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 www.dss.gov.au .
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.
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