Ageing populations across western industrialised nations like Australia are a result of increased life expectancy and lower birth rates. In fact, as at 30 June 2018, our nation had over 3.9 million people aged 65 and over and this number is projected to more than double, to 8.8 million, or 22% of the population, by 2057. Given this demographic trend, Australians will have a substantially greater need for aged care services in the future.
In recent years, financial advisers have become more actively involved in aged care planning. Advisers are in a great position, given their awareness of their clients' financial and personal situations, to assist their clients with accessing aged care services. This could include working out the cost of care and advising their clients of any potential impact on their financial position, including their estate planning needs.
Many people have a perception that the aged care system is primarily focused on providing permanent residential aged care facilities for those in need. This overlooks what can be a very significant alternative path - the option for older Australians to stay in their own home for as long as possible, supported by Government home care services.
This article explores the home care services funded by the Australian Government and the associated financial planning implications of accessing these services.