How Bruce got his balcony room

When spritely centenarian and Alteris Lifestyle and Care client Bruce needed to transition to permanent residential aged care, the one thing he wanted seemed out of reach.

As a respite care resident, 100 year old Bruce loved his room and its east-facing veranda which allowed him to take in the sunrise each morning.

When the time came to transition into permanent care, Bruce and his family came to Alteris Lifestyle and Care hoping to find a way for him to keep his room. The adviser set to work understanding Bruce’s situation, including his assets and eligibility to pay an accommodation payment.

“On meeting Bruce, I established that he did not own a house and his total assets were $170,000 cash in bank,” the adviser said.

“As his assessed income was below the relevant annual income threshold of $28,472.60* and his assessed assets were below the relevant asset threshold of $175,239.20* he would be assessed as a low means resident which meant that he was not eligible to pay an accommodation payment.

“Unfortunately, the balcony room was for accommodation-paying residents only which meant Bruce was not able to retain this room.

“Understandably, Bruce was deeply unhappy with this outcome.”

After a long discussion with Bruce and his family, Bruce’s children explained they would be happy to assist and contribute the funds needed to reach the asset threshold if it meant he would get the balcony room.

Their adviser explained all the financial considerations Bruce and the family would need to take into account,  including the need for funds to be deposited in Bruce’s bank account in a short period of time and that their financial contribution may not be returned.

The adviser also encouraged the family to seek legal advice regarding the transaction and his other estate planning wishes.

Bruce’s children acknowledged that the funds may never be returned, but agreed their priority was to help their dad keep the room he loved.

To help the family understand the financial outcomes, the adviser developed a discussion paper to explain how the family contribution, combined with a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) and Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) strategy, could help achieve the desired cashflow affordability and estate planning outcomes that were discussed.

In talking the family through the discussion paper, the adviser was able to demonstrate how a family contribution of $6,000 could be used to help Bruce be assessed as an accommodation paying resident and how a RAD and DAP strategy could be used to alleviate any cash flow concerns, which came as a great relief to the family.

With Bruce’s time in respite soon coming to an end, there were some immediate implementation considerations for this strategy to be enacted.

“As a non-homeowner who receives the Centrelink age pension, Bruce would automatically be assessed to be a low means resident if he went permanent before the family contribution was made,” the adviser said.

“Because I had developed a great relationship with Bruce and his family, we were able to work together really efficiently to help reach the desired outcome for Bruce.

With the clock ticking, the team checked and updated Bruce’s assets with Centrelink to ensure his record reflected a RAD Payer status prior to his day of permanent entry.

“Amazingly, we were able to achieve all of this in four days,” the adviser said.

The outcome? Bruce is now happily living in his balcony room and taking in his much-loved sunrises each morning.

Bruce’s story is an example of a wonderful outcome achieved through open communication and trust.

“Bruce really needed someone to listen, understand what was important, spend time with the family explaining the options and provide support through every step of what can be a very challenging administrative process,” the adviser said.

“With the financial and emotional support of Bruce’s family, we were able to give Bruce the life he deserves, and we could not be more delighted with the result.”

-This article was originally published in the Autumn edition of LASA Fusion, a publication of Leading Age Services Australia


* as at January 2022

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