Are you making one of the toughest decisions in your life?

Q: What is a family conference, and how could it help our family come to a decision from the available options for our mother who is moving into an aged care facility?

A: You might recall the last time you had a family event, the issues and stress involved.

In many cases, the decision to move an elderly parent into care rests with the children. This is one of the hardest decisions that you and your siblings will ever need to make. Working with your siblings to make an informed financial decision by accessing aged care advice is recommended. Seeking this advice continues to grow in popularity as our population ages and lives longer into retirement.

Once appointed, your adviser can help you and your family to make an informed decision, whilst taking into consideration the impact to your financial situation, age pension entitlements and aged care costs. Making the wrong decisions could result in a loss of age pension, increased aged care costs and a reduced estate to be passed on to the next generation.

What is a family conference?

It is a gathering of all stakeholders (of the elderly person) with the objective of having advice and recommendations presented whilst ensuring all parties concerns are addressed and all questions are answered.

What happens during the conference?

During this conference, the aged care adviser has a dual role:

  • They act as the facilitator between the parties to ensure open, honest and constructive communication.
  • They outline how the advice will assist (the elderly person) to achieve their stated goals and objectives. This can be to retain and rent the family home, sell assets and other alternatives. The advice is contained within an advice document which includes the available options and recommended course of action to reduce aged care fees, maximise the age pension and the overall impact on the elderly persons financial affairs.

How does it help?

In many situations, our firm will be engaged by only one or two key members of a family. By having the family conference, this reduces the stress and anxiety of being able to communicate the advice to other members of the family and which option might be most suitable.

What does it achieve?

Having siblings and other important members of the family involved in the advice and decision-making process is important. Addressing the key issues and making financial decisions that could impact the level of care is complicated, particularly if you are excluded from the process and have no relationship with the aged care adviser.

We have found this a very effective tool to reduce conflict between siblings and overcome competing priorities with a decision being made which is in the best interest of the elderly parent who is moving into care.

What does it cost?

Aged care advice is delivered on a fee for service basis with the adviser outlining the costs involved and services to be delivered. The cost is dependent upon the scope of the work, complexity and the different options to be considered. Adding on a family conference does increase the cost but it delivers an important mechanism to assist families to make an informed decision via a productive and open forum.

So what is next?

Should you need assistance to ensure all members of your family can make an informed collective decision, please contact us to discuss the opportunity of a family conference. An adviser who is an aged care specialist can assist your family to make informed decisions with optimal outcomes when placing an elderly parent into care.