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Financial Fears: Adelaide Seniors Losing Accommodation

As a home owner, you have options to sell the home, borrow money against it, or rent it out to pay for your residential aged care fees.  But what if you are a retiree who doesn’t own your own home and needs to have a part-time job just to be able to afford rent? This is far from ideal, but the number of seniors in Adelaide & Australia facing this financial fear of losing accommodation continues to increase.

Since there is little or no legal protection at all for elderly tenants who are living in boarding and lodging accommodation, seniors who rent are afraid of being homeless and getting evicted anytime their landlord wish to. In fact, according to a recent research, bullying of senior tenants is prevalent nowadays. Landlords and management feel entitled to be above their tenants and thus, seniors are frequently afraid to voice out their concerns or ask for repairs. Doing so will make them at risk of getting evicted or receiving rent increase.

This is a national concern since the number of seniors living in rental accommodation is growing. Aside from not being given proper aged care, these seniors are living in fear of not having a shelter in case they run out of funds and can’t work anymore. A research facilitated by the University of Western Australia’s Law School strongly suggests that state laws governing family accommodation should be amended as soon as possible. The research also gave recommendations to increase awareness and educate older people about their choices on accommodation.

The fear of not being able to pay rent is not the only problem arising when seniors or the aged are staying in a rental accommodation. They also fear that they can be evicted at any time because of lack of rules that protect them. Thus, a way of securing tenure should also be adapted in upcoming laws.

Consider this scenario: A senior couple, who are renting accommodation have to work part-time to supplement their age pension to be able to afford the rent. Aged 72 and 76 respectively, the couple is in a position where they should be enjoying their retirement and not worrying about their rent. They could have had an affordable housing supplied by the government, but they have been told that they are not earning enough to qualify. They sought another option through state housing, but they were also declined because they are apparently earning ‘too much.’ This has left the couple with very limited options and thus, they succumb to renting accommodation – even in extreme old age.

This is not new. There are many Australians who are in the same situation as this couple.  And with the rise of baby boomers ready to retire soon, we should be prepared to create a community wherein seniors have the chance to have a dignified and secure retirement.

This is also why, no matter what age you are, you need to start preparing for your future years now. It is never too early to plan your finances and get advice regarding your financial options. If you want to a comfortable retirement, you need help to get it right. For expert aged care advice & retirement planning in Adelaide, you can call us at 1 300 422 232.

Regards, Carmela

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To Sell or Not? Aged Care Fees & The Family Home

When it’s time to move into aged care facility, older Adelaide residents face a difficult decision—to sell or not to sell the family home.

Selling the family home has in the past been the obvious choice for many; the proceeds of the sale being used to pay for aged care entry fees. Although it remains a popular option for many Adelaide families, the new aged care reforms are changing the game. Suddenly, it’s not just about being able to pay the accommodation bond anymore.  Under the new set of reforms, you must pay the Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) or Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) upon entry to a residential aged care, plus the Basic Daily Fee and often the Means Tested Care Fee once you are receiving care.

To sell the family home and use the proceeds to pay the nursing home fees might still be the best choice. However, if your house  is valued a lot higher than the cost of the bond, it may be better to keep the home. The truth is there is no one rule of thumb to guide everyone in making the decision. Every one has different circumstances, source of income, assets, and value of home. Not to mention that different nursing homes charge different ‘RAD’ or ‘DAP’ entry fees. It is such a complex decision that financial advice from a specialist aged care financial planner local to Adelaide is usually a wise investment.

Aside from the accommodation bond (now called ‘RAD’ or ‘DAP’), you also need to consider funding for the Basic Daily Fee, which is valued at $46.50 as of July 2014. This pays for your basic daily living expenses. The Means Tested Care Fee is a further charge that is means tested against your assets and income. In addition to this, there may also be an Additional Service Fee, which nursing homes can charge for extra services and luxuries you choose while you are in an aged care facility.

As this article illustrates, the Means Tested Care Fee can actually work in your favour and give you good financial reasons for holding on to family home. The Means Tested Care Fee considers any upfront payment as an asset, while it only includes the first $154,179 of the value of your home.

If you decide to keep your home, you must also consider if it can be rented out easily or it needs extensive work or renovations. This is important because depending on the way your aged care costs have been negotiated, you might need to rely to rental income for the cash flow required to cover aged care fees. If you think the value of your home will increase significantly in the years to come, renting it out can be a more viable option for you than completely letting go of the house through sale.

Whether you decide to keep or sell the home, it’s also usually a good idea to consult your family members. Although it may make financial sense to sell, emotions can often come in to play and family may not be comfortable renting it out to strangers or disposing of the property in a sale. Sit down together and discuss your options. If your spouse or carer still stays at home the decision might be more complex still, so don’t be afraid to seek professional aged care advice to weigh all the options.An aged care financial adviser can often answer your questions and explain the implications of your decision. If you decide to keep the Adelaide home, your financial planner can help you make a plan and formulate strategies to fund your aged care fees.

