Growing old can be one of life’s great fortunes or a challenging phase for a person. The change in lifestyle can be physically, mentally and financially challenging for not only the ageing person, but also for his or her family and friends. Australia is one of the lucky countries with a variety of residential arrangements available for people in their later stages of life. Here is a quick guide to assist with the decision and planning process for such living arrangements:
- Living at home
It is naturally comforting to live a familiar place and amongst familiar faces; that is, if the person is currently living with other family members or friends. However, various circumstances could make this arrangement an inconvenient option. For instance, extra assistance may be required for persons with medical conditions, illnesses or disabilities. This can be a burden for family and friends with other lifestyle commitments and obligations, and are unable to provide the supervision and care required.
Alternatively, personal caring assistants (PCAs) can be employed to meet any round-the-clock needs of those requiring assistance with general mobile activities at home. Employed through agencies or privately, a PCAs assists with daily tasks such as laundry, shopping, cooking and cleaning; through to therapeutic care such as medical prescriptions and treatments. Also referred to as nursing support workers or therapeutic aide, PCAs can be employed on a permanent, on-call or live-in arrangement. Personal care services can be subsidised by the government but requires approval after an eligibility assessment by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
- Retirement Homes and Villages
Retirement homes and villages provide residence for retired people. Residents are more independent are live in self-sufficient homes, cottages or units designed with features catered for people with less mobility. Within these residential communities, there are usually 24-hour surveillance, site management and emergency call services; as well facilities such as hairdressers, gyms and games rooms, and leisure programs such as walking clubs and dance classes. Such arrangements are privately funded and can provide extra care services packages at an additional cost.
- Aged Care and Nursing Homes
Although commonly referred interchangeably with retirement homes, aged care and nursing homes differ as they provide care for the most demanding needs of older people such as constant PCA attention and palliative care. Similar to private hospitals, residents are provided meals and can live in single rooms or shared rooms. And likened to retirement homes, a range of facilities and activities are available such as medical services, therapeutic swimming pools, and social and recreation programs.
The availability of government subsidies and admittance into nursing homes are also limited based on the aged person’s eligibility by ACAT.
From fully-serviced living arrangements to services closer to home, there are options that cater to the various needs of older people. For more information about retirement living and aged care services in your local area, please do not hesitate to contact Opal Aged Care, and one of our friendly staff will be able to answer your enquiries.