Aging population demands different advice Posted on 10th April, 2017 at 8:36 AM Paul Dwyer

Aging population demands different advice

The rising incidence of dementia underscores the need for professional aged care advice

10 Apr 2017By Daniel Paperny

Financial advisers must adopt a more holistic approach to cater to the changing needs of elderly clients, a problem that will become more pronounced as Australians’ life expectancy grows.

That is the view CoreData research analyst Luke Trevenen, who said clearly articulating the specifics of aged care requirements to all those involved in the “often emotional decision-making process” remained a key challenge for advisers, particularly in the event that a client develops dementia or another debilitating illness.

Trevenen said that in the wake of incoming reforms to Australia’s aged care system, dementia was “a ticking time bomb” for the government and was also an issue that put the spotlight on the value of financial planning.

“While the government has clearly signalled its intent to keep people in their homes longer through reforms to aged care funding mechanisms favouring lower cost home care packages, the rise in dementia will ensure residential aged care remains just as relevant and costly,” Trevenen said.

“Planners need to broach the reality with clients that as people are living longer, the number of people with dementia is increasing and planning for what might happen if you were to lose the capacity to make your own decisions is critical.”

According to Trevenen, the incidence of dementia in Australia is expected to increase by 90 per cent and affect more than 760,000 people over the next 20 years, placing it at the forefront of Australia’s aged care problem.

He cited figures from a report from Alzheimer’s Australia in February, which revealed aged care costs for dementia currently sit at $14 billion annually and are expected to surge to $36 billion by 2056.

Trevenen argued the government’s funding of initiatives for addressing Australia’s aging population has to date “inadequately addressed” the key structural needs of dementia sufferers and their families.

“Australia appears to have no clear strategy to either reduce dementia incidence or onset, or find appropriate and reasonable funding models that take into account the fact that many people may be willing, yet unable, to age in their home,” he said.

“While allowing people to age in their homes is a more sustainable solution to Australia’s aged care needs, it also increases the burden on families and service providers to get involved in decision-making and find solutions that work for those who are mentally incapacitated.”

Aging population has to date “inadequately addressed” the key structural needs of dementia sufferers and their families.

“Australia appears to have no clear strategy to either reduce dementia incidence or onset, or find appropriate and reasonable funding models that take into account the fact that many people may be willing, yet unable, to age in their home,” he said.

“While allowing people to age in their homes is a more sustainable solution to Australia’s aged care needs, it also increases the burden on families and service providers to get involved in decision-making and find solutions that work for those who are mentally incapacitated.”


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