Sunday, 30 September 2018

Start Planning for Long-Term Care


Why and How to Start Planning for Long-Term Care

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70percent chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years.” It may not be the most pleasant discussion topic, but getting ahead of the game with long-term care can improve your chances of maintaining your quality of life for years to come. These tips will help get you started in the process.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Planning for Care

The first step is to plan. This can be done by assessing your likelihood of needing long-term care and making efforts to prepare for it.

Look at Your Lifestyle

Do you eat a healthy diet? Do you exercise regularly? Do you drink excessively or use recreational drugs? How you answer these questions can have a lot to do with whether you will need long-term care, as well as what level of care you will need if you do need it. Taking any measures you can to maintain your health can significantly reduce your risk of injury and illness. Also, eat with nutrition in mind, and make your body stronger through fitness. Don’t drink excessively or do drugs, and think of any other ways you can improve or maintain your health.

Modify It

You can also set yourself up to age in place by adding home modifications now that will be useful down the line. Do some research and think of any upgrades that could keep your home accessible when you’re older. A few examples are:

  • Installing railings on both sides of the stairs
  • Using automatic night lights
  • Removing all loose carpeting and/or rugs
  • Widening doorways to 32 inches
  • Installing levered door knobs

Moreover, making these modifications, along with others, can help you save money on the costs that come with long-term care.

Check for Hereditary Conditions

Considering your family history is another way to assess the probability that you will need long-term care. Is there a history of coronary disease, diabetes, early onset dementia, or other condition/illness in your family? Along with helping predict your chances of needing care, the answer to this question could impact whether you qualify for long-term care insurance.

Paying for Care

Next up is paying for long-term care. Here are some of the options.

Tweak Your Retirement Plan

A lot of seniors go to great lengths to form elaborate plans for retirement, only to leave out one important factor: the possibility of needing long-term care. If you do end up needing it and haven’t prepared, it can take a good chunk out of your retirement savings (if not all of it). Making long-term care a part of your retirement plan can help prevent this shock.

Consider Insurance Programs

Long-term care (LTC) insurance can be a great option to pay for future costs. Whether you qualify for it can depend on your age and financial situation. While you can apply for LTC insurance in your 50s or 60s, you can get covered at a better rate if you get it in your 40s. If LTC insurance is not available, check to see if you can add a rider to an existing life insurance policy, which uses a portion of your death benefits for long-term care.

Save

Another option is to open a health savings account (HSA). You can currently deposit up to $3,450 per year of tax-deductible contributions and an additional $1,000 if you’re age 55 or older. If you have a family insurance plan, you can deduct up to $6,850 per year. Also, any money left over in an HSA will roll over to the next year, and most withdrawals are tax-free. Along with HSAs, you can opt to use your personal savings. This means you save up enough money to pay out-of-pocket or designate some of your investment plan for care expenses.

Long-term care is not something you want to think about. It’s not something you want to plan for. However, it eventually becomes a reality for most people. The best time to prepare for long-term care is before you need it, so start planning for the possibility and costs today.


Article by Lydia Chan.

Lydia is the co-creator of Alzheimerscaregiver.net, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers. Her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Lydia found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with caregivers and seniors. In her spare time, Lydia finds joy in writing articles about a range of caregiving topics.


Saturday, 29 September 2018

Vic RV Laws Prevent Build For Rent RV

Put Care Back Into Aged Care

Retirees Want No More No Less Than Entitled

Cost to Taxpayer and Aged Care Budget

Negative Impact On Aged Care Funding

Time For Real Aged Care Reforms

Retiree Demands On Andrews Government

Negative Financial Impact On Retirees

Excessive Capital Cost For Retirees

NSW Retiress Want Ombudsman

Aged Care Staffing Ratios

Thursday, 27 September 2018

New Push - Federal Laws for Retirement Villages

In a new article by Brittany Smeed the case for federal laws for retirement villages is raised again.

"When ABC aired their Four Corners exposé, Bleed Them Dry Until They Die, viewers around
Australia were shocked to learn about the exploitation of vulnerable elderly people by the
retirement village industry. The public outcry and media attention surrounding these issues
quickly led to calls for reform and regulatory action across Australia. While some state and
territory governments have demonstrated a commitment to addressing the issues raised by the
media, we need to reconsider the capacity of state and territory governments to adequately
respond to a problem that clearly exists on a national scale. This article will discuss the
retirement village industry in Australia, consider the shortcomings of state and territory level
regulation, and suggest that further reform needs to be implemented at a federal level to account
for the changing nature of the industry in the context of our ageing population. It is argued that
the federal government would be capable of regulating retirement villages as financial
products, with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (‘ASIC’) and the
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) playing a stronger role in
monitoring consumer protection. However this requires a significant shift in the way that
retirement villages are viewed from a legal perspective."

