“Sadly, a lot of those decisions are actually made in the car park of the hospital when … Mum or Dad has had a fall,” Assyat David, co-founder of Aged Care Steps consultancy, says in an ABC News article.
Trying to make hasty decisions with clouded judgment is never a good idea, and for something that will ultimately affect your life and your parent’s life, there’s a lot of room for error.
Many people (some with only a vague idea of alternative options) will choose to have a parent move in with them. Some leave their jobs to take on the role of full-time carer.
According to the ABC News article, “of the four out of five Australians who will eventually need aged care, three will have it at home”.
The biggest mistake people make is believing that caring for someone at home precludes them from government assistance altogether; it’s cheaper for the government to provide specific services rather than help subsidise full-time residential aged care, and there’s an entire department dedicated to helping determine what (if any) care might be applicable to elderly Australians.
This is called an ACAT assessment (or ACAS in Victoria). Most of the assessment involves asking an ACAT member asking questions about day-to-day activities and how the person is coping. The answers to these questions help create a formal report that outlines available options.
One of these options is residential respite care or a temporary stay in an aged care home that gives the person and their carer a chance to relax and rejuvenate separately. This respite care can be planned ahead of time, or used in emergency circumstances. Updated ACAT assessments can be obtained if there are significant health changes or if a lot of time has passed since the initial report.
Whether you’re taking care of a parent or a loved one, you don’t have to do it alone or be locked in by those hasty decisions made earlier. Learning to take advantage of the help that’s available is just the first step in making at-home care an easier option for everyone involved.
This article originally appeared on Starts at 60.