Moving can often be a stressful experience at the best of times – and when you’re moving an older person into the home where they’re likely to stay for the rest of their life, you’ll naturally want to minimise the stress and chaos as much as possible.


Have the conversation early

The move into aged care can be something of a delicate topic of discussion, but it’s one that you’ll want to have as early as you can – months or years in advance, if possible.

There are a few reasons for this: for starters, you’ll want to make sure you know the wishes and needs of the person who may be going into aged care. This will help you avoid arguments and disagreements down the track, and will also ensure you’re aware well in advance of any potential crisis that would rob them of “capacity” (the ability to make decisions for themselves).

One more thing you’ll want to do early: sort out what possessions to take to the home, starting with smaller items and working up to larger items. If there’s anything that will be sorely missed but can’t be relocated, consider “keeping it in the family” by having family or friends take care of it.


Planning is everything

Planning ahead will save you time and money down the track. Make sure you have in order all the important paperwork and documents that you or your loved one will need – such as will, power of attorney, enduring guardianship, bank account details, property titles, and so on. You don’t want to be scrambling around looking for them or trying to arrange them in a hurry.

Be sure as well to have finances sorted well in advance – if you wait until a crisis happens, you may end up having to sell the family home for well below what it’s really worth, while poorly-structured finances can result in higher aged care fees and a massive hit to the Age Pension.

If you’re anticipating needing to sell the family home, it’s best to get a real estate agent to come by six to 12 months in advance, so they can properly value the house and give you some advice on maximising the price you’ll get for it.

Necessary paperwork to enter an aged care home should also be dealt with well before the fact, as a response can take six to eight weeks. If you register for the home of your choice and they call too early, don’t stress – you can always tell them you or your loved one aren’t ready yet.


Do your research

Choosing an aged care home is another thing you shouldn’t do at the last minute! Take the time to research your options, and definitely visit a few homes before you make the final decision.

You should also check the daily fees for extra services at these homes – these can add up surprisingly quickly, and take a huge chunk out of the pension.

Look into homes that are close to family, as well: for many older people, family will be the most important support network outside the home, as their friends may be too old and frail to visit – or may end up in care themselves.

Going into aged care is a big move – but break it up into bite-sized chunks and get started early, and it won’t seem that huge after all.