The conversations of life

Four out of five older Australians will need aged care, but only three per cent of us have planned for it


Just three per cent of older Aussies plan to spend more in later life, according to a National Seniors Australia survey of 5,000 of their members. The majority (61 per cent) wanted to spend the same amount throughout retirement.

Another third (36 per cent) said they planned to spend more in the early years after giving up paid work before scaling back their spending.

The figures ring true with me for how many of us picture retirement – spending money on travel and leisure activities, not medical and aged care bills.

But these costs do get higher as we get older and the majority of us will end up receiving aged care services – whether residential care or in-home care – at some stage of our lives.

Hope for the best – plan for the worst

The latest report from the Productivity Commission shows four in five older Australians have some type of government-funded aged care service.

But the Government is only paying an average of $4,470 per person – not a huge sum when you consider recent figures that show the cost of caring for someone with dementia is $88,000.

And with average life expectancy increasing, the demand on government services is only going to grow as we baby boomers hit later life.

The fact is we are moving towards a system where we will be expected to pay more for our care and that requires planning – not just financial decisions, but also knowing your options for support.

The message is clear. Don’t wait for a crisis – when you may not be able to make the best decision – to seek advice about aged care.

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A practising aged care physiotherapist for the past 13 years, Jill has worked in more than 50 metropolitan and regional aged care homes. She has also toured care facilities across the US and Africa. She is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff that serve them.

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