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Right at Home Creates Awareness for Planning for Additional Long-Term Care Expenses in Retirement

| Ageing

Right at Home, Australia's Quality Home Care Provider, shares information about retirement planning. Our retirement dreams might include travel, hobbies, spending more time with family, or having time for all those other things we have always wanted to do. So, we carefully budget for our basic expenses, as well as all those nice extras. And the earlier we start saving, the better. 

But studies show that many of us forget to factor in significant health care costs that may not be fully covered by Medicare. Neglecting to consider this crucial component during retirement financial planning could prove to be troublesome, and costly.

A sudden illness or injury, or the diagnosis of a chronic health condition can incur huge medical expenses, sometimes beyond what the government can subsidise. It is also important to consider “health care” in the broader sense. As we know, not all care is medical in nature. If you were to have a disability, which is very common as we age, you might need assistance with basic “activities of daily living”.

Some examples are:

  • Personal care, such as bathing, dressing and assistance with using the toilet
  • Keeping the home safe and clean
  • Preparing nutritious meals
  • Transportation to wellness appointments and elsewhere
  • Staying socially, physically, mentally and spiritually active
  • Following physician orders

Many younger people underestimate their personal risk of developing a disability and their likelihood of needing help with activities of daily living. Studies show that many people turning 65 today will need assistance with the types of support listed above, most often for a short period of time, but potentially for years. Government assistance is available for certain costs, but you also may be required to pay a portion using your personal funds.

Things to consider as you plan for the cost of care

What might you expect? Start with a realistic vision of your later years. How is your health now? Are there lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of disability and the related costs? Do not assume you will remain healthy even if that is currently the case. We cannot predict the future, and the longer we live, the higher our costs are likely to be.

Where might you receive care? Today, there are many options. If your care needs are complex, long-term care provided in a care home might be best. Assisted living communities provide varying levels of help with the activities of daily living as residents’ needs change. These options can be costly, even if a portion or most of the expense is covered by the government.

Could care support help you stay home?

More than 75 per cent of people say they would prefer to receive care in their own homes if possible. And with the right help, it often is possible! However, this choice can put a large burden on our families. Today, millions of spouses, adult children and other family members are providing care for ageing loved ones and those living with disabilities.

But, a family member may not be able to provide continuous care over many years as needs change and become more complex. Plus, families are smaller today. Adult children are likely to live at a distance from older parents, which equals fewer people who can help. Adult children are often unable to juggle employment and other family responsibilities, as well.

While some adults are unwilling to accept professional care due to cost or wanting to leave their family an inheritance, bringing in supplemental care often relieves a huge burden on families. Studies show the careers of family caregivers can be seriously impacted when they must come in late or leave early, take care-related phone calls during the day, turn down travel or promotions, and even leave their jobs altogether. Their own health can be affected, and their own retirement plans derailed. Family members also may need to share the financial burden of paying for care when their elder loved one has not saved enough.

Home support services are available

Fortunately, if you have saved for your care, you will have several options to help you “age in place” when the time comes, if that is your preference.

Home modifications make the home better suited for your needs. These range from minor fixes, such as extra handrails on the stairs, to a major remodel to make your home wheelchair-accessible. This is something to consider early on and to include in your budget projections. Government and charitable services for people in later life are available, such as day centres, meal programs, older adult transportation and case management. Some are free, while payment for others depends on income and assets.

In-home health care providers like Right at Home offer many of the services provided in a care home, such as injections, medication administration, wound care and rehabilitation services. These medically necessary services may be covered in your health plan. Professional in-home caregivers assist older clients with the activities of daily living listed above. This care allows clients to maintain their independence and normalises relationships with adult children, something most of us would want. Some of these services are covered by government or charitable sources, while many families choose to pay for additional help.

Who can help you make your plan?

As you can see, financial care planning can be complicated, and the long-term care landscape is complex. Call in experts to help. Right at Home can help by working with families to set up support services through the government's Home Care Packages scheme, NDIS, or private pay. 

A financial planner or financial adviser can help at every step, letting you know if you are on track with your retirement savings goal, advising you on maximising public benefits, and helping you navigate other financial matters. These professionals also offer advice on alternative ways of paying for care. If you do choose to work with a financial planner, be certain that you do your research and due diligence. Be sure to ask about their credentials, familiarity with aged care issues, and fee structure. Begin planning early and revisit your plan often. Just as you would not make health decisions without the input of your doctor, it is equally risky to make your financial plan without consulting experts.

If you or someone you know needs in-home care advice, or assistance with navigating the government funded My Aged Care, Home Care Packages Scheme, contact us today on 1300 363 802. Our care managers will explain how you can access support in an no-obligation, free consultation in your own home. 

Keep up to date with COVID 19 information on the following links:

Australian Government Department of Health

Victorian Health and Human Services

NSW Health

Queensland Health

ACT Health

WA Department of Health

Tasmanian Department of Health

Northern Territory Department of Health

SA Health

Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care, and assistance to seniors (elderly and aged care), and any adult who needs our care at home including adults living with a disability who want to continue to live independently or age in their home. Right at Home is your local expert for issues related to caring for your loved ones and is dedicated to keeping you informed about home care. With no admin or subscription fees Right at Home allows you to get more care from your package or budget.

Right at Home is a 'My Aged Care' government-approved, home care provider for levels 1-4 and offers flexible in-home care services such as nursing care, after hospital care, post-operative care, respite caredementia and Alzheimer's care. Right at Home also offers assistance with daily living and personal care such as grooming, hygiene, transport, shopping, meal prep, domestic services and social support, so your loved one can enjoy a more independent, vibrant life. Our nurses and caregivers are screened, highly trained, and insured prior to entering your home so you can trust us with the caregiving while you focus on your loved one.

To find out more, please give us a call on 1300 363 802 or visit our website.

Right at Home Offices in Australia: Sydney Lower North Shore; Sydney Upper North Shore; Sydney Central and Eastern Suburbs; Sydney Northern Beaches; Sydney Norwest; Sydney The Hills; Padstow St George; Macarthur Penrith; Newcastle; Hunter & Port Stephens; Southern NSW; Toowoomba- Darling Downs; Sunshine Coast and Gympie; Mackay; Central Queensland; Townsville; Far North Queensland; Gold Coast South; Gold Coast North; Northern Rivers; Brisbane Bayside; Brisbane South; Brisbane North; Brisbane West; Perth Midland; Perth Northern Suburbs; Perth West Coast: Kalgoorlie Wheatbelt; Moreton Bay Region; Sydney Inner West; Sydney Ryde; Greater Logan

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