There were huge changes to the aged care rules last month. The bad news is that our original aged care book is out of date – the good news is that a brand new, updated version has just come off the printing presses.

When most people hear the words ‘Aged Care’ they think ‘Nursing Home’. This is normally quickly followed by the words “Not Me!”. Aged care decisions, whether they are for yourself or a loved one, are complex, and the choices people face are far more diverse than simply stay at home or move into an aged care facility.

It may come as a surprise but the majority of people who receive aged care services are not living in an aged care facility. People seeking care and companionship often enter into various legal and financial arrangements that are not regarded as formal aged care. For example, following the death of a partner a parent may move in with children, or vice versa, and in doing so perhaps unknowingly, establish a granny flat right or a life interest in the property. Similarly, the inability to maintain the family home and the social isolation that can come from the death of a spouse or reduced mobility often leads to a decision to move to an over 55’s community or retirement village.

Of course if the decision is made to move to residential aged care, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the decisions become easier. There are accommodation payments, basic daily care fees, means tested fees and in some cases additional service or extra service fees to navigate.

Aged care choices are complex. Like most things in life, there is no ‘right’, ‘wrong’ or ‘best’. It will come down to an individual’s preferences. What is important is that you make informed choices, that you understand the legal and financial arrangements, what accommodation, care and services will be provided, when you will need to move from one type of care to another, what it will cost, the impacts on pension and other government entitlements, likely tax consequences, and the effect on your estate planning wishes.

The latest edition of Aged Care, Who Cares? Where? How & How Much? is designed to help you navigate the aged care maze and is available now from https://agedcaregurus.net. The price is $24.99.

I cannot stress enough the importance of becoming educated in this area. The cost of getting it wrong can be huge.