Aged care? Who cares?

A new book aims to debunk popular myths and strike a simple path through the murky maze of retirement planning, pensions, aged care, costs and entitlements for older Australians.

Above:  Rachel Lane and Noel Whittaker at the Sydney Launch of their book, Aged Care, Who Cares? last night

By Keryn Curtis

Helping ordinary people to navigate the complex waters of Australia’s aged care and retirement world is the goal of a new book launched last night in Sydney.  Rachel Lane from Colonial First State and Noel Whittaker of Whittaker Macnaught, a subsidiary of Colonial First State, have jointly written a handbook for consumers entitled, Aged Care, Who Cares. Where? How? & How much?

The authors say the book is intended to expose some of the common myths and misconceptions and provide simple, accessible information about the myriad choices faced by older people and their families about where they live, what care or assistance they may require and the various financial and other outcomes that can arise from making different decisions.  

As co-founding Director of Whittaker Macnaught, and many times published author and media commentator, Noel Whittaker is a seasoned veteran of the retirement investments and financial world.  At 34, however, Rachel Lane’s clear passion and interest in the topic is perhaps less obvious.

Lane says she has always had a strong affinity with older people because, as a child, her grandmother came to live with her family after her grandfather died. 

“I really feel an affinity with that generation of older people who went through the depression. I can never really understand what that would be like to go through but I can certainly see and understand the impact that it had on the way that generation thinks. Those basic things like being really frugal with money and not wasting anything.  

“My grandma would save money wherever she could; she’d see some meat on special so she’d buy up a whole lot and then freeze it away in portions. They didn’t have superannuation so the pension is a huge source of security. It’s easy to think it’s a bit crazy but it’s important to understand that generation’s logic,” says Lane.

The authors say the book, which features short, comfortably laid out sections with plenty of cartoons and simple diagrams is designed to meet a gaping need in the community for comprehensive, digestible information in one location.

“The flavour of it is, whether it is for you or for your parents or other loved ones, here is what you need to know, all the different scenarios, written in a simple language that most people can understand.

“Aged care decisions are often made in crisis mode and decisions are frequently made with the right intentions but not necessarily with the right outcomes,” says Lane. 

“Ideally you want to have time to consider the options, well before you make the decisions, but it’s hard for many people to have that conversation. And when you don’t really know what decisions might be involved and it seems difficult and complicated, that can lead to postponing the conversation.  

“But if you are aware of the range of issues and choices and questions you’re going to face, then you might be prompted to plan ahead.  Even if you are dealing with it in crisis mode,” says Lane, “there is still time to think about big questions like selling the house.  Even if it is only a few weeks.  But up until now, there was nowhere to go to get that information.”

Lane is careful to point out that the book is not intended as a guide to DIY financial planning.

“There is a desire to over simplify it. People should still see a proper financial planner,” she says.  “But the thing is, a lot of these discussions take place around the barbeque or the coffee table and often it’s misinformation, it’s just not correct.  Or else, people hear one person’s story and apply it to their own situation when their situation is entirely different.  Hopefully the book will help break down some of the myths and misinformation out there.”

Aged Care Who Cares? is published by Simon and Schuster and is available in bookshops as well as online
Soft cover: $24.99
Other formats: e-book (Kobo and Kindle version available) as well as a large print, hard copy version

Tags: aged-care-who-cares, book, financial-planning, noel-whittaker, rachel-lane,

1 thought on “Aged care? Who cares?

  1. Looks interesting. Your online purchasing rejected me. Can I buy over the phone?
    Kate Hennegan

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