Aged care handbook guides vital research

By on the Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First launched in 2011, Aged Care Who Cares? is the essential handbook for anyone attempting to navigate Australia’s complicated aged care system.

In response to Federal Government reforms, the book relaunches at the end of this month with a revised summary of the relevant aged care regulations.

Co-author and principal of financial advice network, Aged Care Gurus, Rachel Lane said the book explains how means testing works for home and community care, as well as residential aged care.

She said too often people have the perception that aged care is about moving from their own home into an aged care facility.

“Sometimes the conversation (around aged care) gets shut down because people assume they don’t have choices,” Ms Lane said.

“The majority of people don’t actually access aged care in a facility.”

The dreary, Dickensian view of nursing homes is another misguided assumption, according to Ms Lane.

“People somehow extrapolate that aged care homes are horrible places to live.”

Aged Care Who Cares? is designed to initiate a family conversation about what aged care might look like for the individual.

It covers care delivered to the home, granny flat rights and the difference between retirement village legislation and aged care regulations.

Ms Lane recommends the resource to anyone involved in the aged care decision - wife, daughter, brother or son.  

“Aged care is a family process. It is rare that you will find an older person making this decision unilaterally.”

The book uses clear diagrams and eye-catching cartoons to simplify what the authors admit is a complicated area of finance.

Ms Lane and co-author, respected financial advisor Noel Whittaker, agreed the book should not replace personalised financial advice, but it’s a good place to start.

“Aged care is not something you can pick up in five minutes, it takes time to research and understand all the intricacies involved,” Ms Lane said.

Aged Care Who Cares? covers all the common trips and traps, like the difference between a referred accommodation deposit (RAD) and a daily accommodation payment (DAP).

"A lot of people think they are going to have to pay a RAD and sell their home," Ms Lane said.

"Neither of those things are true."

"If they don't have the financial means they don't have to pay a RAD. People have the option of paying a combination of the RAD and DAP, and if people prefer not to sell their home, this is the better solution."

Aside from the immense financial implications, the aged care transition is also fraught with emotion.

Aged Care Who Cares? includes an extensive resource section to help guide people in the right direction, including placement consultants, online directories and the latest consumer tool for the sector, the Aged Care Rating System.

“Where you live has the greatest bearing on your happiness,” Ms Lane said.

“You’ve got to make sure you’re going to be happy.”

Image: The latest edition of Aged Care Who Cares?, available in all good bookstores from late August.