Step 9.1

How do I discuss the move into an aged care home?

Discussing the move

At times there is a tendency to put off ‘delicate’ conversations. We urge you not to avoid this meeting to discuss leaving the family home to move to an aged care home (nursing home) - have it early. Months, even years early.

Why? For so many reasons but principally out of respect for the person moving – that their wishes are clearly understood – and to ensure that emotion alone is not driving crucial decisions.

In fact if partners and family are involved, several conversations are best to be had early to lessen misunderstandings and conflict later when time is critical and money becomes involved.

Putting off family discussions, especially surrounding money and end of life is normal. We can't emphasise it enough, it is far kinder in every respect to have these disucssions early.

Annie Donaldson

Registered Nurse and Carer agedcare101

Everybody has their own unique family and living situation, with often at times colourful factors to consider. However there are a number of steps anyone can follow that will help regardless of your situation.  Here is our points for why you should meet and discuss ‘the move’ early.

Talk together while you can - Whilst everyone might want to remaining living at home until they die quietly in their sleep circumstances and increasing care needs often mean that this isn't possible.  The fact is less than 50% of us will die in our own bed. Close to 20% will die in an aged care home (higher for women) and 30% or more in hospital.  Therefore for many people the reality is that they will need to consider moving into an aged care home.  Often a crisis precipitates the move and a time of crisis is not conducive to a sensible conversation about important matters.

Locating important papers - It may have been sometime since you reviewed or updated your important documents.  Do you know where your wills, bank accounts, Power of Attorney, property titles and so on are located? (see Aged Care Homes Tab Section 4). All this needs to found and assembled. It is best to be asking where it all is early.

Capacity - None of us can predict if we will suffer a decline in ‘capacity’, from dementia or sudden catastrophic ill health. Therefore, it is important to have conversations early and to make sure your wishes are known.

Plan a ‘good’ outcome - Early planning is far more likely to achieve a ‘good’ result compared to rushed decisions in a crisis or when few alternatives are available. For instance, early discussion may decide that moving to a retirement village is better than waiting for an incident that requires moving to an aged care home (see Retirement Living Section 5), or moving interstate early to be close to a family member is better than being isolated in an aged care home away from family.

Knowing what someone wants - While we think we know our partner or parents, it is not until we seriously ask do we really understand what is truly important to them.

Identify areas of potential disagreements - Different people in a family may have a different option about what is important or what should happen in a certain situation.  Partners or a family members may disagree with the directions or requests of the person going into care. It is best to identify this early so all parties can discuss and hopefully find a solution.

Time is money - One thing you can be certain of is that rushed decisions and actions will cost more money than planned, considered actions. A pressured, quick sale of the family home to pay for aged care may miss opportunities to maximize the price.  Poorly structuring finances can impact the pension and increase aged care fees.  It is better to consider these issues when you have time so that you get the best outcome.

Handy Hint - Did you know that if you can click the CC at the bottom righthand side while the video is playing, captions will appear. To get rid of them, click CC again.

View transcript of video here

Break the ice by getting an experienced real estate agent in early - 12 months early - to value the home and give advice on what can be done to maximize its sale value.  This gets everyone talking and triggers locating legal documents.

With our downsizing service we recommend we provide an appraisal of the value of the family home 6 to 12 months before a potential sale.  We can help get the documents and information together that will save you down the track plus suggest small improvements in the property that can add signigicantly to its value.

Brian White

Chairman Ray White

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.