26 Oct Financial tips to prepare for living in residential aged care
Preparing your finances for moving into residential aged care can seem a little daunting, but thinking ahead is often the key to relieving that stress. Here we offer a check list of tips to help you in your decision process.
1. Check the Government website
Refer to the Australian Government’s My Aged Care website or phone their contact centre on 1800 200 422. There is a lot of useful information generally about residential aged care and how the costs work as well as a Service Finder and an Aged Care Fee estimator.
2. Go to a financial adviser
Don’t make the mistake of trying to save money by doing your own financial research online. Each and every person has different needs and requirements and so it’s important to get help from someone who is qualified. You can even access financial planning services affordably through Centrelink.
3. Do your financial assessment of your means
When you move into residential aged care, you’ll be required to do a means tested assessment – it can be found on the My Aged Care website or you can phone the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422 for a copy to be sent to you. This Means Assessment will determine your daily care fees as well as if you are eligible to receive any assistance with your accommodation costs. You can choose not to complete this, but it will result in you being charged at the maximum price for any place you move into. Once you have completed your assessment you will be issued with a ‘Means Confirmation Letter’. Show this letter to care providers so they can work out how much you’ll pay at their home. It’s better to do your assessment early so it is out of the way but be aware they will have an expiry date so you may have to do it again if it’s too soon. Don’t put if off – prepare now when you have got the time, because there will be a lot other things to do when you need to make the move into residential aged care.
4. Check services costs online before you go to an inspection
Each care provider must advertise what their costs are. You can find their charges by either asking directly, or you can check the My Aged Care website. This allows you to start planning before you even put your coat on and leave your house.
3. Shop around
As well as knowing the homes’ costs, ask them for information on the services offered. Each Provider has to give information sheets on exactly what you get for your money – which makes it easier to compare them with others.
4. Get the paperwork checked out!
When you move into a residential home you’ll be required to sign an agreement. Ask Providers for these agreements in advance and don’t just read them yourself, but get your solicitor and financial advisor to read them for you too.
5. Don’t let your finances get in the way of your choices
Some people will have their accommodation costs paid in full or in part by the Australian Government if they are deemed to be on lower means. Don’t be put off from viewing a home because you think you might not be able to afford it. Speak to them and ask if there is any availability in that area and they will also be able to outline the various payment options available.
Get in touch
Uniting provides a range of aged care services across NSW and the ACT including residential aged care, home and community aged care and retirement living. To find out more about the retirement and aged care options that Uniting can offer call us on 1 800 864 846 or email us.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for general information only and is not intended to be used as financial or legal advice. The information is up to date as at 18 July 2017 and may be subject to change.