Tag Archives: Aged Care

How to get Aged Care at Home

By Robert Wright /November 18,2020/

Older people who are struggling to live at home and take care of themselves often face a dilemma. Many don’t want to move into aged care accommodation, but they recognise the gardening, cleaning, cooking or showering is impossible or becoming more difficult.

Some worry about placing a burden on their loved ones, others can’t afford the services they need. This year in particular with coronavirus health concerns for the elderly, many people who were looking to move into an aged care facility may have decided to stay home instead.

For those who might be weighing up or delaying moving into an aged care facility this year, these Government-funded care programs may be of interest.

Commonwealth Home Support Program

For those who are having trouble with everyday tasks and needing a little extra help, the Commonwealth Home Support Program might be useful.

The program is available to anyone aged 65 or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people). It’s also open to anyone on a low income or homeless and 50 years or older (45 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people).

It’s not a free service. You may need to help pay for the cost of services if you can afford it, but you won’t need to pay the full cost.

The program covers services such as meals and other food services, help with showering and grooming, help with medicines, health and therapy services and respite care.

Home Care Packages

Another government-funded service provides a higher level of support for older people living in their own homes.

Home Care Packages are for older people with more complex care needs. The package will help fund and organise many of the same services covered by the Commonwealth Home Support Program but you’ll need to be assessed first to determine your level of need. There are four levels ranging from basic care to high care.

The assessment will also consider how much you can contribute to the cost of your care. There are two types of fees:

  • A basic daily fee (up to $10.75).
  • An income-tested fee (up to $30.86 per day) is applicable for some. If you have to pay this fee, there are annual and lifetime limits on how much you can be asked to pay.

Where to begin?

Once your level under the Home Care Packages has been assessed and funding has been allocated, it’s up to you to choose a service provider in your area from an approved list on the Home Care Packages website. The government then pays the provider a subsidy to arrange the care that suits you.

Look for flexibility

The providers of Home Care Packages might all be following the same regulations set by the government, but they’re a mix of private and not-for-profit organisations and all operate quite differently, says Dana Sawyer, CEO of My CarePath, a private service that provides advice on aged care options.

Sawyer says it’s important to find a provider that is flexible and “will actually deliver true consumer directed care”.

Everyone’s needs are different, says Sawyer. “For example, you might have someone who will need assistance every morning to shower, dress and get ready for the day. But once they’re up and going, they’re pretty good for the day and they can manage on their own. So, they’ll need an hour of service every day.

“Whereas someone else might live with a partner or family member who helps with showering and dressing. But the helper needs a break, so they might need someone to come in for three hours twice a week so they can go out to shops,” she says.

Understanding the financial intricacies of Home Care Packages is also important, says Sawyer. Providers charge different case management and administration fees, which comes out of the government funding allocated to you.

“Often we find people are in a very vulnerable position when they’re looking at aged care services. They may have had a fall or a hospital admission, or suddenly realise they can’t cope at home or even worse, there may be abuse happening within the home,” she says.

The thing to remember, is that there is plenty of help available – both private and government-funded.

Source: Colonial First State

Downsizer contributions: what are the rules?

By visual /May 13,2020/

In the first year since older Australians have been allowed to make downsizer contributions, 4,246 people have contributed a total of $1 billion in downsizer contributions to their super funds (1 July 2018 – 1 July 2019).

This not only allows retired people to have access to more money to fund their retirement, it’s also likely to have freed up new property for sale for first home buyers and young investors.

Although this is good news for people who have benefited from this scheme, some people have reportedly missed out because they didn’t understand the eligibility criteria.

Here’s a summary of the rules around making downsizer contributions:

  • You need to be 65 or over at the time of making the contribution.
  • You or your spouse need to have owned your home for more than 10 years prior to the sale.
  • You don’t need to be working.
  • Both you and your spouse can make a concessional downsizer contribution of $300,000 each if you both lived in the property at some point in time and the proceeds of the sale are exempt or partially exempt from capital gains tax (CGT) under the main residence exemption or because you bought the property before 20 September 1985. If only you lived in the property at some point in time then only you, not your spouse, can make a downsizer contribution (as long as you meet all other conditions).An investment property that you haven’t lived in is not eligible.
  • Houseboats, caravans or mobile homes are not eligible.
  • The total super balance test of $1.6 million and the $100,000 non-concessional contributions cap restrictions don’t apply.
  • You need to make all downsizer contributions within 90 days of receiving the proceeds of sale, usually the date of settlement.
  • You can only downsize once.
  • You don’t need to buy another property to use the scheme.

If you sell your home and put some of the proceeds into super, you need to consider how this will affect your Centrelink benefits. Your super balance is counted towards the means test so you could potentially lose some, or all, of your Centrelink benefit if your super balance goes up.

Source: IOOF

Let’s talk about aged care

By Robert Wright /May 17,2019/

Aged care can be a tough subject for many families to broach, but as we enjoy longer lives, there’s a growing likelihood that at least part of our final years may be spent in aged care.

The decision to move into aged care can come with a raft of emotional issues, in addition to financial considerations. That could be because nursing home accommodation can involve substantial costs, especially for self-funded retirees who need their finances to last the distance.

The cost of an aged care facility

New residents entering aged care may be asked to pay an upfront refundable accommodation deposit. There is no set level for this deposit – the only proviso is that residents must be left with at least $49,500 in assets (excluding the family home) after the deposit has been paid.

The deposit works like an interest-free loan to an aged care home. Any income earned from the deposit is used by the aged care home to improve accommodation and services for residents.

As aged care facilities are generally free to set their accommodation payments up to a certain limit, it’s usually open to negotiation between families and the home’s staff. This can be a source of discomfort as it means revealing your financial worth to complete strangers, however, simply being aware of how the system works can help you plan for it.

How do I pay my accommodation costs?

You can choose to pay for accommodation by:

  • a lump-sum style ‘refundable accommodation deposit’
  • interest-type payments called a ‘daily accommodation payment’, or
  • a combination of both.

The refundable accommodation deposit is generally returned to residents or their estate, if they move out or pass away.

Unfortunately, you will not receive the original sum back if you have arranged to have fees deducted from it.

Accommodation deposits vary widely and in some of our capital cities, amounts can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. This makes it extremely important to consider all the facilities available and consider if a particular aged care home is the right place for you or your loved one.

Unfortunately, high demand for aged care, particularly high level care, often means families who haven’t done their research accept the first place that becomes available, which can see a mad scramble for deposit money.

Basic daily fee

In addition to accommodation costs, a basic daily fee is charged for your day-to-day living costs such as meals, cleaning, laundry, heating and cooling. Everyone entering an aged care home can be asked to pay this fee.

The maximum basic daily fee for new residents is $51.21 per day. This equals 85% of the basic age pension rate and it increases on 20 March and 20 September each year in line with changes to the age pension.

Means-tested care fee

This is an additional contribution towards the cost of care that some people – self-funded retirees in particular – may be required to pay. The Department of Human Services will work out if you are required to pay this fee based on your income and assets.

There are annual and lifetime caps that apply to the means-tested care fee. Once these caps are reached, you cannot be asked to pay any more means-tested care fees.

Funding it all

Meeting the future cost of aged care is just one aspect retirees need to factor into their investment portfolio.

The way your portfolio is structured can impact your age pension entitlements as well as the costs you’ll pay for aged care.

Source: BT