​Making Decisions For Elder Care

Posted on February 25, 2019.

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Families with parents or relatives who face health problems, difficulty performing their daily tasks, or a loss of cognitive function, have difficult decisions to make when it comes to planning for aged care.

There are many questions for you and your family to tackle head on – at what point am I not capable of living at home on my own? How much does aged care cost? How are my family going to discuss this with me? Will I lose my independence? What level of care will I need?

There’s also the financial issues that need to be managed thoroughly – not just for your children, but your next of kin – who will most likely be your spouse. Without the next of kins’ knowledge, you could be vulnerable if your health takes a turn for the worse.

We’ve broken down the main financial and personal responsibilities that must be considered before a decision is made on how to look after yourself and keep your independence – whether it’s in an aged care facility, home care or flexible care.

Having ‘The Talk’

It all starts with ‘the talk’ about elder care. This is arguably the hardest step to take, but prior planning can make this part easier for all involved.

Usually, your children will be the first to bring this up, but any potential awkwardness can be eased if you’re proactive and make the first move.

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Talk about your future plans and what you would like to do moving forward.

The aim is to remain in control of your future and allow your children to share their thoughts on how to best balance your growing health demands, whilst maintaining your independence and quality of life.

What type of Aged Care is right for me?

The next step is to decide which level of care is required. In Western Australia the two most common options are:

Residential Aged Care: Where the caring takes place in aged care homes, such as Juniper's Hayloft facility. Services include personal care, clinical nursing care, accommodation and support services such as meals, laundry and cleaning.

Home Care: A form of care and support for older people in the comfort of their own home. Juniper offers a range of Home Care options in a personalised and flexible way, including everything from home health care services to home cleaning services in Perth.

Nominating the Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants a person the authority to act on behalf of someone in specific financial, legal and health-related matters.

The nominated person (son or daughter) is known as an agent and the person nominating (you) is known as the principal.

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With a power of attorney in place, your nominated person will be able to take action if you, for example, suffer a medical emergency at your aged care facility. This will allow your son or daughter to manage the day to day finances and make decisions on your health and legal responsibilities if you are unable to do so.

Choosing an Executor

An executor is responsible for making sure a person’s last wishes regarding their property and possessions are carried out.

They’ll make sure that any debts and creditors you have are paid - including any outstanding home care bills - be responsible for valuing, dividing and obtaining authority to administer the estate as stated in your plan.

An estate includes things you own like bank accounts, the home, the car, and any other assets in your name.

An executor is legally required to do their ‘fiduciary duty’, which means fulfilling their duties with honesty, diligence and in good faith.

The Will

A will is one of the most important documents you must have in place as you move into aged care. It can cover things like how your assets will be shared, what trusts you want to be established and even things like how much money you'd like to donate to charities when you are no longer around.

The longer you go without dealing with the will, the more time you might spend potentially worrying about it, and the less time spent enjoying life.

Ensure you have a clear and up to-date will in place well in advance of any health issues that might impact your or your loved one's ability to create a will, such as a stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Juniper is a leading provider of care, accommodation and support services for older Western Australians. To find out more head to https://www.juniper.org.au to read more about our aged care and home care facilities or call 1300 313 000.

*This blog is general in nature and doesn’t constitute legal or financial advice.