As part of our Community of Practice, Autonomy First Lawyers work closely with New Way to Stay, a new generation consultancy business for seniors that provides a streamlined approach to later-life planning and goal implementation.
The team at New Way to Stay was called to help a man, aged 78, who was married and lived at home with his wife. The couple were self-funded retirees with two supportive adult children. The man had received an original diagnosis of Vascular Dementia and then a subsequent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease three years later.
Sadly, the man’s condition was deteriorating and needed constant care. He had problems with balance and short term memory loss. In addition, he had a pacemaker and his hearing was deteriorating.
His wife had recently been hospitalised as a result of the pressures of caring for her husband.
Goals and objectives
- To provide support for the wife so that she could continue to be the main carer for her husband and continue to safely live at home for as long as possible.
- Put a care plan in place so that the family can be prepared for the future.
Extensive client interviews and fact-finding regarding the client’s circumstances and options available followed. New Way To Stay (NWTS) then put forward detailed recommendations with options for service providers and an offer for the client to take up the NWTS implementation and ongoing advocacy service. These recommendations were fully explained in a Care Solution Report and are summarised below.
This work was completed during the COVID19 restriction period using video conferencing, email and telephone, with personal visits when allowed. The plan was developed in response to the client’s specific needs following extensive factfinding, questioning and analysis. The final stage was a meeting with the entire family to work through the recommendations and finalise their plan.
- The client had not been ACAT assessed. Given his deteriorating state New Way to Stay recommended that he apply for a home care package. There are advantages to being in the system sooner rather than later and the client would need approvals for respite and residential care. It is also best to apply before a crisis point is reached and stress levels are even more elevated. New Way to Stay would attend assessment meetings and assist with the process.
- The client’s wife would apply for a Carer’s Allowance.
- The family would obtain support from Dementia Australia via their Dementia Advisory Service. This would be free of charge to these clients. They were also advised to consider Dementia Support Australia for support around specific behavioural issues via their call centre service.
- New Way to Stay recommended that the family consider private dementia support such as counselling and emotional support services for the wife to help her to better understand her husband’s condition and provide her with coping strategies and tools.
- Respite options for overnight and longer-term were provided for the wife. Three options were provided within the couple’s local area. One option included a pick-up and delivery service for daily respite care for the husband. Places were found for the client should the family wish to take them up immediately.
- New Way to Stay recommended several Occupational Therapists from within their network with extensive experience with Dementia. An OT made recommendations to make the couple’s home safer and enable the client to remain at home.
- New Way to Stay recommended home security and medical alarm systems for the home. They also recommended several tools for use when the client is alone outside the home, including for monitoring his movements in case he wandered.
- Recommendations for home care providers were made. Some services were required immediately by the couple and were able to be purchased privately before a home care package was approved.
- An Estate Plan was in place but had not been reviewed for over five years. New Way to Stay recommended that they review it with their solicitor and also recommended alternative solicitors should they need them. The couple were advised about Advanced Care Directives.
- The couple had a significant sum invested but was not receiving any advice from a qualified Financial Planner. New Way to Stay recommended that they consider working with a Planner and gave them several recommendations. They also recommended Aged Care specialist financial advice should the client need to enter residential care in the future.
- It was recommended that the wife apply for short term restorative care if future hospitalisation was needed for her.
- Once all recommendations had been considered, a care roster incorporating daily respite, home care and support from sons and friends would be agreed. NWTS facilitated this via a family meeting.