A trigger event, such as a fall, can mean placing a loved one into aged care accommodation at short notice. Planning ahead can help ease the stress of such a move.

Without preparation, a move into aged care can cause great emotional strain and navigating the aged care process can be overwhelming. So what can you do for yourself or a loved one to be better prepared?

Here are five tips from senior aged care specialist, Anna Lawton, to help you plan ahead and get ready.

  1. Keep your financial documentation in one place

    Have documents on hand such as bank balances and investment statements, share holdings, house rates notice, pension and super details so that your financial situation can be pieced together quickly and easily.

  2. Make sure your Will is up to date

    As well as keeping your Will current, also don't forget to have an Enduring Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney and Guardianship in place.

    It is so important to have powers of attorney in place before you need them as an Enduring Power of Attorney cannot be established once a person has lost capacity. The great thing about Powers of Attorney is that you can specify when they come into force – either immediately, on a particular date, or when it has been determined that you no longer have capacity to make such decisions.

  3. Have the discussion early with your family

    If the family knows your wishes ahead of time it can ease the emotional strain for what to do if a trigger event occurs.

  4. Reduce the chance of trigger events

    You should assess the hazards in your home. Is the carpet a bit lumpy? It’s a tripping hazard. Shower over a bath? A modest bathroom renovation with a walk in shower could make a big difference. Lights out? Let someone else climb a ladder to change the light bulb!

    You may be able to access benefits to get help at home before you move into aged care, for example through your local council or a home care package.

    Getting help at home can help to mitigate the risk of a trigger event. Benefits might include assistance with transport to appointments, preparing meals, or things like showering or vacuuming. Sometimes it's the little things that can make all the difference.

  5. Attend facility open days. Be informed.

    Have a look at what aged care facilities look like today. They have changed dramatically and for the better. The quality of the accommodation has improved significantly. Find out about the fees and costs, but don’t be alarmed by them. Consider booking respite care ahead of time.

The value of aged care advice

Good financial advice on aged care can help you to navigate the tough decisions and avoid mistakes that may be hard to undo.

Talk to our aged care specialist adviser who can guide you through the complexities of aged care – for both home care and residential aged care services. We can help you determine whether to sell or keep the home, how to pay the accommodation payment, maintain an age pension and what to consider with estate planning complexities.

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