The full article can be downloaded here - https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/1456015/Brittany_Smeed.pdf

Monday, 24 September 2018

Aged Care Royal Commission


The Aged Care Royal Commission and -

  1. The need for the royal commission to examine the negative impact retirement villages have on the capital base of Australian retirees and their subsequent reduced ability to fund or contribute to their own residential aged care costs
  2. With home care packages enabling a growing number of older Australians to stay longer in retirement villages, the need for the royal commission to examine whether the current jumble of state government laws will be appropriate for retirement villages into the future.

Retirement Villages Quasi Aged Care - With home care packages retirement villages are becoming quasi aged care. They must be part of the Aged Care Royal Commission as the negative financial impact on retirees living in retirement villages means they can require greater residential aged care funding when the time comes for that higher level of care.

Retirees can sell their only major asset the family home and pay an in-going amount to enter a retirement village often commensurate with a purchase cost, but granted only a conditional lease / licence to occupy. They then pay monthly maintenance fees, administration fees, selling costs on departure, a Deferred Management Fee often 35 % to 45% of the in-going amount paid, often they have little or no access to any capital gain, they suffer a devaluation of the refundable amount (the In-going Amount Paid minus the Deferred Management Fee) by CPI in each year of occupancy. All this on a property they do not own but simply have a conditional right to occupy. Vastly more financially punitive than under a standard residential tenancy agreement.



The table above shows the financial impact where a retiree stays in the family home or downsizes but maintains financial independence and some financial certainty by retaining property ownership. Their greater capacity to fund or make a contribution to their own residential aged care costs can be dramatic. The table also shows that other retirees can have a reduced capacity to fund their own residential aged care costs and will look to the taxpayer to fund any shortfall. This of course places an ever increasing strain on the commonwealth budget.

Retirement Villages are acknowledged as good social environments in which to live but they can come at a huge capital cost to the retiree, increasing their need for greater residential aged care funding from the taxpayer.




Federal Laws For Retirement Villages - Another critical matter is whether retirement villages should continue under a jumble of state laws or come under federal law.

The retirement industry direction for residential Aged Care and Retirement Villages is a closer relationship and where possible a joint facility where the operator is a registered care provider, providing in home care to the residents of the retirement village section through home care packages.

This will lead to an increasing number of aged Australians spending a longer period in retirement villages and potentially a shorter period in residential aged care, receiving commonwealth funding for in home care in retirement villages that operate under this jumble of various state government legislation.

Professor Tim Kyng from Macquaire University and Paul Latimer from the Swinburne Law School have both made persuasive arguments for retirement villages to come under federal law.





Their material outlines the many reasons why retirement villages should be under federal laws and well beyond the simple principals expressed here. It is essential the Aged Care Royal Commission look into retirement villages and the need for inclusion under commonwealth laws..

Summary - The record for state government reforms and better protections for residents of retirement villages has not been a good one. Simply maintaining the status quo will confine many older Australians to living in retirement villages as quasi aged care. Seeing them reside under a jumble of state government legislation, subject to increasing reductions in their capital base and generating an ever reducing capacity to contribute to or fund their own residential aged care costs.





How Retirement Villages Really Work



Saturday, 22 September 2018

Negative Impact Of Retirement Villages On Aged Care Funding

With home care packages retirement villages are becoming quasi aged care. They must be part of the Aged Care Royal Commission, the financial impact on retirees of retirement villages means they can require more aged care funding when the time comes.

Retirees often sell their only major asset, the family home. They then pay an in-going amount often commensurate with a purchase cost but are granted only a conditional lease / licence to occupy. Then pay maintenance fees, administration fees, selling costs on departure, a Deferred Management Fee often 35 % to 45% of the in-going amount, little or no access to any capital gain plus the refundable amount repayable on departure is devalued by CPI in  each year of occupancy. All on a property they do not own, only occupy.

When the time comes to move to an aged care facility the vale of their capital base is so diminished they have to go back to the Federal Government for greater assistance with their aged costs than might otherwise be had they chosen a different path than a retirement village.

Retirement Villages are acknowledged as good social environments in which to live, but they can come at a huge capital cost to the retiree and subsequently increasing the cost of aged care funding on the taxpayer.



