Aged care considerations – how to stay well at home
There’s no avoiding it, every one of us is getting older. And, as the years pass, we all want to make sure that we are prepared.
Here at First Financial, we focus on helping our clients live the life they want, into their retirement. And when the time comes to change living arrangements, our team is also able to assist with aged care advisory services.
But before then, there are steps you can take to help you stay at home longer – ways to maintain your health and wellness and to ensure you are accessing the services you need. We spoke to Nicole Dunn from Empower Aged Care about these services, and Nicole says:
“You plan when you get married, you plan when you have kids, you plan for retirement … you need to plan for your senior years. By being prepared, you get a lot more reassurance that everything will be ok. Starting early means you can address things proactively to stay well, longer.”
The benefits of being prepared
The Scouts’ motto – ‘be prepared’ – is certainly appropriate when looking at aged care options.
Spending time now, when you are fit and well, to plan for future possibilities, will help remove uncertainty.
The aged care system in Australia is complex and if you leave your planning until later in life, it can add extra stresses when they are least welcome.
Many aged care services provided by the government or your local council can have significant waiting times. If you can privately fund the services, then you may find them easily accessible.
But if you require subsidised fees or government funding, you could be subjected to a wait list anywhere from six months to up to two years, depending on the service. Preparation today can save you months of delay when the time comes.
Services you may need
Aged care services are often provided by local councils and community health groups. The government website My Aged Care is an excellent resource that has extensive information. You can review the types of services available and your eligibility, and find local service providers. Plus, you can also learn more about the costs involved with in-home services.
Some of the services you might consider include:
- Household maintenance – such as cleaning or gardening
- Basic structural modifications – hand railings or ramps
- Delivered meals or in-home cooking
- Personal care assistance – showering, dressing
- Shopping assistance
- Access to physiotherapy, nursing or other health services
- Social activities
- Personal alarms
There are also carer support services available.
If your carer needs information or counselling or you require respite care while they are away or unwell, there are several networks you can access.
Have a back-up plan
If you do have a carer, then it is important that you also have a back-up plan. You need to be prepared if something happens to them.
If your primary carer becomes unwell, where do you go for help? This is a question that needs to be answered early.
In a time of crisis, it is far more difficult to find a solution and this can exacerbate the stress of the situation.
Undergoing an aged care assessment before it is needed can expedite the process should you require a short stay in an aged care facility. The paperwork can already be on hand and immediately available if needed.
Minimise the stress
“Maintaining independence, maintaining dignity, keeping your family connection, enjoying memories … that’s where you want to be … not stressed about systems and services,” says Nicole.
Your senior years should be spent with the people you love, enjoying the activities that bring you happiness. By recognising and acting now on future needs, you will be able to minimise stress and focus on the joy in life.