Helping your parents plan for the unexpected

Getting older is a fact of life and with any luck, we will all live to a ripe, happy and defiant old age, enjoying ourselves with loved ones, friends, children and grandchildren.

As much as we desire this for ourselves and our families, it is likely that there will be a need for some assistance at some point down the track. And, while many people say they would tell their families to put them in care ‘when the time comes’, the time to have the discussion about what they want is now – sooner, rather than later.

There are often signs that an ageing parent is having challenges with day-to-day life. Sometimes, through pride and because they don’t want to be a burden, they will try to minimise these issues. Most people want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. They may want control over what type of help will be put in place or be concerned that they will be pressured to move into a care facility. It’s best to talk with your parents long before the signs start to show, so that they are part of the decision process rather than on the outer.

Some of the signs that your parent may need help include:

  • Problems walking and frequent falls
  • Poor judgment or forgetfulness, such as leaving the stove on, or leaving the house unlocked.
  • Disinterest in personal grooming and infrequent bathing
  • Difficulty preparing meals, lack of interest in food
  • Mishandling finances, bills left unpaid
  • Problems managing medications and scripts
  • Difficulty getting to social events
  • Increased confusion or memory loss
  • They seem lonely or sad

You will need time to do research: When making your choice of living arrangements, it’s important to know what services are provided and which are not. You need time to find the service most suited to your parents’ needs.

Your financial adviser can assist you and your parents address many of the sometimes confusing and difficult questions, including:

  • What are the options and costs for aged care?
  • What entitlements and subsidies are available for each option?
  • Will age pension eligibility be affected?
  • What can we afford?
  • Should we sell the family home? How will this affect estate planning?

What are the options?
There are many care assistance and housing options available. The choice will depend on a person’s preferences, age, health, financial condition and the level of care needed. The options range from home based services to full time, 24-hour care.

  • Respite Care – home care, meals and transportation services – This style of service provides assistance to those who are still independent but may need some help with day to day house chores, meals or odd jobs around the house. These services allow older people to remain in their own homes, or with family in shared living/granny flat arrangements, to maintain independence as long as possible.
  • Adult congregate communities, Assisted Living Communities and Personal care homes – There are several types of retirement communities that provide living arrangements and services to meet the needs of both independent seniors and those who need assistance but are not quite ready for full time nursing home care.
  • Aged Care Facilities – If the elderly person is not capable of independent living, an aged care facility may be the appropriate option. Aged care facilities offer a range of levels of care depending on the patient’s needs.

The investments and on-going expenses associated with each of these options are different. Now may be a good time to consult with your financial adviser so that you are fully aware of your options when making decisions on this important and emotional topic. Getting the right advice in this area can have a huge financial impact on the end result.

Our financial advisers can provide comprehensive cash flow analysis based on possible accommodation fees, living costs, tax implications and the financial treatment of the family home. You will quickly know what you can afford and, importantly, the impact on your financial situation after the move into aged care.

If you think it’s time to consider these options, please talk to us; we are always happy to help our clients make good decisions.

Why not schedule a meeting with your Financial Adviser now so that you and your parents are ready?

Disclaimer: Information current as at 7 April 2016 – This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication. You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision about a product.