Current research indicates that most people want to remain living at home as they age. This certainly applies to baby boomers who are often reluctant to contemplate the impact of ageing and the possibility that their current lifestyle and independence may change into the future. 60 is after all the new 50!
However, denial is not a sustainable strategy. It is inevitable that our needs will change as we age and it is highly likely that we will need some additional support as we age. Unless we have a clear vision for what we want life to be like and a clear plan for making it happen, circumstances may overtake us and someone else will end up making the decisions …. decisions that do not necessarily reflect what we want.
And, planning is not just about finances, it involves decisions about where and how we want to live, who will help make decisions if we are unable to, what roles family members may have, understanding how the Australian Government Aged Care system and subsidies work and a myriad of other issues. Planning needs to encompass a whole of life perspective. Everyone’s plan will be unique and needs to reflect our personal vision and circumstances.
There are many good reasons for starting to plan early and not waiting for a crisis such as an illness, heart attack, accident or death of a partner to be the call to action. Starting early means people who are close to us can be included and there is time to get all the information and explore all the options and possibilities. It also means that the plan can be shared with appropriate people and decision-making processes such as Enduring Power of Guardianship, Power of Attorney and Advanced Health Care Directives can be put in place in a timely and considered way.
While planning is not just about financial considerations, it is important to consider the resources required to implement the plan. Despite the Australian Government’s recent allocation of growth funding for Home Care Packages, there is still unmet need, let alone the funding required to meet the predicted growth in demand into the future. So, it’s important to know, and begin planning for how the actions and the strategies identified in the plan will be resourced. This may be from a combination of sources including government subsidised home care, a personal contribution, generic community supports and help from family, friends and neighbours.
Live Well Longer - ageing at home free Planning Guide outlines the steps to take to help you with your planning and, also, provides a useful planning template.
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