The decision to place someone into an aged care residence can be very traumatic emotionally. On top of this there is a whole new vocabulary to come to terms with as well as navigating your way through the mysteries of Centrelink and choosing and negotiating with facilities.

There can also be time pressure in hospitals as more often than not the new entrant has suffered some form of health event which has made the decision imminent or crucial. This is a complicated transaction and you have multiple parties involved.

Your specialist should be qualified to provide both aged care and financial advice, and their job is to manage the whole process for you;

  • Managing your assessment and the paperwork.
  • Helping with decisions in sometimes complicated family dynamics.
  • Sourcing the right facility and negotiating room costs.

Terminology

You will be dealing with the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), Centrelink and the residences. They will be throwing terms around like “RAD’s”, “DAP’s”, “RAC’s” and “DAC’s”, daily care fees, means tested fees and they’re just the easy ones – the really complicated issues usually arise within the Centrelink benefits especially if any military service is involved.

It is important to get this right on entry as recouping overpayment of fees to facilities due to incorrect data can be a frustrating and drawn out process.

The process

A good consultant will help with family negotiations – families are not always on good terms and a third party helping with decisions can smooth over potentially difficult discussions. Once a residence and timing is agreed upon, your consultant can help with the negotiations on the room costs as well as providing funding alternatives. Property sale is one option but there are others. Finally, there is Centrelink, and as per above the paperwork needs to be right.

Your consultant will provide you with documented strategies and alternatives and manage the communications and documentation between you, Centrelink and the residence.

Surprises

Aged care residences are heavily regulated and fees are fully disclosed in their agreements. It is important that you understand them and the impacts on the estate. Your consultant deals with these agreements every day and can help you ask the right questions.

Advice beyond aged care

Leaving families to deal with conflicts caused by poorly constructed estates only creates wealth for law firms. Your consultant has seen the problems this has caused and will help you avoid them.

Finally, while it sounds self-serving, the benefits of using a specialist far outweighs the costs of mistakes. The impacts on estates can be significant if not implemented properly.

This article can be found in the most recent editions of Australian Over 50’s Living & Lifestyle Guide.