Reaching the point where a close friend or relative needs to consider aged care can be difficult for everybody. It can be hard to accept the changes that often accompany these sorts of choices, whether it’s admitting that your loved one is finding it more difficult to cope on their own or dealing with medical issues that often go alongside age.
Selecting the right care option is a decision that can affect the long-term health and quality of life for your loved one, so it is essential to approach it with the care that is due. Here are a few things to consider as you navigate the process.
Get an ACAT Assessment
If you’re thinking your friend or family member may need access to aged care services provided by the Australian Government then you will need to organise an ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) assessment. This is carried out by a member of a local team and they will assess eligibility for access to services like:
- Any level of home care package services
- Transition care services
- Respite care in an aged care home
- Moving into an aged care home.
They can also help you understand the level of care your loved one may need, as well as explaining what each service involves and offers. Once the assessment has been completed, a letter outlining the outcomes of the assessment will be sent.
Understand the Options
Depending on the overall health of your loved one, you may have different options available for their care. The ACAT assessment will indicate what level of care they are eligible for, but it’s important to have an idea of what each choice would entail. There are two basic levels commonly utilised for aged care:
- Home care
- Residential care.
Within each of those categories there is a variety of services that can be engaged, from home support for household tasks through to full care in a specialised facility.
Assess Each Option for Suitability
If you and your loved one decide on care in a residential home, it’s important to consider a range of factors to help you choose the right one. A few key points to look for when choosing residential aged care are:
- An approach that prioritises the care of the residents
- The ability to cater for specific health concerns
- Effective policies and approaches to pain management
- Philosophies and practices based on the well-being of the residents
- End-of-life care options.
When checking it out in person, take the time to speak to employees and nurses, and tour each area as thoroughly as possible.
Make the Decision Together
If your loved one isn’t suffering from any conditions which may affect their judgement or decision-making, be sure you don’t railroad them into the course of action that is most appealing to you. Unless they are going against medical recommendations, you should be doing your best to support their decision, not making it for them. If they would prefer an option that simply isn’t able to be accommodated, you may want to consider helping make another choice more palatable – for example, if your elderly family member would rather stay at home unassisted rather than move into an aged care residence, you may ask them to compromise and let someone in to help them a few times each week.
Every person deserves to live life in a situation that is comfortable, enjoyable and dignified, no matter their age. Choosing a care option that enhances life rather than limiting it is crucial to maintain both health and happiness for your parent, grandparent or friend.