Are you looking at Australian aged care services for the first time? Read on!
A lot of Australians assume that it’s a bit like choosing a medical specialist or preparing for a hospital stay. That is, you have a range of service providers, and you pick the provider based on how you connect through meeting each other and having initial consults. And that while you might get to choose who does the work, how the operation is performed is not something you have input into.
But your aged care experience is not like a bunion surgery. You can and do have a say to a very detailed and customised level. Taking advantage of aged care services is about living the life you want to lead with the appropriate support.
It’s another integral part of your life. And like any other stage of your life, you are most certainly in the driver’s seat.
Here’s how to access Australian aged care services – even if it’s your very first time!
Take the mystery out of aged care
Unless you are in the industry, most people don’t know Australian aged care services well. But like most changes, understanding aged care can be a lot less stressful if you know what you want from the experience ahead of time.
It doesn’t have to be that difficult.
Like any change, there is a little bit of research involved. And that involves asking questions, reading up, getting advice from experts and considering what suits you.
A great starting point is visiting the My Aged Care website and reading the information available. Here, you can get a basic, plain-speaking run down of what aged care looks like and the choices available to you.
You’ll notice there are all kinds of versions of aged care to suit your lifestyle, health needs and how much social interaction you need. There are services to help you stay at home and there are options to provide a higher level of support.
Australian aged care services can begin with temporary services. They can include services like transport to the shops for the non-driver or meal delivery if it’s become hard to cook. You can opt for assisted living scenarios or to simply access services that make staying in your own home possible.
You can even enter healthcare based aged care experiences temporarily after a hospital stay or at end-of-life in the form of palliative care.
The flexibility within Australian aged care services is about placing you at the centre. You can use them to help prevent issues and support your current needs. All while preparing you for a future on your terms.
Consider what’s right for you
We’re not all the same. And Australian aged care services have changed to reflect this through a focus on values-based care.
That’s where we come in. Articulating the values that matter to you with the ExSitu hierarchy of values is about getting the high-level version of you now and in the future. Then matching it with the values you hold dear to translate that into practical care needs.
Our values are important cornerstones to define treatment, dignity, what risks are worth taking, what we like and dislike, and our quality of life overall.
While our tastes might grow and change over the course of our lives, we generally stay true to our values. And when we’re out of step with those values is usually the most likely time for us to feel out of sorts or off-centre.
Trying to capture all the elements of your life that make you the person you are sounds like a huge task. Yet, the values we hold create a blueprint of who we are and a roadmap into your future. What you view as quality of life is determined by your values.
Taking time to articulate them can help define your approach to day-to-day life right through to healthcare, aged care and your end-of-life needs.
Have the conversations
What you want from aged care comes down to talking through what you need.
Part of that is talking with your family, friends and anyone in your community you would like to be involved.
Plus, it also means getting a clear picture of how what you like translates into physical services and supports on the ground.
This is where booking time with an assessor to complete an aged care assessment comes in.
An assessor can help you articulate what you need in relation to your experience of the world right now. They can also help with some advice on forward planning.
Speaking with an aged care assessor is a necessary part of the process of getting the care that matches your lifestyle and needs. It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to the more formal and practical sides of the Australian aged care experience.
Know what your options are
After you have had an aged care assessment, you will have a much clearer idea of the services and service providers in your local area.
You can start talking to those service providers and creating a short list of who you want to work with. You can start planning with access to these services in mind. This includes the kinds of supports you may need. And how, when and where they are available.
For some of you, this might be a case of creating a Plan A and a Plan B based on some of your other choices.
An example of this might be:
Plan A – staying in my home and having a high level of aged care services delivered to me.
Plan B – downsizing my living arrangements and lowering my dependency on services as a result.
It might also come down to geographical location.
For example, the smaller or more remote your town or suburb, you might find it more difficult to receive specialised, high dependency services. And therefore, find managing yourself at home more difficult than say moving to be closer to family in a larger city.
It’s about mapping out what you need now – and may need in the future.
Defining your care style
Some people want to delegate and are happy to have all the decisions and work done for them. Others really want to maintain control over as much and for as long as humanly possible.
Choosing the level of aged care management that suits you comes down to your values, choices and how you feel when other people look after you.
No two people are alike. And this is why defining what good quality care looks like to you is so important.
Looking at what you need and comparing it to what is available that matches your values and what quality of life looks like to you is of utmost importance.
Want to get started?
Check out the My Aged Care website and the following ExSitu blogs:
- Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before you enter aged care
- Learn how the hierarchy of values can help you put your values at the centre of your care plans now and into the future
- Find out what’s included in self-managed home care plans
- Explore the sorts of things you might consider with a self-managed care plan
- Uncover what a bespoke home care policy can do for you
- See what it takes to build meaningful support networks