This Festive Season: Don’t be shocked to realise how your favourite Older Person has aged
With the impact of Covid-19, it is quite possible you haven’t been in the vicinity of your Parents/Aunts/Uncles or possibly even your Grandparents for more than TWO YEARS !
If you have the privilege of finally wrapping them in a hug this Christmas, try not to be shocked to notice some changes; And perhaps arm yourself with a few conversation-starters around future Care, and what it might look like for them as they age.
The fact is: our Baby-Boomers are getting older and living longer.
“Currently numbering more than 5 million, the baby boomers are one of Australia’s largest population groups” And… “The share of people aged 65-and-over increased from 11% in 1990 to 16% in 2020” and is on-track to increase to 20% by 2030.
It’s inevitable: the your favourite older people might start to slow down a little; start to repeat themselves; and potentially reveal some cracks in their day-to-day managing of tasks.
This week I spoke to a Residential Aged Care Company’s Regional Client Relations Manager. She shared the interesting statistic that every January and February the number of enquiries they receive regarding availability increases exponentially.
She noted it’s usually after the family have returned from visiting their loved-ones and they have decided they had better ‘do something’.|
Don’t wait until you’re home from visiting your family members before starting the conversation. Have it while you’re with them, and start gently.
Initiating a conversation about the future with ageing loved ones:
First of all, don’t assume all is well – or that all is terrible. Go gently and considerately.
Perhaps check the fridge. If they have have plenty of fresh food and vegetables and easy meals they can re-heat, etc, they may be managing their nutrition quite well.
If the backyard has weeds or their favourite potplants are looking tired; perhaps they are not keeping-up with the maintenance of the house, and they might be open to getting some gardening assistance; or home-modifications to assist their mobility around the yard.
If you feel they could be open to discussing in-home care (support at home) or downsizing the family-home to a smaller place to live; bring the subject up gracefully:
Look them in the eye, and give them time to respond, as you ask them how they envisage their next 10 /15 years (or so). They might have some clear answers for you.
Some action points:
The good news is: there are several options for your loved-one.
Moving into an Aged-Care Facility may be the right thing to do – but it is not the only option.
- Consider In-Home Care – where kind Care-Workers come into your elder’s home each week for set, regular hours and make a difference with domestic chores or personal care. Matched to your elder’s exact needs, tasks can include: meal preparation, changing, washing and drying bath-towels and bed-linen; ordering groceries and carrying back home; support while showering, washing or drying hair; Dementia companionship, socialisation and respite hours; and nursing or clinical needs such as wound dressing, etc. In-home care can be provided privately, or by accessing the government’s Commonwealth Home Services Program – known as CHSP or the (income-tested) Home Care Package Program – known as HCP.
- To access the government HCP subsidy, your elder will need to be registered with MyAgedCare.gov.au and be assessed for their requirements. While visiting your loved one this Christmas, you could initiate an ACAT Assessment via the MyAgedCare website, which starts the process to receive this subsidy. The whole process may take 12-18 months, so I urge you to consider commencing this process as soon as practically possible. <See my blog-post on this topic.>
- If you have already requested an ACAT/ACAS assessment which is the first step in the Home Care Package process, be sure not to ignore the Income Assessment Form SA486, which is an important part of the process, and one which brings a lot of heart-ache if overlooked. Read my blog-post about the ITF assessment
- While you are on the phone, dealing with the government departments, I’d strongly suggest you become a ‘Representative‘ or ‘Nominee to their account’ – at least for MyAgedCare + Services Australia (Centrelink). Read how here
- Respite Care: If you have received your first letter from the ACAT assessors, OR from the HCP Program advising you have been approved for a HCP, you may have received a Code within the letter, which can be utilised for Respite Care. This code can be utilised immediately (while you wait for a HCP to be assigned). Respite Care is a very good way of ‘trying-out’ a Residential Aged Care Facility, while also giving family members a break or time away with their own family. Allow Susan and her team to find you the perfect respite placement by booking a conversation with Susan (see blue button pop-up) Read further articles about Respite Care here + here.
- If your parents are still living independently and managing most day-to-day tasks, they may already be each other’s Power of Attorney; Enduring Power of Attorney; and/or Enduring Medical Power of Attorney. If not, you could suggest they get these steps set-up; including updating their Legal Will; and creating an Advanced Care Directive to ensure their wishes are taken into account in case of a medical emergency. If you require a solicitor, I recommend Michael Perkins from Autonomy First Solicitors.
- Lastly, if your loved one has hinted at down-sizing from the main family home, you may like to read about the different types of Seniors Living and start to interview Retirement Village Sales Representatives.
If, after several robust conversations and in partnership with your ageing loved-one, and you decide the time is right to move into a Residential Aged Care Facility (Nursing Home), allow me to partner you in the process ensuring a smooth transition to the right care for your loved-one.
Schedule a free chat by clicking “Book Susan at No Obligation” below on right Or Click here
Read more about my own family story on having this delicate conversation