Help to stay at home

Help to stay at home

by Christine Hopper

Help to stay at home

Help to stay at home is fantastic if your spouse is with you and the domestic services are superb. Alas life can be lonely if you have help to stay at home but you are too frail to go out alone.

So when is help to stay at home more appropriate than residential aged care?

Help to stay at home is good if you eat well and drink lots of water.
For life to happen at home, someone needs to ensure that meals are served, eaten and the plates cleared away. Yes, you can have prepared meals delivered to your door. But you must select a meal, heat it, eat it and wash the cutlery even if you throw out the food containers.
Help to stay at home is fine if you remind yourself to eat a balanced diet and drink lots of water. Eating alone can be tedious and drinking water is boring. In contrast, dehydration can get you a few days attached to a drip in your friendly local public hospital.

Help to stay at home is good if the house gets cleaned and fresh towels and bed linen appear when needed.

To live in your own home requires the services of a diligent and competent cleaner and laundry maid. If you are still mentally good you could manage the daily chores of straightening the bedding and stacking the dishwasher. A little help with the heavy laundry might be available as part of the fortnightly household cleaner’s visits.

Help to stay at home in the form of a weekly visit from a competent cleaner could allow you to stay safely at home.
Your extended family might be happy to help with domestic services such a laundry. Alternatively, if you make your home in an assisted living residence the cleaning and heavy laundry are included in the basic service fee.

Help to stay at home is great if you can get out of bed unaided

Help to stay at home is realistic if you could have breakfast before the personal carer arrives to help with showering and dressing. Personal carers might not be available early every day. If you have had no breakfast then you might be faint and then unable to move about safely; a hungry customer could be challenge to shower and dress.

Help to stay at home is good if you or your family can arrange breakfast and manage a first visit to the bathroom.

Help to stay at home is good if you can get to the bathroom unaided

Help to stay at home is good when you can take yourself to the bathroom whenever you need it. If you can be independent during the day then your help to stay at home could focus on the tasks that you are really slow or unsafe doing.

But if you cannot get to the bathroom in time then maybe you need residential care so that a carer is available as often as required.

If your family realise that you just do not know when you need the bathroom then the kindest help might be to move into residential care. Residential care teams are great at helping with your unspoken personal needs.

A home care care package assist with the help you need to stay at home

You may choose how you want to spend your home care package. You can choose the combination of services that would be most helpful to helping you stay at home.

If you are happy to get yourself up and dressed in the morning then you could choose to have help with showering later in the day and being helped into bed. Your evening medications would be supervised and you could settle calmly.

If you choose personal support and domestic services from the same provider then your carer might mop that spill from the kitchen floor as well as help you shower. A cleaned floor could reduce the chance of a slip and fall; that could be one less opportunity to fracture your hip.

You might be fine within your home and spend your care package on a help with showering and a carer to take you to medical appointments.

If your spouse can do all the domestic work, then the care package could be spent on bathing and dressing a senior with limited mobility. The spouse of a demented guy might spend part of his package on day activity and exercise programs; the spouse could manage domestic services and medication.

Paying for help to stay at home with a home care package

The Commonwealth aged care at home has a set fee scale. All aged care at home clients could be asked to pay a basic fee, currently $10.10 per day. An additional income tested fee applies to home care recipients who have more income than a full Age Pension could have.

Anyone can purchase personal assistance or domestic services as help to stay at home. The same teams who are contracted to provide ‘home care packages’ could sell you additional services.

You might ‘buy’ extra hours of support for attendance at medical appointments or to enable participation in cultural events. Some families could choose to purchase additional carer hours to help with both the morning bathing and dressing, and with the bedtime routine.

Help to stay at home could be costly

The help that you need to stay at home safely could be costly. The Commonwealth home care package is unlikely to cover more than one carer visit per day. Additional hours of personal support could be around forty dollars per hour during a normal business day. Higher prices would be expected for weekend, public holiday and evening or overnight attendances.