Federal Laws Needed for Retirement Villages

There are many reasons why the Royal Commission into Aged Care should include Retirement Villages. One critical matter is whether retirement villages should continue under a jumble of state laws or come under federal law.

The industry direction for residential Aged Care and Retirement Villages is a closer relationship and where possible a joint facility where the operator is a registered care provider, providing in home care to the residents of the retirement village section.

This leads to aged Australians spending a longer period in a retirement village and a shorter period in residential aged care. Critically this will mean older Australians will spend most of their latter years under State Government legislation rather than Commonwealth legislation.

Professor Tim Kyng from Macquaire University and Paul Latimer from the Swinburne Law School have both made persuasive arguments for retirement villages to come under federal law.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3030570 -

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/Retirement_Housing/FINAL-SCLSI-RHS-16112016-MU.pdf

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/Retirement_Housing/RH-Presentation-16112016-MU.pdf

The proposed Royal Commission should at a minimum look into whether retirement villages, for the reasons outlined in the material above, should come under Commonwealth law.


Friday, 21 September 2018

Retirement Ombudsman For NSW?

Age Calls For Retirement Villages Into Royal Ccommission

Family Home Financially Better Than Retirement Village

Falling Property Price Danger For Retirement Villages Residents

Aged Care Royal Commission Must Include Retirement Villages

65 Days to Victorian Election

How Retirement Villages Work

Aged Care Staffing Ratios Letter Campaign


Thursday, 20 September 2018

Private Equity And Aged Care

Although written in 2007 this article is so relevant today as the government calls a Royal Commission into Aged Care.

Private Equity and the Australian Aged Care Sector


Article by Marie del Rama - Centre for Public Governence, University of Technology, Sydney.

"While some private equity activities have been highly publicized such as the failed takeover of QANTAS by a consortium of players, another industry sector is quietly being transformed by private equity's presence. It is the aged care sector.

If you are planning to retire or are reviewing nursing homes for an aged relative, the chances are the retirement village or nursing home is owned - or will be owned - by a private equity group. As we have heard often enough, be alert but not alarmed for some parts of the aged care sector in this country is now in the hands of the large private equity groups: Macquarie Capital Alliance Group or MCAG, Babcock and Brown, ANZ Capital, AMP Capital, CVC Citigroup and others.

Why aggressive private equity players should take such an interest in a sector that is by all means, intents and purposes concerned with looking after the sunset stage of life is a conundrum but upon closer inspection, it makes sense and is a logical business decision. It is a growing sector - we are an ageing population. There are many candidates on the waiting list for a nursing home place. The needs of elderly Australians will increasingly dominate the national agenda as their requirements and services will impact our economy and political decisions.

Previously, the aged care sector was mostly catered to by non-for-profit charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army and others. When I emailed a Uniting Church representative on why they were in the sector, their response was:

Caring for people has been a principal Christian activity for 2,000+ years. Churches ran the world's first orphanages, hospitals, schools, universities and hotels. In the 20th Century, Churches pioneered the care of older people...The first services provided specifically for older people were accommodation-type services for homeless older men or women. Convalescent and other hospitals were also an expression of this sense of mission to minister to older people.

In 2004, the Salvation Army sold most of its nursing homes to Retirement Care Australia, part of Macquarie Bank's private equity behemoth, MCAG. It was not an easy decision for the Salvos. Press reports at the time cited their decision to sell out was mostly due to the operating costs and the capital needed to ensure their homes were up to standard.

A reason Macquarie bought the homes is outlined on its website: The aged care industry provides stable, underlying revenue streams and predictable cash flows, primarily from government funding and subsidies.

AMP Capital, which is the funds management arm of AMP, bought a for-profit organization Principal Aged Care. For AMP Capital, the aged care arm is part of their Social Infrastructure Fund. This fund is marked as mature in the business life cycle, and investors should expect an annual income yield of 8-10% over the next 11 years.

Earlier this year, I made a submission to the Senate Committee on Private Equity. In it, I stated:

In entering not for profit sectors, private equity investors have turfed out traditional non-profit organizations as they compete for the same pool of government funds and subsidies. Indeed, the allure of government subsidies have made the aged care sector a most attractive, stable 'investment' as part of a 'social infrastructure fund'.

The aged care sector is too important to be carved out by the desires of private equity Wall Street-type managers for short-term gain. The long-term pain will be felt by most Australians, especially those who have people close to them using aged-care facilities.

