The decision to move into an aged care home is not an easy one. You may be deciding for yourself or you may need to make this decision for a loved one. It’s stressful and time consuming. After all, you are contemplating leaving the familiar and comforting surroundings of the known, for the uncertainty of the unknown. So you want to make sure you’re making the right choice.
Take your time
You want to start your research as early as possible. That way you have time to explore all options and get to understand the different services and facilities on offer. If you leave it too late you may be rushed into a decision, one that you may regret. The best place to start is CareAbout. They will explain how the system works, discuss your personal circumstances with you and help you determine the best type of care for your needs. They can then match you with a suitable provider in your area – all for no cost.
Work out what you need
Not all aged care homes are the same. They can offer different services at wildly different fees. You don’t want to paying for something you don’t really need; and you want to make sure that as your needs change, you will have access to the services you require without needing to move facilities. So a good place to start is to think about your needs. Ask yourself:
- What’s important to me and my wellbeing now?
- How are my care needs likely to change in the future?
- What services can I not do without?
- What location should I be looking in – close to family who will visit or the area I’ve always lived in?
Create a checklist
When the time comes to start selecting an aged care home, it is a great idea to create a checklist of questions and required information. Obviously the checklist may feature items applicable to your particular circumstances, however, here are some questions/information you can use as a starting point.
- Does it appear clean on first inspection?
- Are the people answering your questions and showing you around giving you respect, listening to you, and providing you with all the time you need to get the information you want?
- What is the daily menu? (Make sure you also see a variety of meals being served to ensure the facility is delivering on what they are promising).
- What assistance can family members provide e.g. can they help with bathing and eating?
- What medical specialists and facilities are on the premises?
- How far away are emergency medical services?
- How many people are on duty during the day – and at night?
- What are the full costs involved (beware of hidden costs)?
- What are the recreational options and facilities?
- Can family members, particularly partners, stay overnight?
- What are the visiting hours and how easy is it to organize visits outside visiting hours?
Understanding fees and charges
One of the biggest complaints received about aged care homes concerns fees, specifically ‘hidden surprises’. That’s why it is essential that you know up-front exactly what you are paying for. You can find out about the various fee types in Aged Care Homes Costs and fees explained but it’s the additional fees that you need to be most aware of. Some facilities offer the option to pay for a more premium service. Additional Services may include: higher quality meals, greater meal choices, higher standard of accommodation fixtures and fittings, newspaper delivery, and so on. Some homes may also charge one-off entry or exit fees or other daily fees, so it is important that you ask about all additional fees at the outset. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises.
Using an advocate
While most of CareAbout’s services are free to consumers, one fee-based service that CareAbout offers is an advocacy service for those seeking the right aged care home option.
CareAbout Advocates are experienced professionals that work for your family. They understand how moving into an aged care home can be an emotional time for everyone involved. Sometimes what you need is someone who isn’t a family member. A CareAbout advocate can guide you through the maze of aged care and help get the right outcome for your loved one.
The advocacy service is a five-step process that involves:
- Understanding the needs of the care recipient
- Explaining the options in clear, easy-to-understand language
- Touring aged care homes with you
- Helping to negotiate the fees and saving you money
- Assisting in the completion of paperwork.
CareAbout: Your partner in care
Navigating the aged care system in Australia can appear daunting. But it’s not something you have to do alone. Get in touch with CareAbout and ensure you have a partner that will ensure you get the right care for your individual circumstances.
Not all aged care homes are the same. They can offer different services at wildly different fees. You don’t want to paying for something you don’t really need; and you want to make sure that as your needs change, you will have access to the services you require without needing to move facilities.