When my parents started their aged care journey a couple of years ago, I offered to help. I was completely unprepared for the complexity of Australia’s aged care system. I spent hours on hold waiting to speak to government call centre staff; became frustrated with the often-contradictory advice provided; bemused by the acronyms and bureaucratic language used by the industry; and amazed at the long wait times for accessing government aged care assessments and subsidised government home care packages.
One of the key lessons that I soon learnt was to be organised! Navigating Australia’s aged care system generates an enormous amount of administrative paperwork and personal reference details. Every stage of the journey requires forms to be completed, understanding often confusing government correspondence, and remembering a range of different personal reference codes.
After a few frustrating experiences I found it useful to save my parents’ government details and correspondence, care provider details and other important information in an online diary. Having this information at my fingertips when on the phone or speaking to various customer service staff has saved a lot of frustration and time! Live well Longer's My Personal Record provides a useful template for storing this information in one document.
Also, many people find over time their care needs change and dealing with care providers and government departments becomes increasingly complex and confusing. In addition to having completed processes such as Enduring Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Guardianship and your Advance Health Directives, it is worth nominating a trusted family member or friend who could speak on your behalf with Centrelink or My Aged Care. Setting up your authorised representative requires completing Centrelink's ‘authorising a person to act on your behalf ‘ and My Aged Care’s ‘appointment of a nominee’ forms.
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