It is often a highly emotional time whenever a family member is making a transition to a nursing home.  But with proper planning and preparation, you can have a stress-free journey to aged care. If you want a guide for your journey to aged care and avoid costly mistakes, call us today at 1 300 422 232. 

Regards, Carmela

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Robots In Nursing Homes: Coming To Adelaide Aged Care?

In this day and age, the possibility of employing robots is not far from reality, especially with Australia’s growing ageing population. In Japan, several robots like Toyota Human Support Robot and HAL body suit are already available and expected to increase production to assist in rapidly ageing Japan. Cyberdane’s Hybrid Assistive Limb or HAL is an exoskeleton-type robot suit that when worn, can increase someone’s ability up to ten times.

In an interview with Australian Ageing Agenda, Professor Wendy Moyle, director of the Centre for Health Practice Innovation at Griffith University, “For me, one of the most important or key things is about having the right robot for the right purpose.” This is true because there are many types of robots that can assist older people. For example, there are robots built to carry them, serve them food, or do laundry. Some are social robots that offer company for lonely aged individuals.  Although Prof Moyle support robots in aged care, she said that no social robot could still replace human activity and companionship.

Unlike Japan who are very vocal in their efforts and beliefs that in the future robots can work instead of human beings,  there has been lots of resistance and fear of robots taking over in aged care in Australia to date. Experts believe that Australians will be more open now in the use of robots. Prof Moyle explains, “I think the people that think we shouldn’t have robot need to actually, I guess open up, and think they are around. They actually are here. They are here in everybody’s homes, whether they like it or not. So they’re in their cars or they are in their television or vacuum cleaners, etc.”

Hitoshi Fukomoto, executive director of Kinoshita Care, believes that robots could deliver a higher standard of care than poorly skilled care workers. In a Sydney forum, Mr. Fukomoto said that, “While robots cannot exceed the best quality care workers, they are a lot more efficient and deliver better care than the workers with no or poor skills.” In 2012, Kinoshita Care started to use social robots in its 142 facilities. Recently, they purchased 40 robot power suits that enable care workers to carry and lift bed-ridden residents.

The fear of robots taking over in aged care industry is not necessarily true. For example, the HAL body suit still employs humans and just improves their skills. It can also help those who have problems walking or have a hard time moving around. Essentially, as long as they’re cost-effective and can provide better care, everyone can highly benefit from the use of robots.

It seems only a matter of time until robots become commonplace in nursing homes, and when it happens it will change the experience of ageing forever.  Do you think the Adelaide aged care industry and their residents will welcome robots into our daily lives?

Regards, Ben

rising aged care costs 2014

Living Longer, NOT Living Better: Aged Care Act Hits Adelaide

Last 1 July, 2014, the Living Better, Living Longer reforms became law. This has brought extensive changes to the aged care system in Adelaide and South Australia, and potentially has a huge impact on the finances of aged care residents and their families.

While the objective of these changes is to have a sustainable and more efficient aged care system in the long term, many Adelaide people fear that this will make accommodation costs rise. If that were the case, people will be living longer, but not living better. On the other hand, this new legislation addresses key challenges that the South Australian aged care system is facing now:

 

  1. Rapid increase in ageing population. In the next 20-30 years, a huge number of baby boomers will retire and many  will need proper aged care services. This will be a major shock for the national aged care system since every year, 200,000 of these baby boomers are expected to crowd the nursing homes.
  2. Living longer. Aside from the increasing number of ageing population, people have increased longevity too. This means that seniors will stay longer in aged care facilities and will need more care.
  3. Limited aged care facility. With demand expected to rise, accommodation supply will get tighter. The limited number of aged care beds available may not be enough for the growing number of people needing aged care.
  4. Many will prefer home care. During this shift going on in the aged care system, many baby boomers are expected to demand home care for as long as they possibly can.
  5. A decline in tax revenues. Since government expenditure on aged care is already significant, an increase in population needing aged care will put a strain on already tight government funding. In addition, as the working population reduces, less people will contribute to government tax revenue.

If you or your family member need aged care in the coming months, the team at Adelaide Aged Care Financial Advisers have developed a list of how this new law might affect you:

  • There is now an annual cap of $25,000 and a lifetime cap of $60,000 to means-tested care fee.
  • The low care, high care, and extra services are now abolished. There is only one level of aged care service today.
  • Residents are expected to pay more in most cases now that there is an increased means-testing. There is now what we call Means Tested Care Fee, which is payable based on the income and assets of the resident. This fee shall only cover expenses and care, and not accommodation.
  • Entry-fees as a lump sump are now payable for all residential aged care. This is called Refundable Accommodation Deposit or RAD. This is the accommodation bond you pay the facility upon entry and refundable after you leave the nursing home. You can also pay it in the form of Daily Accommodation Payment or DAP.
  • Each resident should pay a Basic Daily Fee of $46.50 at present.

