Making the move from retirement living into residential aged care can be hard for you and your family.

Shaun Ganguly, a financial planner from Aged Care Financial Planning and Retirement Village Financial Advice, said it is critically important to seek professional advice.

You need to negotiate and agree to a room price before moving into an aged care home, but not everyone will need to pay this price. Services Australia will conduct a means assessment to see if you qualify for ‘low means’ status.

If you do qualify as a low means resident, you will be eligible for assistance with your accommodation costs.

Shaun shared this example.

“A very worried man came to see me, concerned about his mother’s imminent move from a retirement village to residential aged care. The woman, a widow receiving a modest UK pension with approximately $100,000 in savings, was potentially looking at a steep financial hill to climb,” said Shaun.

“Many people often overlook the available options when it comes to aged care. As a result, they end up overpaying due to a lack of information or guidance. In this case, we saw an opportunity to help the family, and ensure the man’s mother could enjoy her future without depleting her savings.”

Shaun and his team reviewed the woman’s financial situation and discovered she could qualify as a ‘low means resident’.

“We worked closely with the retirement village to adjust down the exit entitlement statement to reflect a realistic sale price, which also took into account all associated costs such as refurbishment,” Shaun said. Alongside this, the team implemented several asset shelter strategies.

“We established a funeral bond, made a gift to family members, and also brought forward the purchase of essential medical items like new hearing aids and walkers,” he said.

His team then calculated all her assets, the revised retirement village exit entitlement, her UK pension, and the asset shelter strategies. Using this data, they worked through the Centrelink means tested amount formula, securing her status as a “low means resident”.

“This strategy saved her around $20,000 in the first year alone,” Shaun said. “Over a five-year period, she’d be $100,000 better off, thanks to the strategies we put into place.”

Shaun’s team ensured a seamless transition for the woman and her family, handling all the Centrelink paperwork, conducted negotiations with the facility, and effectively restructured her finances to protect her future.

“This case underlines the profound difference expert advice can make. By allowing professionals to guide you, family members can ensure financial security and peace of mind for your loved ones.” – 1300 000 243