After the family Christmas get-together, you may be thinking about someone who could do with some extra assistance. There are some great affordable assisted care apartment options which retain independence within an attractive village setting, but which are geared up to provide more support as and when needed. For example some help with heavier household chores like cleaning and washing may make all the difference, or being able to select dining options allows flexibility and maintains independence too. And then there's the peace of mind and security in having access to 24 hour call and more support with health care and personal support services if required.
Many retirement villages offer assisted living or low care apartments in addition to their independent living units, and they are mostly cheaper to buy but with higher service charges depending on the level of need, which may attract government subsidies or be geared to cater for people on the aged pension. So it's worth checking out what's on offer in your area - and it may be more affordable and more attractive than you think!
And of course there is also the option of arranging in-home support services to remain in their own home, but it's worth weighing up the disruption of moving vs the social isolation, ongoing home maintenance and what home modifications will be required to stay at home. The older people get, the less likely they will want to move, so it's better to consider these issues sooner rather than later. While many say they don't want to move, often that's because they simply don't know what the alternatives are - and the reality is that the social support and companionship involved in living in a senior village or community can provide a major health boost and increase longevity too.
If you have a frail elderly parent or relative, it is a good idea to find out about aged care services before an accident or emergency makes it urgent and traumatic. No-one wants to think about it before it's necessary, but there are many issues to be considered and some are best addressed in advance so everyone is prepared and decisions can be made quickly when needed.
And the later the move, the more disruptive and traumatic it's likely to be, so it's also worth considering a move to a retirement village unit or low care apartment at an early stage while they are still quite independent and better able to adapt to a new environment, with the assurance that more support services are available on site.
You can search for suitable assisted living apartments and other aged care services in your local area using the Seniors Housing Online search on the front page by ticking the boxes which apply, or else use these quick links to bring up categories of care:
- Retirement Properties with Low Level Aged Care
- Retirement Properties with 24 Hour Emergency Call
- Retirement Properties Personal Care Services
- Retirement Properties with Dementia Care
- Retirement Properties with High Level Aged Care
- Retirement Poperties with Meals
- Retirement Properties with Respite Care Accommodation
- In-home or community based aged care services.
Common questions about aged care include:
- Will an accommodation bond apply?
- Will the house have to be sold to pay it?
- Will renting out the house affect their eligibility for the aged pension or other benefits?
- Will a reverse mortgage help pay for care?
- What other financial options are there to fund aged care?
- What if there is no house or other assets and the aged person relies solely on the pension?
- Do other family members all agree on an approach?
- Is there a “living will” in place to express an older person’s preferences if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves?
- Has power of attorney been granted to enable financial management of their affairs?
- What aged care services are available in your area, and do they have long waiting lists?
- How will you know which facilities offer good quality care?
- Is respite care available and if so is this a good interim step?
- Is moving into an independent living unit or low care apartment a good interim step if higher level care services can be provided there later?
- What other in-home support services may be available to reduce or defer the risk of having to move into an aged care facility?
- How will the Government's new Aged Care reforms impact on any plans to move to an aged care facility?
There are government websites providing information but as this is a very complex area, there are also specialist senior relocation services and financial advisers who may be able to assist you to navigate all the requirements and your individual circumstances and considerations.
We’ve included some useful links below:
Aged Care Australia (Government) website.
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing website - on aged care bonds.
Aged Care Assessment Team finder website.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres website.
Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency website.
Aged Care Reforms information website.
Tender Living Care website - Aged Care placements Victoria.
Smooth Move Projects website - Aged Care placements in Queensland.
Classic Moves website - senior relocations Victoria.
Aged Care Financial Services website.
Choosing a financial planner - NICRI website.