Implications For the Family When One Person Moves Into Aged Care
It can be a really challenging time when you or your partner have to move into an aged care home. Usually health concerns have lead to this. Combine this with the additional emotional stress and life becomes tough. There could also be financial stress on top of that.
Emotional Challenges When a Spouse Moves Into Aged Care
As older couples go through health issues at different rates, often one person needs aged care before the other. You’ve possibly lived together for a very long time, and the thought of separation’s difficult.
Keep in mind that there are villages that provide a variety of services including assisted living, retirement living and residential aged care. So it’s possible that you could at least live in the same village, which could make it much easier to still spend frequent time together.
If it turns out that your partner moves into care without you, you can try to arrange accommodation for them at an aged care home that’s close by. If nothing is free at the time, you can always put their name down on a waiting list and they could have the option of moving facilities when a room becomes available.
Emotionally, you may struggle at the thought of living alone. Your spouse will probably also struggle with living apart from you. Considering that you’ve likely been the carer of your spouse for some time, keep in mind that they’re in an aged care home now because that’s what they currently need. You haven’t failed them at all, and it will take time to adjust to the new way of life that’s presented to you.
Often your children become involved in the process when the time comes for your spouse to move into aged care. They’re often a fantastic support for you and will ease the burden of the transition. They’ll be a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand, as well as good company.
But others won’t have family to support them during this process which might add to the emotional strain. If you’re struggling with the change and you feel alone, there’s alternative support available. Firstly, visit with your G.P. as they can help to guide you to getting the support that you need. If you need immediate support, you can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Financial Implications When a Spouse Moves Into Aged Care
When you move into an aged care home, you’ll need to complete an income and assets test to determine the government’s financial assistance towards your care. If you don’t complete the assessment, you’ll pay the full cost of accommodation and care up to the amount of the annual lifetime cap. The accommodation payment can be paid as either a refundable accommodation deposit (RAD) or a daily accommodation payment (DAP).
While it’s a possibility to sell the family home when your circumstances change, you won’t necessarily need to. You see, the family home isn’t counted as an asset in the assessment if your spouse continues to live in it. But if you sell the family home and put the money in the bank, this money’s counted as a financial investment, and consequently an asset.
However, if you do need to sell the family home when a partner moves into care, contact Centrelink first to see how this will impact on your government payments and subsidies.
Being able to afford accommodation payments is a major concern for many people moving into residential aged care. One option’s to sell your family home to pay the costs upfront (RAD). But you could also elect to pay your accommodation daily, instead of a lump sum. You could possibly rent out your former home and use the income from that to pay for your DAP. Other people may choose to do a reverse mortgage or an aged care loan to pay the RAD or DAP. Some loans allow you to make no repayments until your home sells or you pass away.
Changing Your Financial Circumstances
When your circumstances change, always let Centrelink know about it. Recalling the scenario of a client from a few years ago, she forgot to inform Centrelink that she’d purchased a new home after she sold her former home. When she entered into a home care package, the income-tested care fee was much higher than she’d expected. She couldn’t afford to pay it. The only way that she could reduce the fee was to show proof that this money went towards the purchase of a new home immediately after the sale of the previous home. She moved to be closer to family as she got older. And that’s why it’s so important to update your financial circumstances with Centrelink when there’s any changes affecting your income and assets. You can call them on 132 300.
Finally, selling the family home to move into aged care is a very complex topic. It’s always advisable to seek financial advice from a qualified financial adviser before you make any big decisions.