Where do you start if you are looking for aged care?
If you have a parent or loved one who is not coping at home, working out what to do or where to start with aged care can be very difficult. If you google aged care, you are likely to come up with more than 20 million hits and most of the early responses are residential aged care. So where to do you start if you are looking for aged care? Here are some tips:
Talk to your loved one
Discuss your concerns with your parent or loved one. You will not be able to do anything unless the loved one agrees. In our experience, it is not unusual for a parent to say they think they are coping fine, even if it requires you to do a lot of running around. It may take quite a while for the parent to agree to help. Just be patient; it is not easy getting old and coming to terms with the thought of losing independence or needing help. Here is a useful article about how to have that kind of conversation.
Work out what care is needed
Think about the kind of assistance that is needed. Is it help with domestic tasks or more that that? Are they lonely or forgetting to take their medications? Defining the problem will help you work out the best solution. Most people want to remain in their home with some help with daily living tasks. In that case, home help would be best but try to work out what kind of help at home is needed, otherwise, the loved one will quickly say it is not working for them. If the loved one is lonely then it could be worth considering some form of community living such as a retirement village or residential facility. If they need a considerable amount of help and care, then an aged care residential facility could be the answer.
Get an ACAS/ACAT assessment
Get an ACAS/ACAT assessment done through myagedcare.gov.au. This is a free assessment done by the government to assess whether an older person is eligible for subsidised care. You can read more about ACAS/ACAT assessments in our earlier article which is here. Getting it done early helps with planning and can be very useful if an emergency arises.
Shop around for providers
Once you have worked out what kind of help is needed, start looking for providers and work out the cost. Make sure your loved one can afford the type of care they are looking at. Good care is always available and affordable for people of all means; those that need assistance and cannot afford it can get subsidised care. Remember to shop around for care. Even if it is subsidised care, there are considerable differences in what you can get and how much it will cost amongst providers of both home care and residential care.
If you need assistance working out the options or understanding the costs, contact us for help and advice on 1800 744 676.
Until next time,
Sara and Margaret
*Unless they no longer have capacity. Just because they have a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimers does not mean they do not have capacity. If they have lost capacity, it can be very complicated to take control of their situation without their consent. Contact us if you need help in this situation.