If your preference is to age in your own home, the announcement of 80,000 new home care packages in this year’s Federal Budget will be welcome news. But what does it really mean and who qualifies?
With an ageing population and baby boomers heading towards care years, the demand for home care is increasing. Even once approved for a package, you could have a 1-2 year wait for the funding to be allocated to you.
The Royal Commission highlighted the waiting time as a key problem and recommended urgently clearing the waiting list. Around 100,000 people are currently waiting, although many are accessing interim care at lower levels.
The time may come when you need to make financial decisions on behalf of a parent as the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPoA). Is this an honour or a burden? It can be both, so the person taking on the role needs to understand both the legal obligations as well as family responsibilities.
A power of attorney is given the authority to make decisions and authorise transactions in relation to property and financial affairs. If it is an enduring power, this authority remains effective even after the donor has lost mental capacity – most important for an older person.
No-one likes to talk about getting old. But at what age should you start thinking about your aged care needs? The answer is simple - any age is a good time. This is regardless of whether you are in your early retirement years or well into retirement.
If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, starting the conversation with them while they are still healthy is also sensible. They might not be thrilled that you’re raising the subject but it gives your parents an opportunity to think about what is important to them and give you some instructions, so you have something to guide you if you need to make choices for them in the future.
As someone once said, ‘change is inevitable - except from a vending machine.’
Change in the aged care industry is ongoing, and with the Royal Commission recently sanctioned, more change is highly likely over the next few years.
If you’ve had a loved one move into an aged care facility of late, have you noticed the change?
Yes, the old-style motel-type accommodation has long gone, and been replaced with 5-star hotel accommodation, moving northwards, instead of horizontally.
A resident’s privacy in aged care is rightfully to be respected and is very much legislated.
The Privacy Act, the Aged Care Act and the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities all contribute to the legal right to privacy for aged care residents.
Can there ever be a case for limiting that right or indeed abolishing it? The media and advocacy groups’ interest in elder abuse and particularly, in residential aged care, seems to be laying a foundation for that case.
If you are an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) organising aged care for a loved one, you are about to wear a lot of hats for just one head – investigator, negotiater, administrator, advocate and chief financial officer! The journey you and your loved one are embarking on will be at times complex, confusing and occasionally headache-inducing. Hopefully you will emerge confident that your loved one is comfortable in their new home and able to afford it.