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Planning for aged care

The aged care planning process and considerations

Deciding to move into an aged care home is often a challenging and emotional decision for the entire family.

There are a number of important steps to consider when you or a loved one are looking to move into an aged care facility. As well as finding an available room in a facility that suits your needs, there are many other important discussions you’ll need to have and decisions you’ll need to make.

The good news is, your financial adviser is able to help guide you through the entry process, and to help you make sure all these important decisions are understood and addressed at the right time. That way, you and your family can focus on the most important thing – settling into your new home.

What to expect from your adviser

Your financial adviser can help guide you through the formal steps required to enter a Government-subsidised care facility, to help ensure you get the care you need when you need it. They can also make sure you’re getting the advice you need from other professionals (such as a lawyer or accountant) where required.

Your adviser will work with you to help you:

  • understand how the aged care system works
  • navigate the assessment and placement process
  • understand the costs of your care, and your payment options
  • understand the implications of selling your family home
  • determine the impact on your social security payments and benefits
  • review your estate planning needs, and
  • employ the best strategies to help reduce the cost of aged care.

Implementing your aged care plan - Infographic

Implementing your aged care plan

There are two separate roles your adviser performs to help ensure your plan is implemented and works:

Facilitation

Your adviser can liaise with, brief and coordinate:

  • your family
  • an aged care specialist for placement into a facility
  • your chosen aged care facility, and
  • if required, your accountant and solicitor for taxation and legal advice.

Your adviser can project manage the creation and implementation of your plan to ensure each party is working with the right information to help meet your aged care and estate planning objectives.

Financial advice

Your adviser will:

  • develop personal recommendations and present and explain the advice strategies that they recommend based on what you want to achieve
  • where instructed to do so, implement the advice strategy they recommend to help maximise your financial position, and
  • monitor your circumstances and review the initial strategy when circumstances change.

To help you understand what’s involved in the complex aged care journey, we have broken it down into these simple steps:

Step 1 – Assessing eligibility

  • Arrange for an aged care assessment from the nearest Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)
  • Usually includes a nurse, social worker or other health professionals who will assess whether you are eligible to receive Government subsidised care and the type of assistance you need
  • If you’re in hospital, members of the nursing staff might arrange an ACAT appointment on your behalf

Who might be involved?

  • You
  • Your family
  • Your financial adviser
  • ACAT

Step 2 – Finding an aged care home

  • Research and visit facilities to determine the most suitable—make notes
  • Make a list of the things that are important to you—speak to the staff to determine whether their facilities will meet your needs.

Things to consider

  • How can family and friends be involved in care?
  • What social and cultural activities are available?
  • Can the home meet your medical needs?
  • What particular services and facilities would you like in your room?
  • Is there a long waiting list?
  • Accommodation fee for available room

Who might be involved?

  • You
  • Your family
  • Your financial adviser
  • Aged care placement

Step 3 – Working out the cost

  • Work with your financial planner to understand any upfront and ongoing costs and how you will fund them
  • Consider any other ongoing expenses
  • Apply to Services Australia for a fee assessment (can also be done when you enter care)
  • Understand how your social security benefits will be impacted by your move
  • Ensure your ongoing cash flow is adequate to meet ongoing expenses

Things to consider

  • Will you sell the family home?
  • An Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Estate planning

Who is involved?

  • You
  • Your family
  • Your lawyer
  • Your accountant
  • Your financial advisor

Step 4 – Applying for entry

  • Apply to your preferred facilities
  • Go through the application process (varies from home to home)
  • Review and sign the Resident Agreement—do you understand and accept services, fees, terms of residency and rights and responsibilities?
  • Ask facility any questions required to clarify terms of the agreement and ask for any additional information required
  • Seek advice where required to understand your rights and responsibilities
  • Negotiate accommodation fee (if applicable)
  • This can also be a good time to review your estate planning arrangements

Who is involved?

  • You
  • Your family
  • Your lawyer
  • Your financial advisor
  • Placement company (if required)

Step 5 – Moving into a home

  • Organise medical and financial matters
  • Accommodation Agreement must be completed and signed within 28 days after entry
  • Apply to Services Australia/DVA for means-tested fee determination (if not already completed)

Things to consider

  • Who should you tell about your move—e.g. family, friends, health professionals, government departments and authorities, banks, insurance companies
  • What to bring with you— e.g. electrical goods, clothes, favourite books and music, a favourite chair
  • Will you have help moving in?

Who is involved?

  • You
  • Your family
  • Your financial advisor
  • Placement company (if required)

Step 6 – Ongoing considerations

  • Pay ongoing aged care fees
  • Pay other continuing expenses
  • Ensure you have sufficient cashflow
  • Notify Centrelink/Department of Veteran’s Affairs about any changes to your circumstances
  • Notify your financial planner of any changes to your circumstances to ensure recommendations remain appropriate

Who is involved?

  • You
  • Your family
  • Your financial advisor

Important information and disclaimer

This communication has been prepared by Bridges Financial Services Pty Ltd trading as MLC Advice ABN 60 003 474 977 AFSL 240837, Consultum Financial Advisers Pty Ltd ABN 65 006 373 995 AFSL 230323 (‘Consultum’) and Godfrey Pembroke Group Pty Ltd ABN 38 078 629 973 AFSL 230690 (‘GPG’), members of IOOF Holdings Limited ABN 49 100 103 722 (‘IOOF’) group of companies, registered office Level 3, 30 Hickson Road, Millers Point NSW 2000, for use and distribution by representatives and authorised representatives of Bridges, Consultum, GPG and Australian Financial Services Licensees with whom an IOOF member has a commercial services agreement.

It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please seek personal advice before making a decision about a financial product. Information in this document is current as at 1 September 2021. No liability or responsibility is accepted by IOOF or any of its subsidiaries, or by any agents, officers or employees of IOOF and its subsidiaries, for any loss arising from reliance on this communication. Any opinions expressed constitute our views as at 1 September 2021. Case studies are for illustration purposes only. Any tax information provided is a guide only. It is not a substitute for specialised tax advice.