When it comes to your life and future, there are conversations that are hard to have – and for most of us, thinking about aged care is one of those.
In fact, research shows that while 8 in 10 Australians know they should plan for their later years, only 1 in 4 do anything about it, with the most common reasons being that they’re not sick, they’re too young, the subject makes them uncomfortable, or they don’t want to upset their loves ones.
But growing old is a reality for all of us, so it’s important to have a discussion about getting older – even when you’re still young.
What do I need to consider when discussing my aged care options?
While money and property might be the obvious areas, there are plenty of other things to consider around health and lifestyle to ensure your family knows how you want to be cared for and supported as you get older.
You might want to start with some of the following topics:
- Who do you want to make decisions about your finances if you’re not able to do that for yourself? If your health declines, or you have a sudden accident or illness, do you have an Enduring Power of Attorney to cover decisions about money and property?
- Who do you want to make decisions about health interventions if you’re not able to do so yourself? For example, if you have dementia later in life, would you be comfortable having a GPS-style tracker attached to you so you could be found if you went wandering? Similarly, a do-not-resuscitate order gives clarity on what actions you want loved ones to take. An Enduring Power of Guardianship will enable someone to make a health or lifestyle decision on your behalf.
- Funeral or service arrangements. What will happen when you pass away? How will this be paid for? This topic is often avoided, yet death is one of the few things that are guaranteed in life.
- Do you have a will? Writing a will is important to ensure your wishes are accurately conveyed when it comes to your funeral and your assets, and it can avoid family disputes.
- How do you want to be remembered? What is important to you at your funeral service?
- Your lifestyle and aged care services. Most people want to live as long as possible in their own home and stay independent. However, we know that’s not always possible. In the event you need the services of an aged care facility, what are your preferences? What do you think might be important to you?
Chorus Head of Brand and People Louise Forster said an Enduring Power of Attorney, and an Enduring Power of Guardianship, as well as your will need to be in place well before they’re needed.
“It sounds obvious, yet how many of us have these in place?” she said.
Ms Forster recommends you make two copies of all documents and ensure key people know where they are kept in if they’re needed.
What are my home care assistance options if I want to stay at home?
Everybody wants to stay in their own home for as long as possible, and Chorus aims to support people to live the life they choose in their homes and communities.
Depending on the aged care provider you choose, there is a wide variety of home care assistance available in Australia. At Chorus, we provide in-home support and home care services as diverse as personal care, transportation, help with cleaning and gardening, and social events. More information about your options and how we can help is detailed here.
However, if you want to stay at home in your older years, you may first want to consider:
- Whether your house is suitable and perhaps think about some modifications ahead of time.
- If changes are needed, do you need to install rails next to any steps or a chair in your shower?
Where do I begin having a conversation about my future care options?
Now you know some of the areas that need to be discussed, where do you begin?
Ms Forster said having the conversation at a family gathering is a good place to start as everyone is in the same place and usually more relaxed, which will help with discussing difficult subjects.
“Make it easier for yourself and have the conversation that we’re going to have to have at some point anyway and do it while everyone is able to have the conversation and engage in it,” she said.
Chorus can help you stay at home in your older years and advise you on eligibility criteria and how to be assessed for home-care services. Get in touch on 1800 264 268 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to speak to someone about your in-home care options.