One of the most difficult realisations to accept is when you are no longer capable of caring for yourself. Living alone becomes hazardous and at this point, you must ask for help with your day to day regimen.
If it is not feasible for you to hire in-home care or live with a family member, formal residential aged care may be the best option for you.
Commonwealth Regulated Aged Care
You will need to complete an assessment in order to see what type of facility will best serve your needs and ensure that you receive adequate care. If you are deemed “Low Care,” there is a good chance you will be placed in a Commonwealth regulated hostel. Residents are able to walk to the common room for meals and activities, although the staff provides assistance with day to day activities such as administering medication.
Individuals who are classified as “High Care” require more assistance and will likely become residents of a nursing home. There is always the option of private care, but residents are subject to commercial rates. These nursing homes are referred to as Supported Residential Services and provide care on par with the Commonwealth regulated hostels, although the staff and facility can provide additional support.
The fees for daily care in hostels and nursing homes are determined by the Commonwealth and incorporate a means tested fee evaluated through Centrelink. If you choose not to divulge your financial situation, you will be charged the maximum rates. You can also schedule a consultation with Financial Care Services to determine what daily care fees would be based on your circumstances.
In addition to the testing fee, you can expect a daily Accommodation fee if you are moving from another home or hospital. The amount charged depends on your assets the day you arrive.
New residents may be required to pay an Accommodation Bond. The amount is negotiable since it is only subject to the Commonwealth’s requirement that you have more assets than the agreed upon amount. The bond can be paid in a lump sum or in installments; however, if you make periodic payments you may accrue interest charges on the unpaid amount.
If you opt for a Supported Residential Service, the fees will vary between facilities. Typically, the fees are comparable with Commonwealth regulated nursing homes. Most will usually charge a flat weekly fee which covers accommodations and staff assistance. Residents who require additional support may be charged additional weekly fees. Some locations will require residents to “purchase” their apartment and charge a lower fee for other services.
Financing Aged Care
The fees for aged care must be paid monthly. Many residents utilize their pension payments or savings to pay for the accommodations. In some cases, these sources of income are not enough to cover the total monthly fees, so the family decides to either lease or sell other assets to finance aged care. Be aware that if you decide to use your assets, it could impact the benefits you receive from Centrelink and your Age Pension.
If you are considering aged care, do you research to find the best facilities for your financial situation and personal needs. Financial Care Services can offer guidance in finding facilities, estimating costs, and determining how it will affect your pension. This is an important decision that you shouldn’t make alone; discuss your options with your family and arrange visits to prospective facilities to make sure it is the right fit.