February 15, 2012

Vol 1 Ed 4

Online at http://www.financialcareservices.com.au/newsletters/vol-1-ed-4

Financial Care Services

Newsletter Volume 1 Edition 4
Sent May 2011

Where to live in your senior years

Once living in the family home becomes a daily challenge rather than a joy, the time has come to look for a more appropriate home.  For some seniors, their need of daily assistance determines their new style of accommodation.  Extensive choices await the mature who are still strong physically and mentally.

If you cannot safely get out of bed and along to the dining room without assistance then you would need the ‘high care’ provided by nursing homes.  Staying at home is only possible if you have live in care and full domestic services are provided by your carer and/or family.

If you cannot remember what you ate for lunch or even that you had lunch an hour ago, or you try to put your socks on over your shoes then an aged care hostel would provide you with a secure home.

Aged care hostels and their non subsidised equivalents, provide full board and daily activities plus medication supervision and some help with personal care.  You would expect to have your own bedroom in the hostel but might need to share an ensuite bathroom.

You could wander about within the communal areas of the facility and its courtyard gardens.  Whilst the security system would stop you from exiting the facility totally, only discretion and good manners would keep you out of your neighbours’ bedrooms.

If you tire easily but can move about safely indoors using a walking frame, then you have choices.  You could move into an aged care hostel: a good option if you have emerging health or memory problems.  But if your mind is still sharp and your general health is good then you could consider ‘assisted living’.

You could ‘buy’ a serviced apartment in an assisted living facility and enjoy the privacy of your own space.  You would have main meals in a gracious dining room and the option of participating in activities in the communal lounge area and outings with your peers.  You could contract for any personal care assistance that would help you live with dignity.

You could continue to live in an assisted living facility as long as you are of sound mind and sufficiently mobile to attend the dining room.  Alas, your companion animals could not move into an assisted living facility with you.  Smokers beware: you must not smoke tobacco products in any communal areas or inside your apartment.

If the burden of home maintenance or loneliness is your main problem then consider moving into a ‘lifestyle community’.  Our grandparents called these places ‘retirement villages’.

You could choose an independent living apartment in a suburban ‘lifestyle residence’ or a villa in a village environment.  Some advantages of the villa option are that your current animal companions could move in with you and that you might be allowed to smoke tobacco products inside your home if your access is directly from the great outdoors.

Residents of ‘independent living’ facilities have the security of a call bell to the manager’s office for help in times of illness or injury.  The facility manager attends to building maintenance so you could just
lock your front door and go travelling confident that your home was secure.  When you are staying home you could contract with your preferred provider for personal care, meal preparation and housecleaning.

If you are still keen on gardening and enjoy your companion animals then the final option of moving to a more easily managed independent townhouse could be for you.  You could store your caravan, your boat and your heavy towing SUV in your garage, while you enjoy having your grandchildren to stay, running a small consultancy business from home and training your new puppy.

All housing and service options come with costs attached.  If you live independently then you pay all of the bills as they arrive.  If you need residential aged care then affordable means tested care would be available to you provided that you complete the Centrelink income and asset declarations.

Each assisted living residence and lifestyle community has its own system of ingoing, ongoing and exit fees and charges.  You might be buying freehold title, strata title or just a ‘licence to occupy’ your new home.  The Centrelink treatment of your assets and your new level of Commonwealth funded entitlements could surprise you.

Therefore, you need to consider your potential income position and the actual costs of living in your preferred apartment or villa before you sign the contract.  A consultation with Financial Care Services is an opportunity to explore the options for seniors housing and support services before committing to a new home or service provision.

About Us

Clients of Financial Care Services receive impartial confidential financial advice from an actuary.  Financial Care Services is an independent professional financial advisory service which holds Australian Financial Services Licence number 299570.

Clients are charged flat fees for advice and assistance; no upfront commissions are accepted in respect of clients’ investments.  Home visits and out of hours appointments are available to assist client families.

For more information call Christine on 9808 0338 or visit www.financialcareservices.com.au

Financial Care Services specialises in advising seniors through life’s transitions.

Remember, referring your clients for impartial professional financial advice enhances your profile and reduces the potential for later complaints.

Christine Hopper
Fellow of Institute of Actuaries of Australia
Director and Authorised Representative
Financial Care Services
Telephone 03 9808 0338