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Aged Care...the daunting path

The reality that an aging and frail parent needing to be moved to a nursing home can cause significant anxiety for all. Besides the dainty realisation that your parent can no longer look after themselves, the reality they are in their final years is very confronting. Amongst all the issues is the financial concern about the need a lump sum to pay for the bed plus then the ongoing costs. A bank won’t lend is this situation and often there are limited funds left in their bank account in any case which won’t cover the nursing home cost.

The stark facts are that for many the options are limited.

The path to follow is:

The first thing you need to do is have an ACAT assessment during which your parent will be assessed for their eligibility to enter aged care. The ACAT assessor will talk to you about your parent’s current situation and help you work out what their options are.

Next, you will need to find an aged care facility. One method to find a place that suits is to visit a few different homes. Each home is different, so visiting them will help you to find out what you can expect. You’ll also be able to see what the accommodation is like, and what types of care, services, and activities they offer. Use the My Aged Care Aged Care Homes Finder to look for homes in the area you would like to live and contact them to arrange a time to visit. Alternatively, there a few highly respected experts that can provide sound advice and assistance in this process of selecting the right facility.

Cost: the Australian Government pays for the bulk of aged care in Australia. But, as with all aged care services, it is expected you will contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to do so. You will never be denied the care you need because you can’t afford it. How much you pay depends on your financial situation. There are strong protections in place to make sure that care is affordable for everyone. The Australian Government sets the maximum fees for care and daily living expenses, and there are also rules about how much you can be asked to pay for your accommodation.

Moving into an aged care home may require one-off payments or deposits, as well as ongoing fees for your care, accommodation and daily living expenses. If residents can’t afford to pay there are hardship provisions in place to ensure that they still receive the accommodation and care needed. For more information about applying for hardship assistance visit the Department of Social Services website .

As a guideline for the accommodation payment, your parent must be left with at least $46,500 of assets before he or she can be asked to make a payment. You haven’t disclosed if your parent owns their house or other investments, this will make a difference to what they pay.

For the daily fees if your parent receives the full aged pension then her daily fees will be 85% of the aged pension.

You do not need to provide any financial information to the aged care home. However, to apply to have your fees and charges subsidised by the Australian Government you will need to fill out the Permanent Residential Aged Care - Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment form and submit it to Centrelink. You should apply for your income or asset assessment as soon as possible. This will help ensure easier and more timely access to entering residential aged care and give you a much better understanding of what the costs will be. An assessment is valid for 120 days.


This information is current as at 23/01/17 This article has been prepared by Heart1Stop, a social media brand owned by Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers. The information contained in this article is an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter nor relied upon as such. The views expressed here are not those of Heart1stop, Heart Mortgage Services, Heart Financial Advisers, shareholders, directors or staff and associated contractors and business associates. This article has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, you should, before acting on any information contained in this article, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Any taxation information contained in this article is a general statement and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute taxation advice and is based on current laws and their interpretation. Each individual’s situation may differ, and you should seek independent professional taxation advice on any taxation matters. While the information contained in this article may contain or be based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, it may not have been independently verified. Where information contained in this publication contains material provided directly by third parties it is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. It is not the intention of Heart1Stop or Heart Mortgage Services and Heart Financial Advisers that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. To the maximum extent permitted by law: no guarantee, representation or warranty is given that any information or advice in this publication is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for any purpose; and no party of Heart1Stop or associated entities as mentioned is in any way liable to you (including for negligence) in respect of any reliance upon such information. This article may also contain links to websites operated by third parties ("Third Parties") who are not related to Heart1Stop. These links are provided for convenience only and do not represent any endorsement or approval by us.

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