At Southcare when we talk to people about how they imagined their aged care needs and living arrangements as they got older, many never considered needing much help or living anywhere but their own home.
“I wish I’d known what was available to me before I needed it. I wish I’d known what to ask the hospital social worker.”
Sam, Southcare client
At Southcare we unfortunately see how some seniors end up in stressful or other than ideal situations from a failure to plan for the future. You may wonder how this happens. In our experience there are two common reasons firstly, you may think “it will never happen to me” and secondly you may be worried that if you admit you need help you may lose your independence.
In reality as we age some things become difficult to manage or do safely. The good news is there is a myriad of home care services and products designed specifically to keep you (or a loved one) independent in your own home for as long as possible. Let us share what you need to know.
How to Start Planning Your Aged Care Journey
Being prepared for the “what ifs” can reduce the stress on you and your family if an injury or sickness occurs and ultimately, can help avoid hasty decisions that may not be in-line with how you imagined your later years. Start a simple plan by doing the following;
Where to live?
Deciding where you want to live is probably the biggest and possibly hardest decision to start with so take your time and weigh up all the pro’s and con’s. Make sure you consider how you will maintain a home, your mobility and personal care as you age. Maybe you’ll have to downsize because the house it too large to maintain, move in with family to free up money or perhaps your family do not live close so you’ll go into a village so you have closer access to amenities and social activities. Every person’s situation is unique and you will know what is right for you.
Know your options
Things don’t always go the way we expect so knowing what help is available to assist with varying levels of health and function is important. For most people the goal is to avoid a nursing home for as long as possible, you can read more on the types of services available to support you to remain independent at home here.
Also consider how you will pay for assistance; you may get Government funding, be privately funded or a combination of the two? It is wise to see what you are entitled to and know the process to get assistance, especially as it can often take a long time. You can read an overview on aged care funding and how to start the process here. You can also visit MyAgedCare for more information.
If an accident occurs or you fall sick, the last thing you’ll want to do is research the best provider for your needs. Become familiar with different providers now. Who can provide the services you want, and who appeals to you most for customer service, safety and price?
Value is important, even if you have government funding you’ll want to get the most hours of service possible. You can download a simple comparison worksheet that allows you to compare the services and prices of four aged care providers here.
Share your preferences
Make sure your family, friends or even GP know what your wishes are. Write your plan down and give them all a copy. When everyone is on the same page things are much less stressful and you’ll be in a better place in the end.
Know the signs
You may notice small changes such as it becoming harder to get to the store, the doctor, or other appointments. You are having difficulty keeping up with the daily chores around your home such as house cleaning, changing the bed sheets or maintaining the garden. Maybe you just don’t have as much energy or motivation.
These small changes are often where people do not want to ask for help, however getting a little assistance at this point may help you to avoid an injury and this will extend your independence. Don’t be afraid or feel guilty in asking for a helping hand.
“Choosing the right provider is important, but knowing the right information from the beginning regarding home care packages is essential.”
Lisa, primary carer for her husband
It’s Never too Early
The best laid plans are never made in haste and big decisions, like where to live, should have time for careful consideration. Do your research now so you know what is available to you and how to get it. Don’t be afraid to talk about the future with your family and friends. Sharing your preferences with them will enable decision making that respects your wishes and reduce a lot of stress too. Most importantly ask for help, there are so many services and products available at your fingertips to keep you at home safe and independant. All you have to do is ask.
Start Your Plan
If you would like to attend a free workshop to help you understand the options that are available to support you to live independently in your own home and community complete the form below for more information or call us on 9450 6233.