7 Advantages of Residential Aged Care

What does your personal future look like?

Making deliberations on aged care becomes necessary for our loved ones as they continue ageing. In doing so, the choices we make will hopefully reflect the choices that others make for us.

Although there are seniors capable of leading their lives comfortably within their homes with little or no assistance at all, many Australian seniors require residential aged care. 

Australian aged care has changed in recent times with expectations in 2019 including respect, comfort and care.

While the transition to residential aged care can be challenging, there are many incredible benefits that come too.From social connection to safety and potentially life-saving improvements, residential aged care offers much. 

Let’s get into each one. 

#1 – Activities and Stimulation 

Moving into a residential aged care facility means organised opportunities for participation in an array of activities for your loved one including exercise classes, outings, games and happy hours. 

These are usually provided in residential aged care. The mood of your loved one can be boosted and their outlook on life improved through such positive activities. 

These sort of activities may not be within the reach of seniors who reside at home. They may not have access to them, especially if there is no family member close by or there is not any form of transportation.

#2 – Increased Social Life

Socialising is a crucial part of our wellbeing as humans – senior or otherwise. It is as important as physical exercises. Quality of life and mood can be hugely influenced and improved through socialisation. Being around others also helps to stall memory loss and sustain brain health. 

From indulging in meals together to engaging with each other in games, socialising is a part of residential aged care. Older Australians residing within a residential aged care community can take advantage of the ability to interact and connect with others.

#3 – Dementia Support

According to Alzheimer’s Australia, an estimated 400,000 people are living with dementia in Australia. 

This progressive decline of one’s mental functioning – including judgment, decision-making, concentration and memory – can pose a serious challenge for live-in carers and family members. 

The performance of regular day to day routines is affected by dementia. While this disease normally occurs in individuals who are over 65 years of age, with its incidence levels progressing with age. 

Aged care facilities provide 24/7 supervision to seniors living with dementia. Safe and secure conditions are provided within these communities in addition to daily structured activities. 

While help performing daily activities such as taking meals, bathing and the management of medication is also provided. 

Naturopathic physician Janine Brundle of Havelock Healing notes that dementia-prevention is also practiced in residential aged care. “Brain and heart-healthy diets are the norm in senior homes because elderly care experts also supervise nutrition. Physical activity, if their condition allows it, can be used to help with those suffering from dementia. All of this contributes to overall wellness, but it’s also very effective in preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

#4 – Specialised Healthcare

Ageing comes with a variety of health concerns. Specialised care that is of high quality is one of the perks that come with living in such a community. 

According to the team at Flex Osteopathy, promoting pain-relief is a healthcare priority for older adults. They explain “Osteopathic care for the elderly, for example, involves gentle massage techniques that relaxes muscles and joints. It’s a form of maintenance treatment promoting functional mobility and postural balance on top of pain-relief.

These communities have nurses and doctors on-site with the availability of transport in events where your loved one needs to access healthcare urgently. Physical therapy for seniors may also provided by on-site experts. 

#5 – Nutritious Diet

Essential calories and nutrients are required by seniors for them to stay healthy whilst maintaining an ideal weight. This may not be possible for seniors living at home. 

Many seniors living independently at home consume little food or eat unhealthy meals. On the other hand, living in a residential aged care community helps ensure that seniors are consuming healthy meals that are prepared by skilled and experienced chefs. 

Some seniors might also require a targeted approach to nutrition. Integrative medicine expert Verona Chadwick of Get a Healthy Life notes, “personalised healthcare ensures that an elderly’s particular nutritional needs are met. Everybody has different needs and having caregivers on hand to oversee and keep track of everybody’s health is crucial in residential aged care.

#6 – Ancillary Services

Various services can be enjoyed by seniors within a residential aged care community. 

For example, most facilities have on-site hairdressing services offered to make seniors look and feel sharp. Meal preparation and cleaning services are also provided at t he facility, making life easier for your ageing loved one.. 

These services help in the improvement of the quality of life. Seniors residing alone may not have access to such services and family members may not live close by or transportation may not be available. 

#7 – Safety

Elderly people often experience dangerous slips and falls. 

From slipping on wet surfaces to falling while trying to get out of a bathtub, the deterioration of physical health and impaired vision are some of the reasons why seniors fall and injure themselves.

Admittance to hospitals is usually required during such circumstances due to serious injuries like hip fractures. Immediate medical treatment may not be easily accessible for seniors living alone,  thereby putting them at risk.   

In contrast, living within a residential aged care facility provides assurance that immediate care will be provided in case of injury or emergency when falls occur. This makes life within these communities safer compared to living alone. 

Having peace of mind since you know that your loved one is in a safe environment receiving proper care is one of the main advantages of residential aged care. Reputation, food quality, location, security and accessible quality healthcare are some of the considerations that you need to make when going for a residential aged care community for a loved one. Are you looking for more information regarding your loved ones?Chat to a Signpost Aged Care consultant today by calling 1800 744 676.