On the positive side, the influx of money that private equity has brought into the sector is improving a lot of facilities. They bring a certain amount of professionalism and corporatism. The managerial and resource capabilities private equity have in contrast to the non for profits is incomparable. Of course, as private equity players have to make a profit, they usually focus on the high-end of the market leaving those who can ill afford aged care to the charities and non for-profits.

However, given the amount of money our private equity funds have in their respective financial warchests - surely, at the very least - they do not require the government subsidies that they currently use in their prospectuses to attract investors. In a competitive sector, subsidies have the unhealthy habit of distorting the market place. If private equity is the purest expression of unfettered market capitalism, why enter a highly subsidized sector?

After all, do we really need our public taxes to be subsidizing Macquarie Bank?"

Marie dela Rama
Centre for Public Governence
University of Technology
Sydney

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Aged Care Staffing Ratio Campaign

The Australian Nursing Midwifery Federation is mounting a campaign to secure staffing ratios in Aged Care facilities.

They are asking Australians to let their political representatives know how they feel on the issue. You can do so via this link - http://timeforruby.anmf.org.au

"There’s a law that means there’s one carer for every four toddlers in childcare. But in aged care, there are no staff ratio laws to protect elderly Australians like Ruby. Our nurses and carers do an amazing job, but they need your help. Go to http://timeforruby.anmf.org.au to let your federal politician know that they can’t ignore the issue any longer. We need staff ratio laws for aged care NOW."


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Retirement Village Royal Commission Called For

A Melbourne Age newspaper editorial called for retirement villages to be included in the royal commission into aged care.

Aged care royal commission needs to include retirement villages


"As The Age has said for years and demonstrated with many shocking stories, the aged care sector requires radical reform. Numerous inquiries have reached similar conclusions.

The brief needs to extend beyond what was announced by Mr Morrison. He neglected to mention retirement villages – a glaring and unacceptable omission. Such villages form a multibillion-dollar sector also plagued by many instances of poor treatment of the elderly and financial scandal. Evidence should not be shackled by federal/state sensitivities."


The full story can be read here - https://www.theage.com.au/national/aged-care-royal-commission-needs-to-include-retirement-villages-20180917-p504cj.html

Royal Commission Needed For Retirement Villages

Why the recently announced Royal Commission into Aged Care must include Retirement Villages.

There are many reasons why the Royal Commission into Aged Care should include Retirement Villages, attention should certainly be given to one critical matter.

An important point here is that retirement villages operate under state laws not federal laws as is the case with residential aged care.

The industry direction for residential Aged Care and Retirement Villages is a closer relationship and where possible a joint facility. The operator becomes a registered care provider and delivers home care packages to the residents of the retirement village section.

This leads to older Australians spending a longer period in a retirement village and a subsequent shorter period in a residential aged care facility. Sounds ok but critically this will mean older Australians will spend most of their latter years under State Government legislation rather than Commonwealth legislation.

One glaring example of the danger in this situation is -

Under federal law it is mandatory for an aged care operator to have an emergency evacuation plan and assembly point. Under Victorian retirement village law there is no mandatory requirement for a retirement village operator to have an emergency evacuation plan or assembly point.

Professor Tim Kyng from Macquaire University and Paul Latimer from the Swinburne Law School have both made persuasive arguments for retirement villages to come under federal law.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3030570

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/Retirement_Housing/FINAL-SCLSI-RHS-16112016-MU.pdf

https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/SCLSI/Retirement_Housing/RH-Presentation-16112016-MU.pdf

Retirement villages INCREASE the number of older Australians that are dependent on the taxpayer funding for aged care such is the financial destiny of retirement village residents. A flatter or falling property market into the future will make it even worse. When it comes time to enter an aged care facility older Australians living in retirement villages require this increased taxpayer funding as a result of the 'deferred management fee' purchasing mechanism inherent in retirement villages.


The proposed Royal Commission into aged care should look at retirement villages, for the reasons outlined in the material above.

retirement village royal commission

Monday, 17 September 2018

Royal Commission For Retirement Villages?

An advocate for retirement village reforms wrote to the relevant Ministers Greg Hunt and Ken Wyatt asking for retirement villages to be included in the Royal Commission into Aged Care.

"Dear Ministers,

There are many reasons why the Royal Commission into Aged Care should include Retirement Villages but I would like to draw your attention to one critical matter.

The industry direction for residential Aged Care and Retirement Villages is a closer relationship and where possible a joint facility where the operator is a registered care provider, providing in home care to the residents of the retirement village section.

  • This leads to aged Australians spending a longer period in a retirement village and a shorter period in residential aged care.  Critically this will mean older Australians will spend most of their latter years under State Government legislation rather than Commonwealth legislation.

