Most older Aussies say they’d prefer home care over a nursing home

While nearly nine in 10 say they have a preference, less than five in 10 have discussed their wishes with their family. What about you?

According to a recent study by McCrindle, nearly 90% of Australians aged 50 and over said they’d prefer to live out their days in their own home, even though most admitted to not having given much thought to what support they’d need in order to do so1.

We look at some of the findings that came out of the research as well as what aged care options are available, so that you might be more informed around what avenues are available to you and your loved ones.

Preparation and planning are lacking

In a national survey of more than 1,000 Aussies aged 50 and over, responses revealed the following2:

  • 46% of older Aussies haven’t discussed their wishes around their future care with anyone
  • 75% haven’t taken any steps to ensure they’ll receive their preferred means of future care
  • Around 40% aren’t confident they or the government will be able to sufficiently fund their care needs, with only 9% having a secure financial or savings plan in place
  • 30% have been involved in organising care for a parent in the past, but admit they had to make decisions quickly and with limited information.

Why conversations need to be had

Today there are more than 3.8 million Australians aged 65 and older (compared to 1.7 million 30 years ago), with that number expected to increase to 7.5 million in three decade’s time3.

Australia’s ageing population indicates that it’s not just older people who need to prepare for future aged care needs, but all Australians, who need to talk to their families, while prioritising finances and ensuring they’re informed about the services available.

In-home care the fastest growing sector

Over a ten-year period, the number of people receiving aged care in Australia grew from 189,000 to 249,000, with in-home care the fastest growing sector within the care industry, outperforming growth in residential care by five to one4.

Staying at home is a priority for many older Australians, with 74% indicating they’d likely use in-home care services and 82% saying they’d be prepared to pay for such services to live at home for longer5.

With 33% of older Aussies not aware that the government funds certain in-home care services, the research highlighted that there was a need for more awareness around aged care support6.

Aged care options available

More than 50% of Aussies over age 45 have previously or are currently dealing with aged care services for themselves, or on someone else’s behalf7, which is why considering your options in aged care earlier rather than later could provide you or a loved one with greater flexibility.

Each aged care service available in Australia has eligibility criteria and an assessment process which can be organised through the government’s My Aged Care initiative.

Keep in mind that the costs of different aged care services vary and may depend on income and assets, as assessed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Here are some of the options:

Help in your own home

If you’re generally able to manage, but require some assistance, there are various home-care packages available that may help with things such as getting dressed, catching transport, cooking, making modifications to your home, as well as a range of other things.

Short-term help

  • After-hospital (transition) care - If you’ve been in hospital but need assistance while you recover, this type of service can be provided in your own home or ‘live-in’ setting.
  • Short-term restorative care - This provides a range of services to help prevent or slow down difficulties with completing everyday tasks. It aims to delay or reverse the need to enter long-term care.
  • Respite care - This service provides support for you and your primary carer when your carer has other duties to attend to, or when they’re on holiday.

Residential aged care

This is where you live in full-service residences and receive ongoing care and support. If it’s the best option for you, it’s a good idea to research and visit several homes to find the right place for you.

Where to get more information

If you’re looking for a bit more information, the following articles may provide some food for thought:

 

1-6 McCrindle: Older Australians not prepared for their future age care.
7 Superannuation well placed to play a role in health and aged care funding and advice: ASFA - table

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