Aged Care & Intergenerational Trends – what this means for your estate plan

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Written by James Kelly, Wills & Probate Solicitor 

The Federal Treasurer has released the 2021 Intergenerational Report. The report is intended to predict trends in various sectors of the Australian community which will assist government and business to plan for the next 40 years.

One area of interest to our ageing population is aged care. The range of aged care services covers limited assistance with daily tasks in the home to intense supervision in an aged care facility.

Government spending on aged care has increased by 40% since 2012/13. The 2021/22 Budget has allocated $17.7 billion over the next five years. By 2060-61 expenditure by government is expected to be $113 billion.

The Hospital Pricing Authority will have its role expanded to ensure that aged care costs are directly related to the care provided. In other words, there will be more user pays focus on those people needing services in aged care. Community expectations about the level of care provided and the quality of aged care facilities will be determining factors in the cost borne by government and users of aged care.

The number of people living in aged care facilities has been relatively stable in recent years but the number of people receiving a home care package is steadily increasing. Presently there are about 170,000 people on home care packages, an increase of 90,000 in the last 6 years. That means people will enter aged care facilities later in life and therefore have greater needs for staff and resources that will add to the expense. At present, on average women spend 5 months longer in home care while men spend 10 months longer in residential care.

The number of people aged 70 and over will double over the next 40 years reaching around 7 million in 2060-61. Presumably we will all want to spend most if not all of our latter years at home being cared for there. About 50% of current aged care residents have a dementia diagnosis.

The average length of stay in an aged facility has decreased from 3.30 years in 2003 to 2.96 years in 2019.

A move to care involves legal, financial and emotional aspects. At Owen Hodge Lawyers we have been practising in the area of “Elder Law” for many years and have great expertise in advising people about preparing for the future from the legal perspective as well as assisting those caring for and making decisions for those who may be transitioning to care. There is a minefield of information on the internet. In our experience the process of transition to care is not one where general information is helpful or of assistance.

Contact us today on 1800 770 780 or at [email protected] to discuss any and all legal questions you may have about transitioning to care. We look forward to helping you.

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