If your parents are getting older, they may be relying on you to help them make key financial decisions – including knowing what to do about their aged care. Learning as much as you can about their options will help.
Home care packages are the government's way of helping Australians to stay in their homes for as long as possible before entering residential care. They offer a range of support services, including personal and nursing care, transport, food services, domestic help and medical assistance.
Depending on the level of care your parents need, the program features a range of packages with different subsidies. You can find out more about the home care packages on the government's My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au).
Paying for home care and aged care
The amount your parents pay for home care is determined according to their income.
If they need to move into an aged care facility, the costs will be determined by a means test on their personal income and assets. Their family home will be exempt from the aged care assets test if it's occupied by a protected person, such as a partner or a dependent child.1
They'll usually need to pay an accommodation payment. This can be paid either as a lump sum or a periodic payment, or a combination of both when they move into an aged care facility. In addition to an accommodation payment, they also may have to pay a basic daily care fee and may have to pay an additional means tested fee.
If your parents want to sell the family home to cover the costs of residential care, it's important to know any remaining money from the sale will be subject to means testing. This could impact their aged care costs and how much Age Pension they receive.
Know your aged care options
Everyone's situation is different, from the assets they have to the residential facility they prefer. A financial planner may help you and your parents:
- Understand how paying for aged care could affect their retirement savings and Age Pension
- Evaluate aged care facility fees and charges – and minimise them where possible
- Maximise their entitlement to a government pension and claim what they're entitled to
- Create a plan focused on making their money last and covering aged care costs in the long term
If you or your parents would like to speak to a Commonwealth Financial Planner, you can find out more here.
The My Aged Care website provides some information about services, costs and eligibility criteria, including how to get in touch with your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT – known as ACAS in Victoria). They can explain what help is available to your parents and how they can access it.
1 From the My Aged Care website: http://www.myagedcare.gov.au/aged-care-homes-costs-explained/income-and-assets-assessment-aged-care-home-costs