Three ways a financial adviser can help you navigate aged care

Published on: May 27th, 2021

Whether you are planning ahead for yourself or exploring options for a loved one, navigating Australia’s aged care system can be a minefield. Many are understandably feeling even more trepidation about the decision in the wake of the recent Royal Commission.

At the end of the day, whether it is for a spouse, parent, or other loved one,  we all want the highest quality of care that we can afford, and that comes down to one thing, money.  At a time when emotions are likely to be heightened, it can be hard to think practically and plan finances, but it is a critical first step in making sure you access the best possible care for your loved one.

It may seem like this is something you can work out yourself, but it can be incredibly difficult in reality.  Residential facility deposits can be significant, in some cases as much as $800k or more. It’s a considerable upfront cost, and how you access this money today can have longer-term impacts.

Here are three ways a financial adviser can help you navigate aged care.

#1 We can help you through Australia’s aged care maze

Australia has a complex aged care system and it can feel like a maze. You have a range of options from in-home care (public or private-funded) through to aged care facilities that have varying costs, typically determined by your loved one’s assets.

Understanding what you need to do to determine what you can afford and what you are entitled to can be incredibly challenging, even if you are clear-headed. When it comes to aged care decisions, however, the reality is that for most of us, there is an element of emotion involved.

A financial adviser who is experienced in aged care can help you navigate your options and make sure you are making the most of any entitlements.

#2 We can help you navigate family dynamics  

I work with many families to explore their aged care finance options, and one thing I see regularly is that family dynamics can be difficult to navigate. You and your siblings may all want the best for mum or dad, but your ideas on what that looks like can be very different.

Even when the family agrees that it’s time for a more formal care option, there are still a number of decisions that need to be made. Some common areas where you may need to negotiate differing opinions are:

  • How to fund and budget for care
  • Whether and when to sell the family home
  • Care options that suit loved one and budget
  • Making financial decisions for your loved one

Differing viewpoints can hold up decisions and action, and it can be your loved one who bears the burden if there are delays in getting them the care they need and deserve.

As an adviser who specialises in aged care planning, part of my role is to help you and your family explore all the different scenarios and understand your options. I can also work with other professionals, like lawyers and accountants, to help you make sure you cover all your bases, such as assigning power of attorney.

#3 We can help you understand the bigger picture  

Any financial decisions you make for your loved ones can have ongoing and long-term consequences, which need to be considered part of a bigger picture.  When emotions and health of a loved one come into play, it can be easy to make decisions today without realising the potential impacts.

For example, choosing to sell the family home can have an ongoing impact on your loved one’s asset-tested entitlements, such as the Aged Pension. For some, it will make sense to sell the home, but for others, it might be a better option to rent out the property and use the rental income towards the cost of care. But the option that best suits your family and your loved one does depend on personal circumstances, and this is where it really pays to get advice from an experienced adviser.

Families are complex and have unique needs, and we start by understanding you and your family to provide you with the right advice. If you are navigating the aged care maze, get in touch to find out how Apt can help you get clarity on your options and make the best possible decisions for your loved ones.

General Advice warning

The information provided in this blog does not constitute financial product advice. The information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be used, relied upon, or treated as a substitute for specific professional advice. Apt Wealth Partners (AFSL and ACL 436121 ABN 49 159 583 847) and Apt Wealth Home Loans (powered by Smartline ACL 385325) recommends that you obtain professional advice before making any decision in relation to your particular requirements or circumstances.