It’s not something people want to think about, but financial planning for nursing home care means that it is much more likely you or your loved one will enjoy the luxury of choice when the time comes.
The decision to transition yourself or a loved one into a nursing home is a pivotal moment for many families. Choosing the right facility involves many careful considerations to ensure the wellbeing and happiness of you or your loved one.
Unfortunately, these sorts of decisions are often made in a crisis situation – which is why it’s so important to be prepared. Waiting until the last minute will often limit your options and make an already sensitive situation much more stressful.
That’s why we recommend taking action and having those conversations well in advance, so you can make informed decisions aligned with your needs and preferences, or those of your loved one.
To assist you with navigating the path to quality care, here’s our guide on what to consider when it comes time to investigate nursing home care:
Firstly, what’s the difference between a nursing home and a retirement village?
A nursing home, also known as a residential aged care facility, provides a higher level of medical care and assistance with daily living activities compared to retirement villages, which enable more independent living.
It will depend on your loved one's health and the level of support they require as to which is the most suitable option. If they’re unable to look after themselves at home and require fully supported living and care assistance 24/7, it is most likely time to look for nursing home care. Residents usually have their own room.
Alternatively, retirement villages are designed for people who are still more independent, with residents allocated a whole unit or villa with access to support services when and as needed.
The funding implications of nursing homes versus retirement villages are also quite different. Unless provided through a Home Care package, retirement village costs are not subsidised by the government, whereas nursing home care is heavily subsidised.
Considerations when Choosing a Nursing Home
Once you’ve made the decision to secure a nursing home for you or your family member, it’s important to research each of the following factors to help you make the right choice:
Cost: The financial aspect of nursing home care is a significant concern for many families. Ask for a thorough breakdown of the facility’s pricing structure to ensure you understand not only the base fees, but also any additional costs that may arise. Consider long-term financial planning, including potential government assistance or insurance coverage.
Staff-to-Resident Ratios: Quality care depends heavily on staffing levels, and unfortunately this was an area of concern highlighted in the recent Aged Care Royal Commission - resulting in significant reform. Inquire about the staff-to-resident ratios to ensure that your loved one will receive the attention and care they deserve.
Activities and Engagement: A vibrant social life and engaging activities contribute significantly to the wellbeing of nursing home residents. Explore the facility's activity programs, ensuring they align with your loved one's interests and preferences.
Food: Nutritious and appetising meals are essential for maintaining health and enjoyment. Investigate the quality of the food provided and whether the facility accommodates special dietary needs.
Accessibility and Facilities: Consider the accessibility of the nursing home, both for visits and for your loved one's mobility. Evaluate the facilities provided, including communal spaces, outdoor areas, and amenities.
Medical Support: The ability to manage medications and provide prompt medical care is paramount. Inquire about the nursing home's approach to medication management and the availability of on-site medical professionals.
Visiting Allied Health Practitioners: Collaboration with allied health practitioners is crucial for holistic care. Check whether the nursing home facilitates regular visits from physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and other specialists to meet the diverse needs of residents.
First Impressions: With deeply personal decisions like this one, it’s never been more important to trust your instincts. The initial impressions you gather during visits can be telling. Pay attention to the atmosphere, cleanliness, and the interactions between staff and residents.
Whether you’re thinking about your future, or protecting your parent’s interests, at Olive Grove Financial Services we have a wealth of experience in assisting families with financial planning for nursing home care.
Contact us today for a confidential conversation about how we can help you make informed decisions that prioritise the well-being and happiness of your loved one. It doesn't matter if you live in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne or further afield, as we offer online consultations as well as face-to-face appointments.