For most of us, knowing when and how to help an ageing parent can be an overwhelming prospect. For some of us, the need to assist a parent can be sudden because of a medical emergency - for others knowing help is needed can be gradual. But no matter when and how you've come to be involved, reversing the child-parent role you have always known can be a complex and uncertain journey.
The first step we all should take is, of course, talking to and finding out what matters most to our parents as their needs change. Ideally, we should all have this conversation before it becomes necessary, so we can explore what options are possible. If, for example, like most people your parent(s) want to continue living in their own home surrounded by the things they are familiar with and love, there are a number of steps you need to take to make that possible.
One of the main reasons many family members think it is no longer possible for their parents to remain at home is that they are finding it harder to keep on top of things, such as the gardening, housework, or shopping. We know most parents don't want to burden their family with such matters, and we know most offspring find it difficult to provide ongoing assistance. Fortunately, government-subsidised home care support offered by many home care providers, such as Community Care Tasmania, can help share the responsibility.
To find out what help is possible for your loved one, there are four key steps to take:
Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, or log on to myagedcare.gov.au
Call My Aged Care together with your parents. The MAC team will ask questions to help work out your parents' needs and care arrangements - this should only take around ten minutes. You can also ask to get appointed as your parents representative, should they wish to do so, during this call.
Have a face-to-face assessment
My Aged Care may arrange for a trained assessor to come to your parents' home to assess their eligibility for services and their needs, goals and preferences. Your parents may choose for you to be there to advocate for them.
Find out about costs
My Aged Care and service providers can give you information about costs. Community Care Tasmania has developed an easy, quick and free home care planning tool that shows you what is available and you can play around with options until you find the best fit for your needs with the budget the government gives you. Visit HomeCarePlanner.org.au to build your own home care P=package.
Choose a service provider
The service finder on the My Aged Care website can help you locate and compare service providers in your parents' local area. As services provided can vary, it is important to discuss specific needs with your assessor or service provider so that all aspects of care are covered.
If you are still not certain what steps to take, contact Community Care Tasmania on 1300 722 400 who is a Tasmanian, multi-award winning, a member-owned not-for-profit organisation specialising in-home care.