The importance of home care planning

AGEING is a fact of life and with any luck, your parents will live long, healthy lives.

However, you can’t count on this. The time may well come when your parents will need assistance beyond what you can provide.

Aged care planning is crucial, not only for the health and wellbeing of your parents, but also for your financial situation now and in the future.

It is troubling that most Australian’s have not yet considered the financial implications of paying for aged care.

According to a 2016 PureProfile study, a startling 72 per cent of respondents with parents at an average age of 76-years-old have not spoken with their parents about their future care or made any plans for this.

Against this backdrop, the number of aged Australians who choose to receive government-funded home care is growing and so too is the need for home care advice.

What does Government subsidised home care involve?

The aim of Government subsidised home care is to provide eligible individuals who want to stay at home with a range of services to help them with their daily activities.

These include some more basic personal services, which help with showering/bathing, dressing and/or mobility, support services that help with housework, gardening, maintenance, transport and more complex clinical care, which provides nursing, physiotherapy, dietary, hearing and vision services.

Home care packages are delivered on a Consumer Directed Care basis (this means that the funding for the package now sits with the family, not a specified Home Care service provider) and vary from level one (basic care) through to level four (high level care).

In February 2017, changes were made to improve the way home care services are delivered.

These include a new national queue system, which enables people with greater needs to gain faster access to a home care package.

Packages have also been made available based on the relative needs and circumstances of individuals and the length of time they have been waiting.

As a result, the allocation of packages has become more consistent across the country.

Portability of home care packages

Before February, home care packages were held by the service provider, but under the changes, packages are now controlled by the care recipient, improving portability and allowing care recipients to change service providers and transfer any unspent funds (minus any exit costs) to a new provider.

In cases where the care recipient will be leaving home care for any reason (including moving into residential aged care), any unspent amount (minus any exit costs) will need to be paid back.

While the way home care funding is managed has changed, the need to plan ahead for home care and aged care generally has not.

It is important that family members have discussions with aging parents about how they want to be cared for and how this will be paid for.

The best way to prepare is to seek strategic advice from professionals who know how to help you and your family.

Actively seeking specialist care advice while the capacity of your loved ones still allows for it will undoubtedly improve your chances of finding a positive and financially achievable outcome for all.

If you would like to find out more, phone Matthew Khourey at MyState Wealth Management on 1300 651 600 or visit mystate.com.au/wealth.

Information is current as at 19 June 2017. This is general advice only, before making any decisions please speak with a MyState Wealth Management Financial Planner.