It’s never too early or too late to start planning for aged care, or talking about it, and it’s nothing to feel anxious about. It doesn’t have to mean you’re ready for aged care, or that you can’t live an independent and active life. It’s simply about planning for your future.
A great time to start thinking about aged care is when you’re planning for your retirement. This is an excellent time to find out what your future options are, chat with your financial adviser about your circumstances and the cost of aged care, and your Doctor about your health and care goals. It’s also a great time to chat with your family and friends about your wishes.
Rather than waiting until problems arise, which may be a highly emotional time or lead to confusion and difficulty understanding your options, let’s start that conversation today, and put you in control of your future.
Besides looking at your ongoing lifestyle and care options, there are a few other things that we recommend you take care of as soon as possible, so that you don’t have any niggling worries or concerns, and can get on with the job of enjoying your retirement.
Consider the financial implications
AContact us to discuss the basic costs involved with Home & Community Care, Respite and Residential Care, and your Independent Living options. You might also like to get some financial advice from a reputable aged care financial advisor or your own accountant.
Have a current Will in place
Most people should have a will. Your Will can distribute your property, name an executor, forgive debts and more. Having a Will also means that you, rather than the state’s laws, decide who gets your property when you die. In most cases, Wills are typewritten legal documents, and there are also free Will kits available. You might like to seek legal advice about making your Will to ensure that it has been correctly drafted and witnessed, and is valid.
If you have superannuation or life insurance, you can list these in your Will, but it’s also a good idea to make a Binding Nomination with your fund or insurer to ensure your wishes are carried out.
Advance Health Care Directive
Advance care planning is a routine part of any person's health care, and promotes care that is consistent with your goals, values, beliefs and preferences. It helps prepare you and others to plan for your future health care, for a time when you may no longer be able to communicate those decisions yourself. Advance Care Planning covers such things as whether you want to receive artificial nutrition or hydration, whether you want to be resuscitated, or whether you want to receive pain relief or other medications as part of any treatment you may have.
If you have particular religious beliefs that may impact on your health care decisions, you can also record these in your Advance Health Care Directive.
The more guidance you provide on your preferences, the more likely your family and health care providers will make decisions that respect your wishes. An Advance Health Care Directive only comes into effect if you become unable to make your own decisions, but to be valid it needs to be made while you have capacity.
Enduring Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is as important for life-planning as making a Will. You can appoint someone you know and trust with the power to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. Your Attorney can act for you in a variety of circumstances such as an extended trip, or for a time when you are no longer able to manage your own affairs.
Keep your important documents safe
To make sure the person managing your estate can easily locate all of your financial information, set up a file listing all your assets, liabilities, insurance policies and other financial information with all relevant details such as provider names, account and policy numbers, and dates they commenced.
Here is a list of key documents to keep:
• Birth, Marriage and Divorce certificates
• Your Will
• Enduring power of attorney
• Advance Health Care Directive
• Personal insurance policies, medical insurance details and any pre-payments for funeral investments
• House deeds or lease documents
• Home and contents insurance
• Deeds and insurance policies for any other real estate you own
• Bank account details and investment documents (securities, share certificates, bonds)
• Superannuation papers
• Medicare card, Centrelink details and Pensioner Concession card
• Funeral information
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