Navigating the Aged Care System

16/Dec/2019     HealthMater at Home

As families gather together to celebrate Christmas, it’s a good opportunity to pay attention to older family members as you may begin to notice changes which indicate they are not as independent as they used to be.

Christmas gives us the chance to have supportive discussions with elderly family members about their health, independence and where they might need some extra help or care. 

Director of Mater at Home Fiona Hinchliffe said often families leave these conversations until a crisis point is reached.

“We find that a loved one may have a fall or health incident and be told they are not well enough to go home,” she said.

“This can be particularly distressing for the family as they need to make rushed decisions and as a result their loved one may be resistant to going into care as they have not had a chance to come to terms with their loss of independence.

“Navigating the aged care system can be tricky, especially understanding what level of care a person qualifies for as there are many options for older people including home care, respite care, assisted living and residential aged care.”

Fiona says it’s important to talk with elderly relatives about their wishes and options for the future. These conversations may be difficult as talking about growing older is often sensitive, uncomfortable and potentially stressful for all parties involved.

She suggests having discussions during times of calm and good health, involving supportive family members and always keeping communication open and respectful.

“Avoid jumping to conclusions or making a decision for your family member. Try to discuss your concerns and provide examples that may be worrying you,” she said.

“It’s important you listen to your loved ones and understand their needs and wishes. You should always work towards a solution that is safe, respectful, protects their dignity and keeps them as independent for as long as possible.”

Fiona suggests looking out for the following behaviours as an indication your relative may need help,

  • Struggling with daily activities
  • Poor diet or signs of malnutrition
  • Reduced mobility or having falls
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Difficulty managing medication 
  • Loss of interest in previously important things
  • Social isolation
  • Reduced vision or ability to hear
  • Difficulty keeping the home clean or signs of an unsafe living environment

“Remember these conversations are coming from a place of love and concerns, as you only want your loved one to be safe, healthy and happy,” Fiona says.

Mater at Home has a dedicated Aged Placement Service (MAPS) to help find the right aged care option for families. Please click here for more information about MAPS email or phone 07 3163 3866.

Mater Aged Placement Service is a service within Mater Group. It has no formal affiliation with any aged care facilities and is not paid or remunerated by such facilities.

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