Remember that the professional carer needs to travel to her client’s home, be greeted by the care recipient or a family member, and then provide the required care support.Thus the fee for just twenty minutes of hands on care

Your care package might not cover the cost of all of the help that you need to stay at home safely and confidently.

Lifestyle living when help to stay at home leaves you lonely

A single person living alone in her own home might still be lonely after her carer has fixed things for her.

Assisted living in a lifestyle community could provide both the domestic services and the companionship a senior needs.
The weekly clean of her apartment including fresh towels and the bed made up with clean sheets would be covered by the service fee. Also included in the service fee would be nutritious main meals in a dining room plus breakfast ingredients supplied to her apartment.

Assisted lifestyle living communities provide social contact together with the security of a staff member always on call for medical emergencies.

Hairdressing, recreational activities, church services, gym, seniors exercise class on-site reduce the need for outings alone. A local doctor usually visits weekly for ongoing care. Assisted lifestyle community residents might only need to leave home for shopping trips and theatre excursions with all travel on the village’s own minibus.

Help with showering and dressing can be arranged via a ‘home care package’ brought to you at your assisted living apartment. The only requirement for assisted living is that your mind and body are good enough to care for yourself.

Residential aged care when help to stay at home is insufficient

Residential aged care might be the best option when personal care assistance is needed more than once each day. If you cannot take yourself to the bathroom then personal support could be provided more graciously and cost effectively within a residential facility. Your family could then make social visits.

You need to consider the costs carefully before you enter residential aged care.  The system of fees, charges and accommodation costs is complex.  You cannot simply change the Accommodation and Additional Service costs once you have signed the Resident Agreement.  Call Christine at Financial Care Services on 03-9808-0338 to arrange a consultation before you select an aged care place.  Email Christine now for the Financial Care Services Aged Care Checklist and Financial Services Guide.

Can we afford the preferred level of help to stay at home

Each family has different needs for help to stay at home.

A self-funded retiree couple might have a substantial income that could cover the costs of extensive in home help so that they could stay at home together. They would only consider residential aged care when one or both are unable to walk to the bathroom in good time.

Another couple might have only the Age Pension and be reliant on family for additional supports. Their budget might be stretched already so that in home care must limited to what the home care package can cover. Residential aged care might be a better financial option when their care needs increase substantially.

Between these scenarios, each family considers the level of help required and their capacity to pay. You can choose how much additional care will be purchased after allowing for the costs of the package of help to stay at home.

Calculating the fees for help to stay at home

The standard fees for a help to stay at home package includes a flat fee plus an income tested fee. The income tested care fee calculation is complex. The amount of the income tested care fee is based on your income calculated according to a special formula. But then caps are applied to the amount of care fees that are actually payable.

Additional services can be purchased from your home care provider or from another provider. You need to pay the full cost of any additional services.

The family considers how to help their seniors stay at home safely and confidently without spending the inheritance.  A lonely but well serviced senior might be an unhappy senior who worries about running out of money.

Financial Care Services an independent financial advisor

Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services understands the DVA Pensions and Centrelink assessment of the means tested amount for both home care and residential aged care.

A consultation with Financial Care Services helps you understand your potential aged care costs together with the DVA and Centrelink implications of rearranging your assets.

A family consultation meetings can explore the options for staying at home with more help or moving into assisted living or directly on to full residential aged care.

Financial Care Services welcomes clients from Melbourne and beyond for confidential personal financial advice..

Call Christine on 03 9808 0338 to make an appointment for a consultation. Please email your enquiry to receive a Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide and Aged Care Data Checklist.

Assistance with completing the Commonwealth aged care means testing forms is available to clients of Financial Care Services.

Financial Care Services is licensed to offer investment strategy advice and to assist you to invest. Financial Care Services does not base fees on the value of your assets nor do we accept any commissions or payments from other service providers.

Arrange an appointment for further confidential, independent and professional advice about DVA, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper 03 9808 0338.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is of a general nature only and does not constitute “financial advice”. You should obtain your own personal financial advice before investing any money or moving in to any retirement village, lifestyle community or aged care facility. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide financial advice to individual clients based on their personal situations. © 2017 Financial Care Services Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.