Is it time to move your loved one into a retirement home?

Fact Checked
Updated 09/01/2023
Is it time to move your loved one into a retirement home?

The good news is there are a variety of options to choose from.

Time to read : 4 Minutes

Is It Time To Move Your Loved One Into A Retirement Home

Thanks to modern medicine we’re all living longer. These prolonged golden years sound great, but it does present a new issue around how best to support ageing parents.

Perhaps the hardest part of this process comes with persuading Mum or Dad to make a change — a shift that can be difficult for an elderly person, especially if they feel forced due to age or declining health. 

😐 Whether you’re looking to help them downsize to a smaller living space, convincing them to move in with you, or exploring aged care options, navigating these conversations is often a challenge.  

Although it’s an incredibly stressful time for everyone, there are ways to make a move with minimal angst. 

  • There are many different ways to care for elderly parents, and choosing the right option will require some research and careful discussions. 

  • Options include assisted living, such as a retirement community or nursing home, moving parents in with you, and a range of home care options. 

  • Factors to consider might be cost, quality of life, proximity or access to family and friends, and emotional wellbeing. 

Types of care: the good, the bad and the exxy

1. Moving your parents in with you

Moving parents in with you can be a great option if you have the space and you’re prepared for the change in your family structure and home life.

  • Ageing parents — even healthy ones — probably require some assistance with their daily needs.

  • This may include food prep, bathing, exercise etc so it’s important to understand up front who will provide this daily care. 

  • You also need to consider whether your home can offer them an accessible-yet-private space, and how this will impact other members of your family.  

  • You will, however, need to take into account the cost of an extra person or two when it comes to food, utilities etc. This can be offset if you qualify for a carer payment from the government. 

Cost: Depending on whether you need to move or make modifications to your existing home in order to ensure accessibility and privacy, this can be a very affordable option initially.

2. At home care

There are different types and levels of home care ranging from 24-hour, full-service care, which supports medical and non-medical needs, to daily or weekly visits from a health or home care professional. 

  • These services can be expensive, costing upwards of $500 a day.

  • It can give your parent more freedom and allow them to enjoy their own home longer.

  • You can be left filling in for workers if someone gets sick or need to be on call to answer questions.

Cost: The government’s Home Care Packages and Home Support Programme offers financial assistance based on means and individual needs for a range of home care options.

3. Downsizing 

Downsizing to a smaller home which is lower maintenance and offers more accessibility (no stairs, for example) is a great way to begin the transition for older people struggling with larger family homes.

  • This option can also be coupled with at-home care to make daily living easier. 

  • There are costs to be considered, including but not limited to – capital gains tax, stamp duty, moving fees and also the stress involved with the move (including getting rid of a lifetime of stuff).

  • It's good to consider a location close to family to stop your parent from feeling isolated and alone in their new home too.

Cost: Selling a larger house in favour of a smaller one often means increased cash flow, which can help with the costs of home care. Plus, a person’s eligibility for the age pension is asset tested (based on the value of your property), which could work in your favour.  

Aged care communities

When managing unassisted each day becomes too difficult, or the need for daily medical attention makes living at home impossible, elderly care facilities offer a good mix of medical support and social interaction. 

Types of assisted living options include:

  • Independent retirement communities — often self contained apartments with various community spaces and organised activities. 

  • Non-medical assisted living — staffed by domestic helpers and best suited to elderly people who are healthy and mobile. 

  • Assisted living for couples — ideal for couples where one or both require an extra level of support. 

  • Nursing home — provides 24 hour care by trained medical professionals. This setting often involves a higher level of security and supervision. 

Cost: The cost of assisted living can vary wildly depending on the type of support you need, as well the assessment of your (of your parents’) income and assets. 

  • Every aged care resident is required to pay a basic daily fee to the maximum amount of $56.87.

  • Depending on the results of your Income and Asset Assessment, the government will then determine whether you will need to pay a care fee, accommodation payment and additional services fee.

  • This can take the total daily cost of care into the hundreds. In addition to this, a Refundable Accommodation Deposit of approximately $470,000 is usually charged when your loved one moves into a facility and refunded upon exit.   

The bottom line

Once you have considered the different types of care, begin an empathetic conversation with your loved one in which you each share your concerns and discuss the values and benefits of your options. 

It’s important to remember that no matter what you choose, moving can be extremely distressing, especially if your loved one has lived in the same home for a long time. 

🫶 Your primary goal is to support and care for your parent(s), ultimately making sure that they’re as comfortable and happy as possible. With the right approach and an open dialogue, you can work together to find a safe and supportive solution. 

The information contained on this web page is of general nature only and has been prepared without taking into consideration your objectives, needs and financial situation. You should check with a financial professional before making any decisions. Any opinions expressed within an article are those of the author and do not specifically reflect the views of Compare Club Australia Pty Ltd.