Author Bio:

Simon Moore is an Australian freelance writer and Sydney-based university student. As a business student, he has a passion for learning about global changes in business culture and specialises in entrepreneurship and innovation-related topics. When Simon isn’t at his desk, you’ll find him exploring National Parks. 

The Changing Face Of Australian Aged Care in 2019 and beyond

Aged Care in Australia is a bustling industry valued to be more than $20 billion. 

Aged care services are part of an industry with over 224,000 employees across well over 1,800 businesses and agencies that offer care services to more than 270,000 elderly and disabled people across Australia.

Aged care is a sector that is snowballing, and this is primarily driven by Australia’ssizeable baby boomer cohort that makes up the largest demographic with an estimated count of 5.5 million citizens. 

The majority of this group is born between 1946 and 1965 and means that the older baby boomer is currently 73 years old. That is the age that’s firmly in the retirement period of life. The younger baby boomer is around 54 years.

A demographic that is more than 5 million strong is no small group. And these are individuals that have playeda significant role in reshaping the Australian society and culture over the last couple of decades. 

Similar, they are set to have a hand in changing the healthcare landscape in Australia over the next decades and beyond, especially in the provision of aged care. 

But what are the most notable trends regarding aged care that we can expect to see as these baby boomers make their mark known in this vital sector that offers a valuable service to the community?

Here’s the top 5 trends set to shake up Australian aged care in 2019 and beyond.

One – Charter of Rights for Aged Care

The main change this year has been giving residents in nursing homes – called aged care residential facilities – more choice about how the live their lives. This is a vital and valuable change that looks set to be a watershed moment in aged care, helping with things as varied as changing nursing homes to having personal identities acknowledged. 

Known as the new Charter of Rights for Aged Care, which was launched on 1 July, it outlines the right of a resident to have choice and control.

As a result, consumer responsibilities have been revised, placing the emphasis on caring, understanding and respectful services that recognise the inherent value of culture, identity and diversity.

This is a hugely positive step in moving away from mental illness like anxiety and depression according to the depression treatment team from Thinking Families, they explain “entry into residential aged care can be a challenging time. It is not uncommon for feelings of anxiety and depression to spiral. Changes like the Charter of Rights for Aged Care will help seniors gain the treatment they want and need, and help provide a safe and comfortable space for people to feel respected and cared for.”

Two – Growth In The Demand For Aged Care Beds And Staff

With the inevitable fact that the 5.5 million strong baby boomer cohort is about to enter the retirement years, that is a significantly huge number of people that will be needing aged care. 

And with a third of this demographic already past their 65th birthday, and this is the official retirement age, then the picture of the state of things becomes more apparent. 

According to the aged care fitness experts from Get A Healthy Life “with around 8% of Australian citizens aged 65 years and above, and a good number of them living in residential aged care, the need forquality beds rises. And this demand will keep going up over the next 5 years to nearly 76,000 annually.”

On the long termscope of things, the federal government issues an intergenerational Report in 2015 that predicts the number of seniorsin Australia aged 65 years and above, which stood at 3.6 million then, will have grown by the year2055 to around 8.9 million. 

Such figures make the aged care sector an attractive job prospect for those in search of a stable, in-demand career. However, these projections will also set the stage for a hot political issue in the coming years.

Three – Costs Are Bound To Go Up

With the aged care sector in Australia currently being a hybrid system, the federal government partly covers the costs of the residential care for most of the elderly and disabled Australians. 

In addition, advances in health mean we are all living longer. With the average Australian male expected to live to 80 and the average Australian female expected to live to 85, the number of residents in aged care will soar by 2055.

However, it is expected that the number of working taxpayers to support each elderly person will decrease from 4.5 to 2.73. To handle this load, the expenditure on aged care is expected to increase from 0.9% of GDP to 1.7% of GDP by 2054/55.

What is clear is that aged care costs will increasingly need to be covered by individuals to meet the standards required for future aged care. For the everyday Australian this is certainly a concern. PPC Marketer and Sydney resident Jaymes White already has an eye on the future, explaining “although these figures represent a somewhat distant future, it is in effect my future. The thought of struggling to pay for aged care when I need it most is confronting, and conversations around aged care funding should continue to ensure all Australians get the care they need.”

With the number of citizensneeding aged care projected to grow exponentially in the coming years, the federal government has its work cut out as it struggles to fund the current level of elderly care services it subsidises. 

That means that there will be a need to incorporate more market-based approaches or require greater contribution ti the cost of care by residents who can afford to do so. In essence,  Aussies who have assets will be expected to dig deeper into their pockets to fund their aged care whilst retaining a strategy to subsidise those with limited or no financial capacity to fund their own aged care. 

And given how pressed the governments across Australia are regarding their budgetary obligations, a day will come when aged care will be an entirely paid service sector that may only be free for the poorest of Aussies.