Professor Tim Kyng from Macquaire University and Paul Latimer from the Swinburne Law School have both made persuasive arguments for retirement villages to come under federal law.   


The proposed Royal Commission should at a minimum look into whether retirement villages, for the reasons outlined in the material above, should come under Commonwealth law.

Thank you,

Les Scobie"

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Aveo Offers Alternate Retirement Village Contracts

The Sydney Morning Herald reports -

" Last week, Aveo announced it would be following its competitors to provide payment options to its retirement village residents. Aveo’s three contract options include the current contract, known as “Aveo Way”, and two alternatives, called “Certainty” and “Essentials”.

The move to offer choice follows similar moves by first Lendlease, then Stockland. "

The full story can be read here:- https://www.smh.com.au/money/super-and-retirement/aveo-offers-two-alternatives-to-its-aveo-way-aged-care-contract-20180913-p503hl.html


Royal Commission Into Aged Care

The Sydney Morning Herald reports -

The Morrison government will establish a royal commission into Australia’s aged-care sector following a string of horrific revelations of elderly abuse and neglect that have shattered public faith in the system.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce the dramatic measure on Sunday, as figures show complaints about the sector have skyrocketed and authorities have forcibly closed one aged-care service a month since a crackdown triggered by the Oakden nursing home scandal.
“Our aged-care sector in Australia provides some of the best care in the world ... However incidences of older people being hurt by failures of care simply cannot be explained or excused,” Mr Morrison said in a statement. "

royal commission into aged care


The full story can be read here:- https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/pm-calls-royal-commission-into-aged-care-after-inexcusable-failures-20180915-p5040n.html

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

NSW Election Retirement Village Ombudsman Issue

NSW Village Residents Want Ombudsman

Saturday, 8 September 2018

A Guide for Seniors and Caregivers

Making The Home Accessible


For many seniors, making a home accessible after they’ve suffered an accident or health issue is imperative yet difficult to do. There are many things to take into consideration, from making mobility easier to figuring out where any safety hazards are, and in some cases, it may be easier to move into a smaller home that better fits their needs. This will not only ensure that the home is accessible for all circumstances, it will save money as well.


Photo via Pixabay by Hans

Many seniors want to remain in their homes for as long as possible, and this can be a huge boost for self-esteem and mental health, which could also be a boon for physical health. In order to do this, however, it’s important to make some changes that will ensure safety is a priority. This might include adding small updates to the bathroom to prevent falls or installing lighting that will make navigating the house easier.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to make a home more accessible.

Add lighting

Lighting can make a huge difference for a senior at home, so it’s a good idea to take a look at each room to see where illumination could be added. Dim hallways, closets and pantries, and stairwells are great places to start. Angie’s List advises, “Make sure hallways are lit with automatic night lights, which will assist in navigating your home in the dark,” which is good advice for any poorly-lit space. Solar-powered lighting can also be added to the front walk, which will not only help guide the way to the front door, but also act as an added security measure.

Plan ahead for downsizing

Moving into a smaller home is a great way to ensure safety after retirement and can help a senior stick to a much easier budget, but it’s important to do some planning well ahead of the move. For instance, start going through belongings to get an idea of what you want to take to the new house, and what you can donate or sell. Take photos of the new place, if possible, so you’ll have a visual reference to help figure out ahead of time where furniture will go. Many moving companies charge by weight, so consider getting rid of heavier items of furniture that may take up too much room at the new house anyway.

Add safety features

Many seniors suffer falls each year in their own homes, and the bathroom is one place where a lot of accidents occur simply because of slick surfaces. Ensure that the floor is covered with non-skid rubber mats and that there is a similar mat in the tub. Add a grab bar and shower seat for good measure. In the kitchen, add easy-to-read labels to everything, and keep cleaning products well separated from food items.

Change the door knobs

One common obstacle for many seniors is being able to grasp and turn a door knob, so it’s a good idea to change them out for easy-to-use handles or levers. This is a wonderful way to give a senior their independence without sacrificing their health or causing frustration or injury, and it’s fairly inexpensive as well.

Making a home safe and more accessible for a senior doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. With a good plan, you can ensure that post-retirement is a happy, stress-free time, not to mention one that’s free of accidents and injuries. Do some research on the easiest ways to make a home accessible and start small, especially if you’re on a budget

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Deferred Management Fee Harm For Retirees

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Varied Outcomes for Retirees From Retirement Villages

Retirement Villages Impact Negatively On Aged Care Funding

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