Decision time - how to process and proceed
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As our parents age, roles may reverse and children may find that they become responsible for decisions regarding their parents’ care. This can be a difficult and emotional time. Getting the right level of care is the primary consideration, but don’t forget to also consider the financial implications.
Whether you are looking at aged care services for yourself, or for someone else, there are some basic steps to follow as shown in the diagram below;
The first three steps have been covered in previous sections.
Let’s assume you have been assessed, found a residential service and put your name on the waiting list. Next you receive a phone call with the offer of a place and have signed the Resident Agreement. What happens next?
What happens once I have accepted a place?
Once you have accepted a place you have seven days to move in. However, the fees may start from the date you accept the place, even though you may not have physically moved in. Most residential services will ask you to sign a direct debit so the fees can be automatically deducted from your bank account. You will need to make sure that the cash is available in your account to meet these obligations.
What you can take with you when you move in may depend on the terms of your agreement with the service. In many cases the rooms are furnished, but you may be able to bring some of your own furniture.
You will also need to bring your personal belongings such as:
music and books
ornaments and decorations
The residential service will provide laundry services, so it is a good idea to put name labels on all your clothes.
Don’t forget when you move to notify your change of address to friends and family, as well as all other organisations which need to contact you. Some tips for organisations to notify include:
You can also organise a mail redirection through Australia Post for a period of time to ensure you do not miss any mail.
You should also cancel any other home services you received at your own home which are no longer needed, such as newspapers.
How do I help someone to settle into residential care?
It is a good idea to have a discussion with the care manager or other staff. The move into aged care can be traumatic and unsettling. The staff at the residential service can help you with advice on how to help your family member or friend settle in and they can also provide updates on how they are adjusting.
The Community Visitors Scheme provides a visiting service for those in residential care who are isolated or lonely. It is an initiative of the Australian Government and is funded through the Department of Health.
Who can make decisions on my behalf?
If you have not already reviewed your important legal documents, such as your will and powers of attorney, now is a good time to do this.
These documents can only be reviewed if you still have legal, mental capacity to understand the implications. If this is not the case, someone you trust will need to apply to the Guardianship tribunal for guardianship powers.
This article is prepared by the strategy specialists at Aged Care Steps, a company supporting financial planning advisers who provide planning advice for aged care. To find a professional adviser who specialises in aged care advice go to www.agedcaresteps.com.au and click on the Find an Adviser link.
Disclaimer: This is general advice and does not take into account your particular circumstances or objectives. Before taking any action you should seek personal financial planning, taxation or legal advice and refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before investing in any product. Aged Care Steps Pty Ltd ABN 42 156 656 843, AFSL 486723, registered tax (financial) advisers 25581502.
Case studies in June’s example compare cost of home vs residential care.