When you’re faced with the need to move into aged care it can be a time of great stress and confusion. Finding aged care is a reactive process, not many people plan for aged care and there is no opportunity to pre-purchase. Here we will discuss the steps to accessing aged care and finding the right Aged Care Home.
The introduction to aged care is often triggered by an incident or acute need for change. In a lot of circumstances, the person inquiring is the carer and they are exhausted. The carer is often working full time while dealing with an acute situation and caring for their own family. The situation is often time sensitive and complicated by a lack of support or multiple decision makers.
Here are the steps to accessing aged care support and some common mistakes you should avoid.
1. Apply for an Aged Care Home Assessment
This is the key to accessing Aged Care. As your loved one is going to receive government funding in some capacity each client is required to be assessed for eligibility.
Applications are made via the government funding body My Aged Care. You can call them on 1800 200 422 to request an assessment.
2. Have the Assessment
Your application will be referred to an Aged Care Assessment Team. The Assessment of your loved one will take place in your loved one’s home or in the hospital. The Assessment may take up to 8 weeks to occur.
Once assessed you will receive a referral code and a support plan called ‘My Support Plan’. Keep these documents safe. You will need to provide these to Aged Care Homes when you apply for a bed.
3. Clearly establish roles within your family
Families can be tricky! Decide on the roles of your family – who is going to have Power of Attorney? Who is going to be the Medical Decision Maker? Who is going on tours of Aged Care Homes? And who is going to make a decision about finances and what happens with the home?
At this stage, it is a good idea to consider using an independent expert to guide the family through this process and recommend the best strategy. Aged care is notoriously complex and this isn’t a decision you want to get wrong.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with a cognitive impairment you will have to apply for a guardianship via the state civil and administration tribunal.
4. Financial advice pays off
A lot of families don’t necessarily have a lot of understanding of their parent’s affairs. Deciding on an Aged Care Home is for most people the second biggest financial decision they will ever make, so you don’t want to get it wrong.
Aged Care financial planning is so complex that it is now a specialised area for financial advisors. CareAbout can connect you with an experienced financial advisor who can recommend a strategy that’s most suitable for your loved one.
A big mistake a lot of people make is not making the right decision for the long-term regarding whether they should pay the bond upfront (known as the RAD or Refundable Accommodation Deposit). There are a lot of pitfalls so it’s best to get advice.
5. Consider Advanced Care Planning
This can be a good time to do Advanced Care Planning. Advanced Care Planning is planning for a time when your loved one can no longer communicate their wishes for their care. This can be done via your GP.
Some decisions are too important to leave to chance. You can trust CareAbout to find an accredited Aged Care Home provider who has your best interests at heart and connect you with a financial adviser who specialises in aged care.