The importance of planning your aged care early

Aged care can be a challenging topic to think about, and if you’re like most of us, it’s all too easy to put it off until sometime in the dim and distant future. However, the problem lies in the fact that that hazy, far away future tends to creep up on us quicker than we ever imagined, and before we know it, it’s upon us and we’re facing the decision about aged care. And by then, often under the time pressure of ill health, a medical emergency or loss of a carer, it’s often too late to allow you to make the best decisions.

Like most big decisions in life, doing some research and planning before you need to will really help. Planning your aged care early has plenty of benefits when you reach the point of needing aged care – such as these.

Ensuring your wishes are respected

While a move into aged care can often be a choice, sometimes the decision is made inevitable by the onset of a serious medical condition, a sudden debilitating injury or the death of a relied-upon partner. If aged care decisions need to be made in such circumstances, chances are you may not get to make them. If you’re very unwell or need emergency medical care, other people may end up making decisions about your aged care. And they may not make the decisions you would prefer, particularly if you’ve never let anyone know your preferences regarding aged care. You need to spend some time deciding exactly what you would prefer, and documenting these desires, so that those around you can ensure your wishes are respected if you are unable to do so.

Reducing your stress levels

There’s no denying it, planning aged care can be stressful, particularly if you’re having to do it under time pressure or while dealing with ill health or the death of a loved one. Having the decisions already made can give you great peace of mind, knowing that your plans are in place no matter what happens and that you have control over the outcome.

Reducing your family’s stress levels

And don’t forget about your family’s stress levels too – they will no doubt find it very stressful to have to plan and organise last minute aged care for you in the event it becomes necessary. Everyone can have much greater peace of mind knowing that your future is mapped out as you would choose to have it.

Allowing you to make your choice of facility

There are a huge range of aged care facilities out there, and while each no doubt has its own benefits and advantages, there are some that will suit you better than others. Planning your aged care early allows you to assess facilities of interest and make an informed decision about which one might be the best choice for you. You’ll have time to visit each facility

you’re considering, ask questions, observe the interactions and activities and absorb the atmosphere – all of which will help you make the right choice of aged care.

To discover more about how to choose an aged care facility that’s right for you, click here.

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Allowing you to financially prepare

A move into aged care comes with certain costs and financial obligations that can take time to prepare for. You’ll need to know what you want to do so that you can organise your finance appropriately, and ensure you have enough for what you need. As well, you might want to seek financial advice, make a will, sell or rent your current house etc. – there’s a whole range of financial, legal and administrative tasks that need to be completed before you can make the move into aged care.

Allowing time for your aged care assessments

Before moving into aged care, you’ll need to be assessed for eligibility by My Aged Care, as well as undergo an income and assets assessment. These assessment processes takes time, so you’ll need to allow an adequate amount to organise the details of your aged care move.

So, when should you start planning for aged care?

Rather like buying a new house, you need to take your time considering your aged care options. Choosing the right aged care solution can be an involved process, and there are many factors which need time and space to consider, including:

  • The type of care needed
  • The availability of aged care services
  • The choice of aged care services
  • Costs and fees
  • How your existing assets and income will affect the amount of government support you need
  • What to do with your current home

These are not decisions which can effectively be made in a hurry – so it makes a lot of sense to plan ahead and gain an understanding of how the system works, as well as having discussions with your family about your wants and needs. Prepare for these decisions before you think you need them, and you’ll alleviate much of the emotional and financial stress that comes with aged care planning.

Click here to discover signs it might be time to consider aged care for your parent (or yourself)