Essential questions to ask when choosing the ideal aged care facility for your needs

Apr 19, 2024
Navigating the aged care landscape can be complex and overwhelming, especially when considering the diverse range of services, costs, and support that is available. Source: Getty Images.

As you enter your golden years, the biggest question you may have will often be centered around what you are going to do with all your newfound free time. However, in addition to how you’re going to enjoy your retirement, making decisions about aged care also become increasingly important.

Your choice of aged care facility can greatly impact your well-being, quality of life, and overall happiness. With the myriad of options available, it’s crucial to be equipped with the right questions when embarking on this significant decision-making journey.

Navigating the aged care landscape can be complex and overwhelming, especially when considering the diverse range of services, costs, and support that is available. To ensure you have what you need to make informed choices that align with your specific needs and preferences, Starts at 60 have compiled a list of key questions to ask when considering aged care options.

Important questions to ask when choosing an aged care facility

When it comes to choosing an aged care facility, there are several important questions that you need to ask to ensure you’re making informed decisions to ensure your chosen location meets your needs. By asking such key questions, you can gather essential information and make confident choices about your aged care options.

As Client Services Manager for leading aged care provider TriCare, Aleisha Becker is well placed to offer advice on what you should be asking to ensure a potential aged care facility meets your needs.

Some of the key questions Becker suggests include:

Ask to visit the facility in person: It’s important to note that vacancies with residential aged care providers change frequently, even daily, so while it’s vital to gather information, you may be premature in asking what vacancies are available. Instead ask for an information package and a tour of the facility to really get a feel of what may be your new home.

What leisure and lifestyle activities are on offer?: Each provider is different, and every facility is unique. For example, TriCare facilities develop a lifestyle program based on resident interests and take feedback on what they would like to see or do more of. Therefore, every facility has a slightly different program. If you are an avid painter, ask if arts activities are available for you to partake in. If you love animals and previously owned pets, ask if they offer pet therapy.

What “additional services” are offered?: And what is the cost? This refers to premium features and add-ons that are not related to care. For example, if it’s important to continue to get the daily paper or have access to pay-tv, ask your provider if they can facilitate this.

Where would you like to live?: Is it important that you remain close to the neighbourhood or suburb you currently live in so you can be close to the community you are familiar with or is it important to be close to your children and wider family that will be visiting regularly and attending in the event of an emergency.

Another important question you need to ask, according to project & marketing manager of Oasis Communities, Danielle Smith is “what level of health care and amenity they require for their next stage.”

Why it’s important to ask such key questions?

When making a decision about an aged care facility, it is important to ask key questions to gather relevant information and ensure a well-informed choice. By asking about various aspects of the facility, you can gain insights into the quality of care, available services, and overall suitability.

By asking these key questions, you can make a more comprehensive assessment and ultimately choose an aged care facility that best meets your requirements and provides a comfortable and supportive environment.

Becker highlights that “choosing an aged care provider is a big decision and understandably can be an emotional one, moving out of your home and into an aged care facility.”

“So, it’s essential to ensure you and your family are happy with your new home. Oftentimes we find that it’s the little things that can have the biggest influence on this decision,” she explains. 

Becker also finds that “many people don’t know a lot about aged care until the time comes that they need it, and they are often surprised at the number of options they have.”

“This can also be overwhelming, so understanding what your preferences are and ranking them in order of priority of not only your needs, but your wants, is key,” she says.

Finding more information about your aged care options

Even after asking the right questions, navigating the complex world of aged care can be daunting, with numerous options, regulations, and financial considerations to take into account.

Fortunately, there are various reliable sources and avenues that retirees can turn to in order to gather more information about aged care.

For those seeking more information regarding their aged care options, the My Aged Care website is a great place to start.

According to Becker, the My Aged Care website “is a great resource for exploring your options and understanding the steps to receiving aged care services.”

“They have useful online tools and a hotline if you prefer to speak to someone,” she says.

“My Aged Care also has a helpful fee estimator tool, however, if you believe your income and assets are above the asset test threshold, we always advise the guidance of a financial advisor that specialises in aged care and retirement finances.”

Choosing an aged care facility is a crucial step for retirees, as it directly impacts your quality of life and well-being. By asking key questions and conducting thorough research, you can make informed decisions that align with your specific needs and preferences.

Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently embark on your aged care journey, knowing that you have made choices that prioritise your comfort, happiness, and overall satisfaction. By taking the time to ask these essential questions, you can pave the way for a fulfilling and enriching experience in your chosen aged care facility.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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