How to Approach Aged Care
I was once asked to sum up Australia’s aged care system in 500 words and I failed. If you thought electricity, superannuation or NBN plans were complicated wait until you try and navigate this particular market.
Aged care, whether we like it or not, at some stage becomes not just a choice but a necessity, and my take is to deal with it as you might any other consumer service and find out your best options.
Given there is a lot more at stake, in this arena than in signing on for a particular gas tariff, leaving it too late, avoiding the inevitable and denying increasing frailty come at the risk of significant extra costs be they financial or any other kind.
The current Aged Care Royal Commission should lift the lid on some of the murkier practices, which have dogged this area given we as a society tended to shy away from its less pleasant realities.
The terms of reference mean the commission will examine the quality of services and the extent of substandard and abusive care. Importantly from the consumer lens, it will also ensure these services are more ‘person-centred’ and allow all of us greater control, independence and choice.
Rather like the bank royal commission, we shouldn’t let the avalanche of bad news stories let us assume all is rotten in the state of aged care. There are players which are far better than others…the trick is to find them.
Your first step might be to check out the federal government’s MyAgedCare which says it’s the starting point for finding out about the Australia’s state funded services or check out a comparison service which seek to rate nursing homes, retirement villages and home care.
In short, aged care is best approached one step at a time.
It is changing as baby boomers demand something different to the stale stereotypes of nursing homes of old (and too many now).
Not all of us will be supermen and women who have perfect health and capacity until the very end in differing degrees, as we live longer, we are likely to need some degree of aged care.
Start thinking about it now and be part of the change in consumer demand for these services, i.e. more discriminating, more empowered, more competition/transparency.
It can only make the sector better.