As much as we may not like to admit it, we are all getting older. And inevitably we all need to consider the options for our twilight years, be that considering moving into one of the many aged care facilities in Melbourne, or simply remaining in the family home.
Often when we raise this topic with clients, its not just to discuss what your care preferences are for dear old mum or dad, but also for you and perhaps your spouse later on down the track.
There are many different options to consider, so let’s look are some of them:
Staying at home
Many people like the option of being able to stay at home, some stubbornly so. The familiarity, comfort, security and sense of independence are all things which understandably offer great appeal, much more so than an aged care agency. if this is part of your plan, the great news is that there are many different options to support you in being able to stay at home for as long as possible.
Government calculations show that it is cheaper to offer and provide in-home aged care services than to have you move into a higher level of care with permanent professional assistance, so no one is forcing you out of your home.
Various types of assistance are available, some are offered free of charge, some at heavily subsidised rates, and there are always paid personal assistance options. This can also be psychologically far less stressful than considering moving an elderly relative into one of the many aged care services Melbourne has to offer.
Many councils, aged care agency entities, and other government agencies offer in home assistance – whether it be meals-on-wheels, or assistance with cleaning tasks. These are complimented by many religious institutions and community groups willing to help those in need.
There are also some great aged care service agencies who can arrange personal careers such as nurses, facilitate drivers to attend doctor appointments etc, domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning, shopping and washing. This paid outsource solutions can work very well as you know you are dealing with professionals, tailored to assist elderly and frail patients, who have ready solutions to accommodate changing needs. Whilst coming at a cost, it’s a great option for relatives too, who may not live nearby, or lead busy schedules and cannot afford the time away from work, or may not have the necessary skills or health to be able to assist their family.
And of course there is always family/friend assistance. Generally children assisting their parents, but it can also be other family members such as siblings and grandchildren etc. There are also many friendly neighbours who have become close friends over the lifetime of living next door to each other.
If you are considering involving an agency, it is important to select an agency that meets not only the needs of the individual, but also your requirements.
Whilst not for everyone, retirement villages have come a long way. Often seen as a place to co-habitat with other older downsizing residents, the types of facilities and their features are very diverse. To avoid the clichés of Retirement Villages, many call themselves independent living units or lifestyle units. Melbourne has many of these facilities located all over, some of which are in our own backyard, near our offices in Ivanhoe.
Many places restrict entry to over 55’s, which by current standards is anything but old. Whilst you may still be working full/part time, the option of downsizing and living a more simple life without all the maintenance headaches does have appeal. A community feel, with group activities and functions, combined with a communal meeting venue or clubhouse as the often have, gives residence instant opportunities to try new things and meet new people.
In most facilities, you do not own the home or room, but instead buy a right to occupy licence. Prices vary drastically depending on location, services offered, demand, size, features and quality of the building. Amounts in excess of $400,000 are certainly common.
And when it comes to the finances, reading the fine print is super critical. Almost always there will be a deferred management fee (or other names meaning the same thing) which is a fee paid when you leave the facility and the property is re-sold to the next occupant.
The amount of the fee is determined by the length of occupancy, and often hits a maximum fee of about 30% around year 10 – ie 3%pa with a 10 year maximum. There can also be marketing and agent fees deducted at the time of sale, along with any make good requirements such as painting and carpet.
So forget the thought of being able to sell your retirement village property for a profit down the track, as all these fees add up to be virtually the same as the original purchase price – so you get your money back roughly.
Assisted Living Units
Very similar to retirement villages, and often within the same facility, the managers will provide residents access to some additional services above what an independent living offers. Perhaps it might have on-site nurses who can attend if required to administer medication etc. They may have a communal dining room to avoid the need to cooking either on a permanent or when you feel like it basis. They might arrange for a bulk billing doctor to attend the facility once a week for scheduled checkups etc.
These extra services are usually on a user pays basis, so if you need it, they are always available, but just at a cost.
Aged Care Hostels & Nursing Homes
There are a lot of confusing and similar sounding terms when it comes to hostels and nursing homes, so for simplicity, we will use laymen’s language to give you some basic ins and outs, but the team at GNS Group are happy to run through some more specifics with you and your family to understand your situation and guide you through the maze of options. Simply book an appointment at our Ivanhoe offices with one of our friendly, expert staff.
Aged Care Hostels are for people requiring low levels of personal care. With permanent on-site nurse and attendant care to assist where and when required for things such as eating, mobility, bathing, toileting, dressing, administering medication etc.
They are secure facilities, as some of the residents may be suffering from dementia related conditions, so the residents are not able to freely leave, unless accompanied by family or friends and arranged with management.
Nursing homes are for people with higher levels of personal care needs. Without being able to eat, move, bath, dress yourself or go to the toilet, permanent and frequent nurse and attendant care is essential.
They are secure facilities, and the residents typically do not leave the facility as family may not have the requisite levels of care or training to be able to assist such a high degree of needs.
24hour care such as this does come at a cost, and for those residents in receipt of the government age pension, most of this is paid to the facility manager for their care. Depending on what other assets or income sources you have, an entry fee may be required (which is largely refunded upon leaving).
The amount you pay is determined by 2 things:
What type of facility you are entering and your financial classification.
Entry to these facilities can be funded either through paying a lump sum bond, making periodic monthly payments, or a combination of both options.
All facilities offer a variety of ‘additional’ services above what would be required for basic care. These extras come at a cost. Facilities are also required to list the entry cost of each room on the government website www.gnsgroup.com.au which acts a bit like a realestate website, where you can compare one room/facility to another to see what the asking price is, and what you get for that price.
Besides the extra services that you may select, you may also have to pay an additional fee if you have additional financial assets or income which could help cover the cost of your care rather than relying upon subsidised government funding.
Working through this means testing and the many options available to you and your family is where the team at GNS Group can add value and assistance to what may be a difficult and emotional time. Please contact us today to see how we can help.