There is always the likelihood that an older person will require care as they get older but it’s the question of when any care is required, and to what level, which most older people will be grappling with. For example, an Australian Government Productivity Commission Inquiry Report released on 28 June 2011, titled ‘Caring For Older Australians’ stated that at age 65 there was a 68% chance of a woman and a 48% chance of a man needing aged care during their remaining lifetime. The difference in percentages for each gender was due to the lower life expectancies of males who would likely leave their spouses in a position where they were living alone. With the enhancements to medicine these percentages are only likely to increase.
The 2015 Intergenerational Report issued by The Treasury also found that the structure of Australia’s population is projected to change significantly over the next 40 years. By mid–century, a greater proportion of the population will be aged 65 and over and a significantly smaller proportion of the population will be of traditional working age, that is, 15 to 64 years. The report also estimates that the number and proportion of Australians aged 85 and over is projected to grow rapidly from around 500,000 persons, or around 2% of the population, in 2015 to around 2 million persons, or around 5% of the population, in 2055. This shows that the pressure on the aged care system in Australia will continue to grow very quickly as the baby boomers age and begin to require additional assistance. As the pressure on the aged care system increases it also means that older people will need to understand and plan their living arrangements sooner rather than later.
Decisions on living arrangements for older people should not be rushed and planning ahead should always be undertaken to give the best possible outcome. But what are the level of aged care options available? Below is a simplified table which represents the range of options available as a person ages and moves from independent living towards fully supported daily care.
Levels of Aged Care
Most people would like to stay in their homes for as long as possible and there are various ways to be able to achieve this. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Downsizing the family home.
- For those that are lucky enough, utilising available family and friends to help them with their home care needs.
- The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) which provides a range of support services including community nursing, meals on wheels, cleaning services and community transport. The Government usually subsidises the service providers and they may charge you a small fee for the services accessed.
- Home care packages may offer a solution for people who have more complex needs to receive care in their home rather than in a residential service.
- The use of a granny flat.
- There are also a range of community services run by private and charitable organisations to help older people live well and remain independent in their own homes.
Retirement villages are aimed at those people over the age of 55 who are looking for a lifestyle change. They tend to appeal to those who are still mobile and active and want to live independently but also want the comfort of knowing that additional security, support and companionship is available.
The features, facilities and amenities will vary widely amongst retirement villages. However, potential residents need to be aware they generally don’t own their dwelling and in most cases pay for the right to live in the village through a lease or licence arrangement. In addition to this, it is important to note that retirement villages are not subsidised by the Government.
Home care packages are still available to assist those that need help in retirement villages so there is still the ability to live here with assistance as required.
Residential Aged Care Services
Residential aged care services are facilities which may be suitable for older people who can no longer live independently at home or whose needs are greater than their family can support.
These services are designed for older people who need constant care and support for the tasks for daily living and / or medical care. As these services are subsidised by the Government, an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or Aged Care Assessment Service (in Victoria) is required to determine eligibility.
Low care and high care can be provided to those that need it. There are also differences in the aged care services provided, including location, amenities, staff, programs and activities, so it’s important to choose the service which suits the individual. There are costs involved with residential aged care services which you may be required to contribute to along with subsidies provided by the Government.
The path to residential aged care services is not straight forward. The fee structure is complex and it’s difficult to know the best way to cover costs. Advice should be sought to ensure the best outcome is obtained.
This article is intended to provide general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on any information contained in this article, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.
Gathering information, planning ahead and seeking professional advice can ensure that older people make the right decisions to secure the care they need, at a cost they can afford. Patersons Securities Limited has a number of Accredited Aged Care Professionals available within the business to be able to provide professional advice in aged care for those that need it. Please contact your Wealth Adviser
for more information.