That’s the warning from aged care advice support group, Aged Care Steps. According to a new survey by the technical support group, Australians are least likely to pursue aged care advice as part of post-retirement planning, but are more likely to pursue advice at the request of a relative.
The survey, conducted with Swiss Re also found that family members or children were the most likely to approach an adviser, followed by the spouse and then the person requiring care.
To Swiss Re head of life and health for Australia, Leigh Watson, the fact that people are most likely to seek advice only after an incident is a problem.
She explained: “Considering one's aged care needs at a time of crisis can often result in a poor outcome and a lack of certainty and control over the quality and cost of the care received.
“The costs associated with aged care can derail retirement plans and impact family members who are often called on to provide informal care.
Director at Aged Care Steps, Assyat David agreed. She said it would be better if Australians planned in advance, and suggested they plan when they are also planning for retirement.
“Key issues to be explored include; how they expect to fund aged care costs given the shift towards a greater user-pays basis, willingness to access the equity in their home instead of a focus on inheritance and their ability to rely on family and friends to provide care and financial support.”
Ms David said Australians “need to plan” for their needs in later stages of life, and said this planning includes more than just finances; it also includes understanding their options.
She argued that this where advice is important as it has the ability to “reduce stress and deliver better family cohesion”.
According to Aged Care Steps, aged care discussions will become a larger and more important conversation as concerns about affordability, the process and access become increasingly prevalent.
Respondents were most likely to list affordability of care as a chief challenge or fear around care, followed by “navigating through the aged care process”, followed by making informed choices and not getting the right care.