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Accommodation Options - October Newsletter

Updated: Nov 6, 2023


**October Long Weekend 2022 - Grandma 89yo, Cece 6mo


Every October long weekend I spend time away camping with my extended family. Everyone from my 90 year old Grandma to my 1 month old 2nd cousin will be there. It’s a beautifully chaotic and heart-warming time as we all connect around the campfire and spend quality time together. There’s truly nothing I love more than being in the outdoors surrounded by those I love the most. There’s endless good food & wine, meaningful conversations, time to unwind and most importantly to me, a village of humans to care for each other.


This got me reflecting on the importance of where we live and those we surround ourselves with.


For this reason, the theme I’ve chosen for October is ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’.


 

As part of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, a research paper commissioned by Roy Morgan looked at ‘What Australians Think Of Ageing and Aged Care’. In this analysis they asked 10,518 adult Australians their views on residential aged care facilities. Unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents had very negative views and felt residents were often lonely, did not have control over their lives and were not happy. However, they did feel they had access to medical care and were in a safe, comfortable, well-maintained environment. Interestingly, those who answered more favourably were also the ones who knew someone living in an aged care facility and visited them at least weekly.


This report also noted that 80% of Older Australians (over 70) have a strong preference to stay living in their home should they ever need support and 62% of respondents still felt this way even if they required daily care services. Only 25% stated they would prefer to live in a residential aged care facility if they needed daily care.


So, what do I find interesting in this report…

  1. The vast majority of Older Australians want to remain living at home, even if they require daily access to care services.

  2. The broader community feels that residential aged care facilities are unfavourable places to live, however those who visited them regularly had positive views.


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Many ageing Australians are unaware of the care options available to them and how to access. In the What Australians Think Of Ageing and Aged Care report, only 9% of respondents said they knew about My Aged Care, with 47% saying they would do a Google search to start researching care options.


A lot of the work that I do with clients is share the multitude of care options available to them. If you know what potential options are available, we can tailor a solution that meets their individual needs and preferences.


The options are far broader than home OR aged care facility.


Firstly, I want to define the meaning of ‘home’. For the majority of my clients, ‘home’ is where they’re currently living. It’s often the family home, somewhere they’ve lived for many years and a well-known community that brings them a sense of comfort. Whilst there is always scope to remain at home with supplementary services, sometimes redefining ‘home’ can provide more sustainable outcomes.


To me, ‘home is where the heart is’ means that you can redefine ‘home’ at any stage of your life. It’s the idea that your home is not necessarily the roof over your head, but where you feel connection to the people around you. Whilst the family home may hold special sentimental value, ‘home’ can also be created in other spaces.


Retirement villages, serviced apartments and semi-supported living options can be wonderful places to create a new ‘home’. You still have your independence and a space to make entirely your own, but in a environment designed to support you as you age.


In my experience, there is often a window between around 75-85 years old (health dependent) where people are still mobile, active and cognitively well, but starting to require some additional support. This can be the prime time to consider alternate living arrangements. I find those who do this whilst they’re still physically and cognitively well are able to adjust to the new environment and make it feel like home, before their health potentially starts to decline.


So what is available?

  • Independent Living Unit (ILU) or Retirement Village - this involves you still living independently in your own home/unit, but with the support of a like-minded community and some home maintenance services.

  • Serviced apartments - again, you still live independently with the option to easily add in additional care services like meals, cleaning, showering and with the benefit of site based social activities.

  • Semi-supported living - often connected to a residential aged care facility, but in your own unit/apartment with the option to have meals and activities provided with the other residents in the main care facility.

As a slight aside, I want to use this opportunity to highlight that there are many wonderful residential aged care facilities out there. I think they are often demonised in the media, but the fact that people who visit them more regularly feel positively about them speaks to this notion. I have worked in, volunteered in and visited many facilities that provide high quality care to their residents.


On a broader more cultural level, I find it interesting that we worry about people in residential aged care facilities feeling isolated and lonely, yet over 50% of people visit their loved ones once a month or less. I know there are many reasons why this may occur - family dynamics, life commitments, distance etc. I say this without judgement, as I personally know the juggle of trying to regularly visit ageing loved ones. However, it has also caused me to pause and reflect on what values underpin this behaviour and what I may need to reprioritise in my life.


 

I’ll be unpacking these themes in my October podcast episodes, which will be released on the 11th and 25th of October.


The podcast is called ‘The Truth About Ageing’ and can be found in your favourite podcast app (Apple Podcasts, Spotify) or at www.navigateagedcare.com.au/podcast


In the meantime, if you want to listen to my podcast episode on how to choose an aged care facility, you can find the link below:


Residential Aged Care Placement with Tamara - how to narrow down your preferences, what to look for on a tour, how to access emergency respite, when to access a private broker and what to be aware of in regards to costs.


Thank you again for being part of the Navigate gang. I hope you enjoy your long weekend in whatever form it takes.


Have a beautiful October and I’ll be in your inbox again on the 5th of November!


Big love,

Kate.


 

If you’d like to chat about your unique situation and gain a better understanding of options available to you, please book a free 15 minute consult via the ‘Book Now’ button below.





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