Australia's future aged care crisis
We have known for a long time that the majority of Australians want to continue living in their own homes as they age, but how prepared are we to actually do that? We commissioned a nationally representative survey of people over 50 years old to find out.
Our key findings are:
- 87% of people want to remain living independently in their own home
- 75% of people have not made plans for their future care needs
- Only 9% of people have made a financial or savings plan for future care
For advice about your options for in-home aged care, get in touch with our friendly team.
Why we need to prepare
It's clear from our research that people have strong feelings about their preference for in-home aged care, but most people have not planned how they are going to achieve that goal.
If you want to live in your own home as you age, then you need to come up with a plan that's feasible for you. Some questions you need to consider include:
- What kind of in-home aged care services will you need in the future?
- How will you pay for your care?
- Are there government funding programmes you could be eligible for in the future?
- Have you discussed your care preferences with your family?
Our study revealed that 77 per cent of people who have organised aged care for a parent found the process to be stressful. This is likely because they were rushed into making a decision, as 41 per cent of people were prompted to organise care by a sudden event or illness, and 38 per cent spent less than one month exploring care options.
This means that nearly half of the people organising care for a parent did not have a plan in place before being prompted by a sudden event or illness. What's even more worrying is that one in four people would change the decision they made.
You can spare yourself—and your family—this stress by having a clear plan in place and communicating with your relatives well in advance.
Over half of the population over 50 years of age aren't prepared. So what should you do?
Our research has shown that the majority of people over 50 years of age do not have a plan for their future care needs. But what should your plan include? Here are some of the things you need to do as part of your plan:
Know your care options
Our study makes it clear that Australians are making care decisions quickly and with limited information. So, it's really important that you research all your care options so you can make an informed decision. These options include:
- In-home aged care
- Retirement villages
- Nursing homes
While the majority of Australians prefer in-home age care, you also need to consider how your needs will change over time. It's also worth researching different providers of in-home care in Victoria to find one you like.
Plan how you will pay for your care
Less than one in ten people have made a financial or saving plan for their future care needs, so it's important that you understand what your care could cost and how you will pay for it. Some things you should know include:
- Home Care Packages provide funding for in-home aged care services
- There is a limited number of Home Care Packages, so there is a waiting list
- You can pay for in-home care services privately
20 per cent of people expect their kids to help them pay for their care and 18 per cent expect the government to fully fund their care. However, we recommend having a backup plan just in case these options are not possible for you, for whatever reason.
Communicate with your family
As we mentioned above, organising care for a parent is very stressful, and the majority of people rush into organising care for a parent only after being prompted by a sudden event or illness. So, it's essential that you communicate your preferences and your care plan with your family. Avoid stress for you and your family by:
- Having the conversation about aged care sooner rather than later
- Telling your family about your preferences and your plans
- Asking your family in advance if you want them to help you pay for your care so they can plan their finances
Aged care is a touchy subject for many families and having these conversations can be difficult. However, you will save everyone a lot of stress if you talk about your care plans early.
Start the conversation and avoid the aged care crisis
As things are today, most Australians over 50 years old are not prepared for their aged care needs. But this doesn't have to be the case for you. If you're not yet prepared, now is the time to get started.
With a bit of planning, you can dramatically improve your quality of life in your later years. Planning for your aged care will make it much easier for you to continue living independently and achieve your lifestyle goals.
Having conversations about aged care will also help reduce the awkwardness and stigma that a lot of us face when we talk about this subject.
Get expert advice from Absolute Care & Health
If you're one of the 75 per cent of those who hasn't planned for your future care needs, we can give you helpful advice on what your options are for in-home care in Victoria as well as other things you need to consider.
We provide quality in-home aged care, and all our services are perfectly tailored to your needs and preferences.
Absolute Care & Health on 13 November 2017
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