Category: aged care

A view on retirement villages

An independent view on retirement villages

Over the past few weeks, articles about retirement villages have received a lot of press and most of it was unfavourable.  As independent advisers, we have been asked on numerous occasions whether we think the articles have been fair.  So here is what we think.

Social isolation is the single biggest issue for our ageing population.   Retirement villages go a long way towards solving that issue for its residents.  The residents are part of a community, they probably get some supports (like general maintenance of the common areas and some social activities) and they feel safe.  The residents are also able to continue to live independently.  These things are priceless and can make for a happy old age.

Independent living

Retirement villages are usually independent living, so stories about how a person was left in their unit after a medical event and not found for several days can happen because the resident chose to remain independent.  Whilst many retirement villages are equipped with emergency all buttons, sometimes things happen which mean that button cannot be activated.  Some retirement villages are using technology to detect these events without the need to activate a call button.

It does become confusing because some retirement villages offer care services which the resident generally has to agree to and pay for additionally.  In that case, if the resident had agreed to those care services and they had not been delivered,  it would wrong for a person to be left undetected for a period of time.

Retirement Villages can be very expensive

Retirement village agreements are contract based so the residents get what the contract says they will get and the resident pays what the contract says they will pay.  Most retirement village contracts do require payment of a deferred management fee and other costs when the resident leaves and it is not unusual in our experience for a resident to pay around 40% to 50% of the amount the the unit sells for and often the resident is paying outgoings and monthly fees for quite a while after they have left the village.  In our experience, retirement village units are generally less expensive to acquire than a similar freehold property in the same geographic location but, in our experience, do not appreciate as rapidly as other property.  There is no doubt they are not a sound financial investment.   They are a lifestyle investment.

Understand what you are buying

In terms of the resident entitlements, residents should look closely at the agreement (and get legal advice) about what exactly they are entitled to under the contract.  The contract may specify social events or services and it is important to understand what exactly the village is agreeing to provide.  The resident is not entitled to anything other than what is in the agreement (so, for example, if the resident is told there are free drinks for residents every Friday night, that might not be in the contract and, if it does say that in the contract, there is probably another clause that says that can change). Contracts will not say you will have a fabulous time in our village because of course that cannot be guaranteed. As residents usually go to a village for the community, it is really important that potential residents ensure they will fit in with the community before they move in.  It will not work if everyone else in the village speaks Swahili and you do not.  Most villages will give you an opportunity to meet other residents before signing up and we think that is one of the most important things to do before committing.  This can be a risk if the unit is being sold off the plan.

So, in summary, living in a retirement village can be great and might be the right choice for you.  They are expensive and you need to understand what you are getting and what you will be paying.  You should get legal advice before you sign the contract.  If you would like expert legal advice, call us on 1800 744 676.

Until next time

Sara and Margaret

 

Why should you use an aged care specialist?

Here are the top 5 reasons to use an aged care specialist:

  1. Save money and time

You will probably spend hours trying to work aged care out yourself and still not have the right answers. We understand and get the best out of entitlements and subsidies and can minimise the costs of receiving care and support.  Nearly all our clients recover our fees in savings we have obtained for them.

  1. Talk to someone who knows aged care

The aged care system in Australia is very complicated.  Trying to understand the options, how much they cost and whether they are right for you is really hard, especially if you are under time pressure to get things sorted out.  There is no website with all the answers, the Government My Aged Care service is limited in scope, hospitals are keen to move you on and the interface with providers is usually a sales person.  Many people ask their friends who have been through it already but every situation is different. Signpost Aged Care Services know aged care; how it works, what it costs, how it is funded and the pros and cons of each of the options.

  1. Get the right advice for your situation

Signpost gives reliable impartial advice tailored to your wants and needs.  We are independent of any service provider and do not receive or pay any commissions or incentives.

  1. Reduce stress and be happy

We ensure people receive the support and care they need. Both the care recipient and the family and/or carers can rest assured that the right decision has been made.

  1. Make sure you get what you want , the best care that you can afford

Signpost can help you avoid having to take only what you can get.  We will assist you to get the best available option so you can have your choices met ensuring you get the care and support you want.

Call Signpost Aged Care Services now on 1800 744 676 if you need help or just want to have an obligation free chat about your aged care issue.

Until next time

Sara and Margaret

I think it’s time mum or dad got some help

Welcome to 2017.  Many of us will have seen our parents over the summer break and noticed that things don’t seem to be going that well at home for them any more.  Maybe it is time to start looking for help.

