4 tips to start the conversation about aged care 

Bringing up the topic of residential aged care with your elderly parents can be one we’d rather avoid. It’s natural to want your aging parents to continue living in their own home for as long as possible. But, if you’ve noticed a change in their mobility lately, or that they’re starting to find everyday tasks a bit more challenging, a move into an aged care community might be a safer option for them. 

So, what’s the best way to raise the subject? Here are four tips to help you start a positive conversation about aged care: 

 
1. Do some research first. 

Before you raise the topic, find out about residential aged care communities in their local area. Contact them to take a tour and compile a list of what you liked or disliked about each one.  

 
2. Pick the best moment and location. 

Choose a time when you won’t be interrupted and when your loved one seems receptive and calm. The setting is also important – choose somewhere private and on neutral ground so they don’t feel ambushed. Consider options such as a scenic car drive or a quiet park bench with a view. 

 
3. Choose your language carefully. 

Rather than leading with an emotional statement like, ‘I don’t think it’s safe for you to live at home anymore’, try something that conveys you’re in this together. A softer question, such as ‘If you’re starting to find daily tasks a bit harder, what other options could we investigate?’ might be better received. Ask them how they feel about their future, listen without interrupting and keep looking at things from their perspective. 

4. Be prepared for an emotional response or a shut down. 

Your elderly parent might feel scared or even shocked at the prospect of leaving their own home. They might resist talking about it altogether, or respond with negativity. Remind them how much you want them to live their best life possible, and that talking through options together is a way of forward planning to keep them safe and healthy. If you feel the conversation isn’t going well, consider trying again another time, or even engaging help from their GP or health practitioner. 

If you’re ready to start looking at aged care options for your parent, contact our friendly Admissions Team.

Understanding the costs of residential aged care

Our community is designed to support seniors who reach a stage when they can no longer live independently at home. For some, this may happen gradually over time, while for others it may happen suddenly due to an accident or illness.   

  

In this article we explain the two areas of aged care costs: the cost to enter aged care (called a ‘refundable accommodation payment’ or RAD) and the on-going daily fees.   

  

Before you read on there are 4 things you should know:   

  

  1. Our Admissions Team is here to help and support you through this journey. We understand it can be stressful. Please call us with any questions.  
     
  1. Our community operates under the Aged Care Act which regulates the costs of living in residential aged care. Our cost structure is simple, transparent, and consistent with the fees and charges of all other aged care communities in Australia.  
     
  1. The Government provides assistance to aged care residents who cannot afford to pay for their own care. The exact amount of support your loved one may be eligible for will be based on their income and assets as determined by Services Australia.  
     
  1. Residential aged care has no hidden costs or exit fees when a resident leaves. Apart from the costs outlined on the following page, residents are only required to pay for their personal items and expenses such as medication, medical and allied health appointments, clothing, personal care items and hairdressing.  

 
Cost 1: Accommodation payment 

Residents contribute towards their accommodation and daily care through a schedule of accommodation and care payments outlined below. A resident’s aged care suite is secured through an accommodation payment that is fully refundable and Government guaranteed.  

There are 4 payment options you can choose from:  

Option 1:  Fully refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) 

This is a once-off lump sum payment that is refunded in full when the resident leaves. There are no exit fees deducted from this deposit.  

Option 2: Daily accommodation payment (DAP)  

You can choose not to pay an upfront RAD and pay an interest charge each month instead. This fee is calculated daily based on the amount of the unpaid RAD. The interest rate used to calculate a Daily Accommodation Payment is called the Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (MPIR). This is set by the Government and reviewed quarterly. These payments are not refundable.  

Option 3:  A combination of RAD and DAP  

Residents can choose to pay a combination of a part RAD and part DAP, for example, a deposit (RAD) and a daily payment (DAP) on the unpaid amount. Only the RAD lump sum deposit is refundable when the resident leaves. 

Option 4: Government supplement  

The Government may provide assistance to cover the cost of your accommodation payment based on an income and assets assessment that will determine if you qualify for full Government support, or will be required to contribute towards your accommodation in one of 3 options: 

  • A refundable accommodation contribution (similar to a RAD but capped at the lump sum equivalent of Government supplement rates) 
  • A daily accommodation contribution (similar to a DAP but capped at Government supplement rates) 
  • A combination of a RAC and DAC of your choosing 

Cost 2: Set Daily Care Fees  

A basic daily care fee  

This fee is paid by all residents to cover living expenses such as meals, laundry, personal and nursing care and electricity. This fee is set by the Government and is standard in every Australian aged care facility. It is currently set at 85% of the pension and is adjusted each March and September in line with changes to the Age Pension.   

A means-tested daily care fee (MTCF) 

This is an additional contribution towards the cost of a resident’s daily care. The amount of this fee is determined by a resident’s income and assets assessment.  It is reviewed quarterly and may vary over time if a resident’s income, assets or cost of care change. There are annual and lifetime caps that apply to the MTCF.  

To estimate the amount your loved one may be asked to pay towards their care, visit www.myagedcare.gov.au, use their ‘fee estimator’ and complete the form. Some families also seek advice from a Financial Planner. 

For more information, download our Aged Care Guide 

5 steps to placing your loved one in aged care

Residential aged care is designed to support seniors who reach a stage when they can no longer live independently at home. For some, this may happen gradually over time, while for others it may happen suddenly due to an accident or illness. Often, the best way to receive consistent support is to live in a residential aged care community.  

If you think it might be time to consider aged care for your loved one, we’re here to support you.  

It’s helpful to gain an understanding of how entry into aged care works, what support will be provided to your loved one, and how much it will cost. Here are the 5 steps to get started. You can also find other helpful resources on our website. 

Step 1: Get an Aged Care Assessment 

To find out if your loved one is eligible for permanent or respite aged care, arrange an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). You can book an appointment through My Aged Care (visit www.myagedcare.gov.au or call 1800 200 422). Hospitals and doctors can also provide a referral. 

Step 2: Understanding the costs 

Read our simple guide to aged care fees in our Aged Care Guide. To estimate the amount your loved one may be asked to pay towards their care, visit www.myagedcare.gov.au, search for ‘Fee Estimator’ and complete the form. You can also seek advice from a Financial Planner. 

Step 3: Take a tour 

Prepare a shortlist of suitable aged care communities and tour them to compare.  

Step 4: Apply to your preferred aged care community 

Arrange a meeting with a Care Leader at your preferred community. To apply for a residential aged care position, you’ll need to bring documents including a current ACAT, an income and assets form, and Power of Attorney instructions. Our Admissions Team can help you with the application process. 

Step 5: Complete a Resident Agreement 

Once your loved one has been offered a place in a community and wishes to accept it, a Resident Agreement will need to be signed before they move in. 

If you have a question or need assistance with any of these steps, contact our Admissions Team.