviewed by a legal professional. You must sign the agreement and decide how you will make the accommodation payment within 28 days of entering the facility.
Speak to your financial planner to discuss your aged care options.
Call (02) 4926 2300 or email us.
To discuss your aged care options please do not hesitate to call us here at Leenane Templeton to speak to a professional and expert financial planner.