Are you or a loved one nearing the age where residential aged care is a possibility? If so, it’s important to plan ahead and know your options.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in three people enter residential care from hospitals, often due to unexpected health issues such as falls or urinary tract infections. But there are alternatives to entering residential care that can help older people remain at home while they recover.
Nicky Adjei, an advocate for ADA Australia, stresses the importance of being prepared and knowing your rights and options.
“My key piece of advice to older people is: ‘be prepared’. That includes knowing your rights – and your options,” she told OPAN.
Adjei pointed out that historically, hospitals have been a pathway to residential aged care, but there are other options available that can help older people remain independent.
Short-term restorative care, transition care and even respite care can all provide support to older people while they recover.
Additionally, those who are already receiving a home care package can be reassessed for increased levels of support. Adjei said, “Older people who are already receiving a home care package can also be reassessed for increased levels of support.”
To ensure your voice is heard and your needs are met, it’s important to sign up for aged care services when you need them, rather than waiting until you can no longer cope. This can make it easier to access additional support if a crisis occurs.
“People can be resistant to accessing support, but if you already have services in place, it’s easier to access additional support if there is a crisis,” she said.
By engaging with My Aged Care or an advocate before a crisis occurs, older people can be better equipped to navigate the system and make informed decisions about their care. Adjei noted, “And if you are building experience within the system, you are in a much better position to say: ‘Hold on, this is moving a bit fast for me, there are other options we can consider’.”
So, don’t wait until it’s too late. Plan ahead and know your options to ensure you or your loved ones can remain independent and in control for as long as possible. Adjei concluded, “That’s going to be the most protective factor in ensuring they are not pressured or sent down a particular pathway.” By being prepared and knowing your options, you can ensure that you or your loved one receives the care and support they need to remain independent and in control.