Although these fees can be complex and confusing, a good aged care financial adviser can help you in planning your finances. Adelaide Aged Care Financial Advisers specialise in aged care and can help you make the most of your finances to successfully fund your aged care fees. Call us today for a FREE initial consultation on 1300 422 232.

Regards, Ben

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Getting To Know ‘Aged Care Assessment Teams’ SA (ACAT)

Most families go through a confusing time whenever a loved one needs an entry to residential aged care. The good news is, your local Aged Case Assessment Teams in SA will help you get started on your journey to aged care. The first thing you need to do when you are considering moving to a residential aged care facility is to visit your local Aged Care Assessment Team or ‘ACAT’ as they are known.

The Aged Care Assessment Teams in SA or Adelaide are usually located near hospitals and assessment is done by a doctor, nurse, or a social worker. They are the ones who will determine if you are eligible for aged care. Though they might suggest several aged care facilities in your area that are suitable for you, your family is still the one responsible for arranging your entry to your chosen residential aged care facility.

Search for your local SA ACAT here.

Whether you think that staying in a nursing home is for you or not, it is important that you still consult with ACAT because they can help you assess what kind of Home Care packages you might need. Several types of services are offered in Home Care packages, including, but not limited to:

  • Personal services – help in daily personal routines such as bathing, dressing, and mobility
  • Support services – general help with basic house maintenance such as cleaning, washing and ironing, or transport for doing groceries and visiting your doctor
  • Clinical care – involves nursing and health care support like physiotherapy

Trigger events that require immediate attention of ACAT

While you need an ACAT assessment when you want to access aged care services or receive certain home services, there are some trigger events that require immediate attention of your local ACAT. Get in touch with them as soon as possible if any of these events happen:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • A fall at home
  • Early signs of dementia
  • Recovering from surgery

In events like these, ACAT might recommend care alternatives like respite care, low level residential aged care, or high level residential aged care.

As soon as ACAT assesses and recommends you need aged care in any form, it is important that you seek financial advice right away. Adelaide Aged Care Financial Advisers is here to help you plan your finances and avoid common mistakes you could make on your aged care journey.

Regards, Jonathan

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Adelaide Residents Get Local Aged Care Financial Planning Help

After a intense period of preparation, we’re excited today to announce an important new service to Adelaide residents. With the launch of Adelaide Aged Care Financial Advisers (AACFA) Adelaide residents finally get the local aged care financial planning help they need.

AACFA is a subsidiary of one of Adelaide’s most respected financial planning firms, HSW Financial Advisers. Aged care and aged care financial advice hold a special place in the heart of HSW Financial Advisers. As a local financial advice practice of 25 years experience, we’ve helped many families get through the difficult times when a loved one enters residential aged care.

Finding a suitable nursing home for your mother, father or relative  is a challenging task in itself. But when you do finally find something you like, you’re often then presented with pages and pages of forms, paperwork and a request to pay $300,000 (or more) in Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD).

It is a confronting time for family, and often  a confusing time too. Aged care providers are not licensed to give financial advice, and so are limited in the assistance they can give. Most of the time, you are not presented with financial options and since you only want the best for your loved one, you may be forced to sell the family home to pay for aged care entry costs such as Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD), when there may be better alternatives.

With the recent changes in aged care law, more than ever before Adelaide residents need aged care financial planning.  Although there are many financial planners out there, an aged care financial adviser is needed to address specific aged care needs, costs, and fees. Entry into aged care is a complex process and managing the finances and payment of fees for the best possible outcome takes considerable skill. Having a financial planner that is aware of any ongoing aged care legislation changes, means they can ask you the right questions, and ultimately save you money.

Here are a few of the main reasons why Adelaide nursing home residents may need specialist financial planning. Aged care financial advisers offer the following benefits:

  • understand the emotional challenges residents have to go through
  • know the possible impact on tax and pension benefits of every decision
  • understand the ongoing aged care legislation
  • know how to minimise the Means-Tested Care Fee
  • can explore different ways to fund the RAD
  • have the necessary skill to negotiate on your behalf for savings on nursing home costs

Adelaide Aged Care Financial Advisers are now ready to offer the advice local families need. Our team specialise in personalised aged care financial planning and our financial advice is exclusively tailored to reach your unique financial objectives and goals.

Whether it is for you or for your loved one, Adelaide Aged Care Financial Advisers is here to assist you in your aged care journey.

Give us a call today on 1300 422 232 and schedule an initial consultation—absolutely free!

Regards, Eve