Moving into an aged care residence, or making the arrangements for a parent, can be stressful. It is a confusing time with medical issues and other factors often influencing the decision, but it doesn’t have to be this way. To help you make the best decision, here are seven steps for moving into an aged care residence.
1. Talk about it with Family and Plan
When it comes to making any big life decision, it is important to have open and honest communication with your family. Talk about what your plans are, making sure everyone is on the same page. Moving into an aged care residence involves a substantial financial obligation as well as loads of paperwork to be signed. Having help from your family can help you discuss your options, make the right decision for your specific case, and make it an easy transition.
2. Work out your Eligibility
Not everybody receives government assistance for residential aged care. To find out if you are eligible, you can request a free assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). These professionals will carefully examine your current situation, and determine the most appropriate care option. They will also inform you whether you are eligible to enter residential aged care, or if an in-home care package that helps you remain at home is the right option for you.
3. Find the Right Fit – Look, Talk, and Test Different Places
No two people are the same. Where one aged care residence is a perfect fit for one person, it might not be for another. The best way to determine the best place for you is by looking at your options, talking to residents and operators, and visiting them. Open days are a great opportunity to test out a residence. Do your research and find out when they are held, and go to as many as possible. Make a list of questions you want to ask, and remember to bring home pamphlets filled with information you may have missed or already forgotten. Respite care is another great way to do a ‘trial-run’ of an aged care residence. Staying for a few days will get you accustomed to the routine, and you can start to make friends with the staff and other residents.
4. Work out the Costs and your Funding
The Australian Government have established subsidies to aged care residences to help cover costs, though those who can afford it are expected to contribute as well. As with any major financial decision, speaking with a financial planner is encouraged, as it can not only save you money but lower the stress of the move. Residents in aged care are generally asked to contribute to a daily care fee, extra service fees and accommodation costs if assets are above a threshold level.
Once you have limited your choices down to a handful, you can begin the application process. Places are offered as they become available, so it is suggested you apply to a few at once so you are not left waiting for months at a time. You will need to complete an admission form and provide a copy of your current aged care assessment. If you are applying for a supported place, you’ll also need to provide a completed Centrelink/DVA Asset Assessment Form. Residences will be in contact when a position is available, and move-in is expected within just a few days.
6. Get Ready and Decide what to Take
Anytime you move house involves a lot of packing and moving. Space will be limited, so carefully go through all of your possessions and separate them into piles of ‘to keep’, ‘to gift’, or ‘to throw away’. Each aged care residence will have different guidelines as to the sort of things you should take, but always choose things which will keep you connected to your current life. Just because you are moving does not mean you are giving up the friends, relatives, interests and activities you already have. It is also a great idea to have a pre-moving meeting with the staff of the aged care residence. Take members of your family along so both they and you can clarify any last-minute questions and you know what will be happening in the early days of your move. A meeting like this is very normal and it is also an opportunity for the staff at the aged care residence to get to know you, your background, your medical needs and your likes and dislikes.
7. Move-In and Enjoy
All that is left is to move into your new residence and enjoy the new surroundings and the new friends you will make.