Your parents may have been coping on their own for many years, but you might have noticed  some things recently that make you worry. Their increasing forgetfulness, the state of their home or their frailty may be starting to worry you.  If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to start thinking and talking about aged care.

This is a big decision in your mum or dad’s life, so it’s important you start talking to them about their options as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may find you need to make the decision in a rush after an adverse health event and that means they will probably have to compromise.

Your parents may be able to cope better with help at home and that can often be enough to give the family peace of mind and help parents come to terms with getting older and needing help.  They might be considering moving into a smaller home and are thinking of a retirement village or an aged care facility.

The transition to aged care isn’t straightforward.  Understanding the options and knowing where to start is often confusing and difficult.

That’s where Signpost comes in.  We can help you understand the options so you can make an informed choice and we can manage the whole transition for you including helping you to select the best provider,  negotiating the terms with the provider and doing the paperwork.

So if you’re contemplating aged care for a loved one and don’t know where to start – don’t delay. Call us today on 1800 744 676 for an obligation-free chat on how we can assist you and your family to get the best aged care outcome.

 

Until next time,

Sara and Margaret

Landing

 

How to avoid lonely old age

A while ago we went to the COTA Australia annual conference. COTA Australia is the peak national organisation representing the rights, needs and interests of older Australians. The President of COTA, a very impressive woman in her 70’s welcomed the forum and reflected on the history of COTA and its achievements During the course of her speech, she mentioned that when COTA started in the 1960’s the single biggest issue facing Australians of old age was social isolation and that remains the single biggest issue today.

We see strong evidence of this with many of our clients. With age, many of your friends and associates have passed away or are too ill to socialise, you are treated very differently; often ignored and your opinion doesn’t count, your family is too busy working and raising their own children or grandchildren to spend much time with you. And it is hard to make new friends. Social isolation is most prevalent for those who have lost their partners, particularly when they have spent many years caring for them. There is a great sense of loss of purpose when the person you have cared for passes away.

So here are some suggestions to deal with social isolation;

  • remain active. Join a group that has some form of exercise. There is likely to be some sort of local walking group or community sports centre that has fitness or exercise classes for older people.
    join a club. There are loads of clubs for older Australians. The best known are U3A and Probus which each have local chapters.
  • contact the local council to see what activities they have. Most councils have programs for older Australians and many even assist with transport to and from the event.
  • offer your services to a charity. Many charities do not allow older Australians to volunteer because they cannot insure them in the workplace but there are always some that are not ageist.
  • learn to use a computer. Local libraries often provide education sessions and help and there are private organisations devoted to helping older Australians as well. We have several clients who have learned to use Skype and it has changes their lives.
  • move into some form of community living, perhaps a retirement village or an aged care facility.
  • find transport alternatives. Often many people are isolated because they cannot get out and about. Contact you local council about transport assistance, apply for the multi purpose taxi program (which gives you half priced taxis) or apply for a home care package either through your council or through the ACAS process and use that to pay for someone to take you out.

These are just some suggestions. The trick is to think about what you like and then make the effort to do it and spend what money you can enjoying yourself. You have earned it.

Contact us if you need more help or advice.

Until next time.

Sara and Margaret

The Future of Aged Care – Aged Care Roadmap

We all know that the population is ageing and that we need to start preparing for it.  Our government is thankfully alive to this issue and is starting to make changes to cater for the growing number of elderly. Earlier this year, the Federal Government released the Aged Care Roadmap, a report prepared by its Aged Care Sector Committee.
Quoting from that report, “The Aged Care Roadmap sets out the path to a system where people are valued and respected, including their rights to choice, dignity, safety (physical, emotional
and psychological) and quality of life. They (together with their families and carers) will have access to competent, affordable and timely care and support services through a consumer driven, market based, sustainable aged care system.”
At a very high level, those changes will be achieved by:
1. Having a more market driven approach to services where the market drives the prices and greater consumer choice drives innovation and quality;
2. Consumers paying for their own services but with a safety net for those who cannot afford the care they need;
3. Getting consumers to be more proactive about preparing for aged care;
4. Having a single point for information, registration, administration and regulation of services
5. Deregulating the industry, including the removal of the bed licensing regime.
These changes will be significant and hopefully have us prepared for our future.  At this stage it is not clear which of and to what extent these initiatives will be adopted by the Federal Government.
You can read the full Aged Care Roadmap if you click here:

Until next time
Sara and Margaret