Marking the country’s inaugural Advance Care Planning Week, beginning today, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said only half of Australians will be capable of making their own medical decisions as they near the end of their lives.
“Despite this, less than 15 per cent of Australians have recorded an Advance Care Plan.
“Advance care planning promotes dignity and care that is consistent with a person’s goals, values, beliefs and preferences and can help ensure they receive the right type of treatment at the right time.”
MP Julia Banks added that care plans can help mitigate the anxiety and depression experienced by families as their loved ones age.
“Getting the message out is crucial,” she said.
While one-third of Australians die before hitting 75 years of age, 85 per cent of Australians die after a chronic illness, rather than a sudden event.
“So, regardless of our age or current health status, talking about and preparing a plan sooner rather than later is important.”
Advance Care Planning suggested families discuss the things important to them to live well, the things that make life worth living, their bucket list items and what a good day looks like.
The organisation also suggested families discuss what their choices and options would be in hypothetical situation.
In Nest Egg’s latest podcast, Australian Unity Trustees national manager of estate planning Anna Hacker said families should also discuss their wills and estate plans in order to avoid stress, expenses and potential conflict.
As rates of early onset dementia and dementia more broadly increase, Ms Hacker said Australians can’t leave estate planning until retirement.
“It should really be something that people [do] as soon as they have any wealth, any assets.
“Anyone who has super is likely to have some sort of an estate, because they'll have life insurance, and it's often quite sizeable, a lot more than they expect. It really needs to be something they think about early.”