Four – Residents Will Demand Greater Lifestyle Amenities

As the retirement years of the baby boomers draw near, a significant portion of them will start using residential aged care accommodation. 

They will demand better lifestyle amenities, some of which are not associated with this healthcare sector. And since a majority of the baby boomers are asset-rich given their real estate portfolios and superannuation funds, they will be able to fund and expect a standard of living that is not so different from their youthful, independent years.

Home construction experts, Glen Gilbertson Sanding, explain that “more and more seniors are investing in aged care facilities that represent the standard of living they are accustomed to. We’ve seen facilities investing in improvements and renovations that show an increasingly elaborate architectural element of aged care facilities. These care centres have polished surfaces, and ample natural light, in-house chefs who make gourmet meals, concierge services, and other lifestyle preferences.”

Moreover, the aged care facilities also provide regular social activities and excursions designed to help keep the elderly and disabled residents fit, healthy and socially connected with others.

Five – Technology Will Play A Pivotal Role In Providing Care

With the world in a digital era, then this technology will have an essential role to play in the delivery of quality elderly care services in Australia. 

For instance, the baby boomers will be able to go online and read reviews of different facilities, compare feeds and make an informed choice. They may also get to utilise gadgets such as smartwatch monitoring devices, or even get robotic assistants that follow their nurses as they attend to the residents. 

Moreover, the same technology may help ease administrative duties so that they can be completed faster and more efficiently; this may help in freeing up time to tend to the social and emotional needs of the aged residents.

These 5 trends represent the greatest changes in the Australian aged care industry, and with 2020 around the corner, it remains to be seen what further changes wait in store.

Looking for more aged care resources?

Author Bio:

Simon Moore is an Australian freelance writer and Sydney-based university student. As a business student, he has a passion for learning about global changes in business culture and specialises in entrepreneurship and innovation-related topics. When Simon isn’t at his desk, you’ll find him exploring National Parks. 

Aged Care fees and charges explained simply.

Since the Living Longer Living Better changes to aged care fees and charges came into effect on 1 July 2014, the costs of aged care have become very complicated and confusing. It is easy to find information about the costs of residential aged care by just doing a google search or going on to the myagedcare.gov.au website. To save you that trouble, in summary, there are 4 components to the costs and those components are:

1. daily care fees which every resident pays. These are pegged at 85% of the full aged pension, currently $50.16 per day and revised every March and September;
2. means tested care fee which, as the name suggests, are calculated using a very complicated formula on the resident’s income and assets. The formula is not only complicated because of the convoluted definitions of the various elements of the formula but also because of the rules around what is included and excluded from each of the elements of the formula. They vary from $0 per day to around $245 per day;
3. extra services or additional services fees which some facilities (but not all facilities) charge. These fees have no bearing on the care provided; they are just extra or additional services such as wine with meals or newspapers or other items that can usually be purchased independently of the facility. If you are considering a facility with these charges, you should ask what the resident gets for those charges and work out whether you think it is worth the cost;
4. Accommodation Payment (what used to be called the bond). This can be paid to the facility in whole or in part as either cash which is called a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) or as a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP). The DAP is calculated as an interest payment on the amount of Accommodation Payment that is not paid as a RAD. The interest rate is fixed by the Government, currently 5.77% per annum, and paid on any part of the Accommodation Payment that is not paid as a RAD for each day in care. The RAD is guaranteed by the federal government and refunded when the resident leaves the facility.
You pay some or all of these charges, depending on the resident’s means and whether the facility charges extra services or additional services fees. The aged care residential facility, in conjunction with Centrelink, will work out the payments for you if you want them to or if you do not take control. Residents will most likely but not always need to complete the Centrelink assessment form and aged care residential facilities now often hand them out during a tour of the facility and want them filled out before the resident is admitted. However, it is not their job to optimise these costs. There are numerous ways to ensure that you are not paying more than you should for aged care and every situation is different. It is nigh impossible to work out how to do it unless you are a aged care specialist financial adviser. Pensions can be affected by the way that aged care is funded and paid for and the way the resident organises the funding of aged care can be to the financial detriment of the resident.  Seek advice from a specialist in aged care. We can assist.

So, if you do not already have a financial planner, given the current bad press around financial planning, how do you choose the right one? As aged care is seen as a growing source of revenue, a lot of planners will tell you they have the requisite knowledge when they do not. Here are some tips (although not foolproof):

– you can google ‘aged care financial advice’;
– screen the results for those who, on their website, focus on financial planning for aged care;
– ring around those firms and find out the cost of the advice. The cost varies from around $500 to over $3,000. Cost does not indicate quality. The cost is generally a function of the manner in which they deliver the advice; and
– choose one that charges a fixed fee for that advice.
Or you can call us.

Until next time.

Sara and Margaret

*All figures in this article are correct as at 1 June, 2018.  The figures are reviewed quarterly.