When one begins to consider permanent residential Aged Care, whether for themselves or a loved one, many questions will inevitably emerge as you explore your options. For many people, questions about finances and fees are front of mind. Who pays for Aged Care? Is there an Aged Care subsidy? Who qualifies? And how is my, or my loved ones, money managed once in Residential Aged Care?
Myth: If I move into an Aged Care Residence, I won’t be able to manage my own finances.
Moving into an Aged Care residence has little bearing on your ability to manage your financial affairs. When you move into an Aged Care, you can continue to do the things you did at home, and as long as you can understand and manage your banking, investments and other assets, you can continue to do so in Aged Care.
Having said that, If you find online banking difficult, have trouble remembering passwords and bills, or struggle to keep account of your assets, it may be worth considering having an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) in place sooner rather than later. It can also safeguard against a future time when you may be unable to make these decisions yourself.
Kerri explains, “The problem with not having an Enduring Power of Attorney is that if a person needs one, then there are delays while the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (or their counterparts in other states) determine who will be guardian and administrator. The Public Trustee may be appointed, and charges apply for their services.”
Myth: I will have to sell my home to afford to move into an Aged Care residence.
There are several ways to manage your Aged Care residential costs. Selling your home is one of your options, but certainly not the only one. It may not even be the best option for you.
Before making rash decisions about selling your home, it might be worth getting an expert to look over your financial situation. Your family home, income, investments, and other assets are all considered and impact the assessment of your final means against Aged Care costs and whether you are eligible for an Aged Care subsidy.
Kerri provides sound advice for those thinking about selling up to fund their move into an Aged Care community.
“If you have a spouse living at home, then the home will be exempt while the spouse lives there. Rushing in to sell can be a mistake. Some people have lost their pension or had it reduced considerably, particularly if there’s a big gap between the value of the property and the Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD). That’s why it’s best to consult an adviser before making big decisions.”
Remember, residents have 28 days after entering residential Aged Care to inform their care provider how they wish to pay their accommodation costs. That’s plenty of time to find out your options and make the right choice for you.
Myth: I have been assessed as a “low means” resident, so I have no choices about my accommodation in an Aged Care residence.
While some types of accommodation in Aged Care are restricted to those able to pay the refundable accommodation deposit (RAD), the kind of care you’ll receive should not differ between a fully concessional or a RAD payer.
It’s best to talk to the aged care specialists [aged care page booking link:] at your preferred provider, so you understand all available options. Even if you are assessed as a concessional aged care resident, you may be able to work with the provider to access the type of accommodation that you prefer.
“The big tip is finding out what Centrelink have on record for your assets and whether it’s over or under the $186,331threshold before speaking with your provider. This information can assist them is finding the best option available to you.”
Above all, talk about your clinical needs. You and the aged care provider must ensure the chosen location can provide the best possible care for you.
For some, their financial situation at the time of moving into residential Aged Care can be somewhat clear-cut, and with the help of their provider, they can move forward confidently. However, for others in unique circumstances or who simply prefer the added security of expert guidance, it may be valuable to consult a financial adviser specialising in Aged Care. They can help you get an idea of your specific situation and inform you of all the options available to you to manage your Aged Care costs.
Kerri Mendl is an expert Lifestyle and Care Financial Adviser from Alteris Financial Group. For more information visit https://alteris.com.au/aged-care-financial-advice/