Taking care of an elderly loved one who can no longer look after themselves is a big responsibility. It can be an emotional and stressful time, and will almost certainly mean substantial changes to your lifestyle.

So if you’re in this situation, it’s important to look after yourself and keep an eye on your finances.

Checking entitlements with your employer

If you’re employed full-time or part-time, you could be entitled to up to 10 days’ paid carer’s leave
to help you support an ill or injured family member. Talk to your employer to find out more about your entitlements. 

Dealing with reduced income

If carer’s leave is not enough, and you need to reduce your work hours or even stop working altogether, you will need to adjust to a reduced income. It’s important to know if you are eligible for any government entitlements as a carer.

Once you have a clear idea on what your change in income will be, a budget can help you prioritise and make adjustments where necessary.

Getting government assistance

To see what government benefits you may be entitled to, check the payment finder on
the Department of Human Services website. 

Your elderly loved one may also be eligible for government-subsidised support services to help them with day to day tasks. Here are some services they could access:

Financial assistance for times in need

If you are having troubles paying your bills or loans as a result of reduced income, there is help available. Financial Counselling Australia offers free, confidential counselling services where you can get information and support by qualified professionals.

They can help you with things such as applying for hardship with your finance providers.

Find a financial counselor in your area

Want more information on aged care

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Planning ahead for aged care

The time will come when you can’t take care of your elderly loved one yourself any more. An event, such as a fall, can mean having to place them into aged care accommodation at short notice.

When this happens, it’s vital to have an aged care plan in place and know how the complex aged care system works.

Government support

The government provides substantial assistance to cover the costs of aged care. Eligibility for government support is determined by Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT). Aside from assessing the need and level of care required, the ACATs may also be able to help you find appropriate accommodation.

Most people prefer to make their own choice, so it’s worthwhile visiting different facilities to see what’s available.

Fee structure

In most cases, a contribution towards the costs of aged care is required. Contributions vary and depend upon income, assets and pensioner status. Fees may include a combination of means-tested accommodation and care fees, a basic daily care fee, and fees for extra optional services. Fees are revised twice a year in line with pension revisions. Care recipients can either pay their accommodation fee as an upfront refundable deposit or a rent-style periodic payment.

Be prepared

Navigating your way through aged care options and costs can be overwhelming, so it’s important to be prepared. Attending open days is the best way to assess the options, quality and cost of the facilities. You should consider booking respite care ahead of time.

The value of aged care advice

Good advice on aged care can help you to navigate the tough decisions and avoid mistakes that may be hard and costly to undo.

Advice is available through our wholly owned financial planning business, StatePlus.

Their specialist aged care advisers can guide you through the complexities of aged care, including payment options and government benefits.

Book an appointment with an aged care specialist