The following information will help you and your loved one make the transition to life in an aged care home. We have referred to ‘your parent’ below, but this information is also applicable to you, a family member, or a friend.
Liaise closely with your parents’ doctor to look for early warning signs that they are not coping at home, or are experiencing short-term memory loss.
Organise a Power of Attorney while your parent is mentally alert.
If your parent is no longer mentally alert a guardian/administrator needs to be appointed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This guardian/administrator will be responsible for managing your parent’s affairs. If no family member can take on this role the government will appoint an administrator.
Aged care assessments are conducted by Aged Care Assessment Services (ACAS) teams. They help older people and their carers to identify community care services. ACAS are independent teams that put people in touch with Commonwealth-funded services.
You, or your doctor, can arrange for an ACAS professional to visit your parent in their home. They will make an assessment and decide whether a ‘Package of Care’ is required.
A Package of Care is coordinated by your case manager who will organise Meals on Wheels and many other community services which may help your parent stay at home. If necessary, they will assess your parent for a ‘Level of Care’.
A Level of Care is required for any respite care, or permanent residential care in an aged care home. You cannot put your parent’s name on a waiting list without this assessment.
Aged care placement
It is the family’s responsibility to look for, choose, and place their parent’s name on one or a few waiting lists for an aged care or respite facility.
When permanent placement is required a ‘Request for an Assets Assessment’ also needs to be completed and returned to Centrelink or the Department of Vetrans’ Affairs. Waiting for a place in your chosen aged care facility may take a few weeks or even months.
Some aged care facilities require a bond to be paid on admission. You can organise this yourself or employ a financial advisor to help you.
Discuss all these issues with your parent so they can be part of the decision-making process.
Tips for aged care planning
- Liaise closely with your parent’s doctor.
- Have a list of their medications, allergies, medical conditions and any previous surgery.
- Organise a Power of Attorney/guardianship and keep a copy with you.
- Contact banks, utility providers, the telephone company and have your parent nominate you as an account contact.
- Check if your parent has Health Insurance or Ambulance cover and that is it current.
- Talk to your parent’s doctor about disabled car stickers, taxi discounts, or whether your parent needs a driving assessment.
- Arrange an ACAS assessment when you notice a permanent decline in your parent’s general health or mental ability and consult with the doctor about organising a ‘Level of Care’.
- Ask your doctor about respite accommodation if you are the primary carer and are going away, or need a break.
- Organise a Will and know where it is kept.