Time stops for no-one. After all, by the time you’ve even finished reading this article you’ll be older than you’ve ever been – which means you’ll also be closer to potentially needing to call upon aged care services. While ageing isn’t something most Australians like to think about, especially if it’s years if not decades away, planning ahead makes a lot of sense. Starting sooner rather than later can also deliver some significant benefits as you get older, as aged care specialist Danielle Robertson explained to the audience at our recent Hill Rogers Twilight Seminars.

Danielle’s presentation covered several of the specific questions all Australians need to consider as they age, some of which we’ve summarised below. But at the heart of her message was the value of planning ahead, so you’re aware of the different options available as you transition through different stages of your life.

When should you start the process?

In short, right now. The best time to consider and outline your wishes for your retirement and beyond is before you’re actually there. It’s imperative to document your wants and wishes, and revisit them as life events intervene, and discuss them clearly with your loved ones.

How should you approach family members?

Discussing your wants and wishes for the future can be difficult. But it’s something that needs to be done, both for your own sake and for those you care about most. When – and how – you do this can have a big influence on how smoothly any changes will be if and when the times comes for you to require some form of aged care. Talk about the different options, what you’d prefer in different life scenarios and, perhaps most importantly, why you feel that way. The better people understand your wishes now, the more likely they’ll be to respect them later.

Will you be able to remain in your home?

For both financial and emotional reasons, most Australians want to stay in their homes as long as they possibly can. But how realistic is to remain in your family home as you age? It’s important to consider what you’d need in place to make this happen. Just as importantly, what are the alternatives if you can’t?

What is ACAT?

ACAT is a term you’re likely to come across if you haven’t already. It stands for ‘Aged Care Assessment Team.’ Today the Australian Government subsidises many different types of aged care services, each with its own eligibility criteria. If you need help at home or are considering moving into an aged care home, a member of an ACAT – usually a nurse, social worker or other health care professional – will visit you to about your current situation and work out if you are eligible to receive government-subsidised services.

What are your Aged Care options?

‘Aged Care’ is a simple term. But don’t be fooled. These two four-letter words mask an increasingly complex network of care services for Australians. Today there are many stages and types of aged care available, and you may find yourself needing one or more of these in the years ahead. Without going into the specific details, just some of these include:

  • In-Home Care
  • Respite Care
  • Retirement Living
  • Assisted Living
  • Group Homes
  • Residential Care
  • Palliative Care.

Everyone is different, of course. So it’s important to know the options and match these with your needs and wishes. Given the complexities typically involved in doing this, it’s often best to seek out the assistance of specialists to ensure you received the best care option(s) for your personal situation.

With over 30 years experience, Danielle Robertson is one of Australia’s foremost Aged Care specialists and works closely with many of our clients at Hill Rogers. If you’d like to find out more about setting up your own retirement, estate and aged care plans, please contact Anita Cohen, here.