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Royal Commission - Elder Lady in a wheel chair in aged care talking to a carer

Royal Commission – Aged Care Advice

The Australian Government has received the final report this March from the Royal Commission for Aged Care Quality and Safety. This is an important reform admitting more effort is needed to ensure seniors are respected and have quality care. The Australian aged care system provides subsidised care and support to older people. Aged care is a complex area that requires time and understanding of individual needs and circumstances. Without prior preparation, many missteps can happen along the way. As a loved one ages, it can be an emotional and difficult experience, while you are attempting to determine their needs. Being aware of what has been discussed and reformed, as well as obtaining aged care advice, can assist you in your understanding of the best route to take for your family.

What Did the Royal Commission Discuss And Achieve?

The Royal Commission assessed the quality and safety of both in home aged care and residential aged care for seniors. It discussed the best possible methods of providing care to people with disabilities in aged care homes as well as individuals with dementia. The Royal Commission considered how people can receive better choice and control over their own care as well as improving the commitment to families and carers of these individuals. Innovative models of care and the use of new technologies were discussed, leading to the acknowledgement that a great investment into the growth and support of the infrastructure and workforce of aged care services was required. Future challenges were explored, such as changing demographics, the choices of Australian seniors, as well as responses to future pandemics and other emergencies. It was established that there was the need to be better prepared and more proactive.

Plan Ahead

As mentioned above being prepared and proactive applies not only to the government, but also to the loved ones of elder Australians. It is a good idea to be on the front foot and aware of many possible scenarios when making care decisions for your loved one. Being equipped with advice and information from an aged care adviser (solicitor) can help give you better choice and control over the care your loved one receives when negotiating their aged care. It can also help prevent you from making some big and potentially expensive mistakes when dealing with aged care providers.

Be Prepared For Incidents That Change Circumstances

Quite often, the decision to move your loved one into aged care is made because of a fall, resulting in a broken hip or a similar incident, and a doctor saying your loved one cannot return home. This realization can be quite overwhelming and emotional. Without prior advice, it can lead to some expensive mistakes and fewer choices. As the Royal Commission discusses in their Final Report, aged care is not a single service. It could mean anything from:

  • assistance with everyday living, like domestic jobs and shopping, as well as social participation
  • respite care or some modifications to a senior’s home to make it more accessible
  • assistance with eating and going to the toilet using a carer, or
  • total health care and nursing or full accommodation.

When you begin to see the choices available in aged care you may begin to understand that forward thinking is essential to ensure you are able to consider and make a choice that is right for your loved one before an incident forces you down a narrow path that you may not have intended to take.

When it becomes apparent that aged care is necessary for a senior parent, it usually means that it will be up to the children to organise the parent’s assets and income as part of the application process. This involves conducting an income and asset test, and making other important decisions. This can be a complex process which can be made easier by an aged care adviser who is qualified to assist you in mapping out a tailored plan for your loved one.

There Is No Need To Go It Alone

The good news is you do not need to make these life changing decisions for your senior parent on your own. An aged care adviser is experienced in assisting a family and enduring powers of attorney of loved ones through the complicated terrain of aged care. Making decisions on behalf of your parent or loved one does not need to feel daunting. Aged care advice helps present the options of care available to your loved one, specific to their situation. It combines legal and financial planning advice to help guide you through decisions, such as what to do with the family home, how to structure your loved one’s finances to maximise entitlements, fund aged care, and protect their estate. It can help give you confidence and peace of mind in your informed decisions. Centrelink can be a maze to deal with at the best of times, aged care advice encompasses dealing with Centrelink to perform income and asset assessments, meaning you do not have to wait frustrated over the phone. An aged care adviser can also help you ensure any investments purchased will be structured to be protected for years to come.

As the Royal Commission has found, aged care needs focus. It is always a good idea to have a plan and when it involves people you care about that rely on you. Having an informed way forward can take the pressure off and give you peace of mind that is invaluable. Call Watson Wealth on 02 4038 1623 to make an appointment with our aged care adviser today.

The information within, including tax, financial and legal, does not consider your personal circumstances and is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account any of your individual objectives, financial, legal or taxation solutions or needs. Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statements and seek personal advice from a qualified adviser.

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