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Would you rather plan for your funeral or your aged care?

According to a study by the US branch of Home Instead Senior Care, over 75% of Americans would rather think about what they want when they’re no longer here rather than make plans for later life.

Their survey, which looked at two groups – one aged 45 to 69 and the second aged over 75, found that while 73 per cent had taken financial steps to prepare for later life, only 13 per cent had saved financially for their long-term care. Over half the respondents who said they had made plans hadn’t actually made any arrangements either – mainly because they are still in good health (54 per cent) and they trust their loved ones to handle their arrangements for them (48 per cent).

It is important for people to think about care they may need. Findings by tas.health.nz indicate the current and future use of residential care in New Zealand:

  • Around 1 in 6 older people live with one or more long-term conditions.
  • While people are living longer, the proportion of their years spent living with some form of disability-related dependency is increasing.
  • Maori and Pacific Peoples tend to spend a greater period of their lives with a disability-related dependency, but are less likely than older New Zealanders to live in an aged residential care setting
  • There were 607,000 people aged 65 and over in 2013. This number is expected to grow to 1.6 million by 2063.
  • The proportion of older New Zealanders living in aged residential care has been decreasing over the past 10 years. Nonetheless, with significant population ageing, the number of aged care residents is expected to increase by up to 72% from now until 2031.

One thing few people understand about getting older is just how complicated it can be. There are a lot of things to think about: You are responsible for the payment of your care, if you do not qualify for a subsidy how are you going to afford care if needed? Would you prefer to you move into a residential care facility or have a home support service provider come to you? Or, what about moving into a retirement village who could deliver care into your unit without the need of you moving once more? If you wish to move out of your home, what type of facility do you wish to move into? What type of room would you want? What supports do you have to allow you to age in place? etc.

It is pretty easy to see how people can get overwhelmed and put off thinking about these things! But it is important that you do, even if you are in good health at the moment or think your loved ones know your wishes. It is more often than not that an event may happen that forces an older person, or their family to make hard decisions at an emotional and stressful time. If an older person has made decisions about what they want to do and shared this with important people, this can make the process easier, and less stressful for those involved. When older people are involved and in charge of their lives they’re happier. This means people should be making decisions for as long as possible, about as much as possible. With the right information you can trust yourself to make the right decisions. Never forget to speak your mind, no one knows you quite as well as you!

Things that can make the decision making process easier:

The Where from Here book contains all the information you need to get a handle on all the options available to you, or your loved ones. It also contains important information regarding subsidies, funding and payment of care and has information tailored to your region. Pick up a free copy at your local Age Concern, Grey Power, CAB, library etc. Or, you can order a book via our website here, or give us a call 0800 162 706.

Here is some more information that is important to consider:

Support services for older people are available to help you stay independent, participate in your community and continue to live in your own home, as long as it is safe.

Care Plus is available if you have health problems and need extra support from the health system – it ensures you get comprehensive care at a low cost.

You can access information about the certification and auditing of rest homes. This means that if you need to move into a rest home, you can make better-informed choices about residential care.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.