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The Cost of Retirement and Aged Care Living Explained

The biggest expense awaiting you in your later years is most likely the cost of retirement and aged care living.

Aged care often costs more than you would expect because of the many fees charged. Almost all aged care-facility residents have to pay a basic daily fee and a means-tested fee of some sort. Many retirement communities also charge accommodation costs and extra service fees for food and additional care services. These fees can quickly eat up a retiree’s savings if he or she has not planned for these costs in their retirement.

A good way to understand the true cost of aged living is to book an appointment with a financial planner. Bridges Financial Services is Holiday Coast’s recommended financial planner and these services are available to all Holiday Coast members.

A financial planner can also help if a loved one needs to move to an aged care community. You may need to rearrange some of the loved one's finances before going ahead, because means-tested fees are determined by reference to the   income level of the person to enter aged care. A financial planner can show you how to transfer assets in order to keep the aged care facility fees lower.

Searching for the Right Aged Care Community

There are some factors you need to consider when you search for an aged care facility for a loved one. These factors include:

  • Level of care - If your loved one is very ill, make sure the facility has nursing and medical staff available as well as fully equipped facilities. You should also check to see if the staff members are qualified to deal with particular conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Location - Try to find a facility close to your home so you can visit on a regular basis. Make sure other family members can visit the home regularly.
  • Social life - The facility should promote an active lifestyle for their residents, including activities to encourage the movement and stimulation of the mind and the body. Also ensure that the facility promotes other activities that can turn into hobbies, as well as being good social events.
  • Future caregiving - Ensure that the facility will be able to offer additional care in the future if a person’s condition changes and they require a higher level of care.
  • Budgeting – Use Holiday Coast’s Budget Planner to determine if your loved one’s (or your own) available income will pay for the level of care required.

Government Support

You can research what government support is available to you at You can usually qualify for a supported bed if the person entering the aged care facility has assets less than $300,000.

It is best to consult a financial planner about this, because there are many factors that affect eligibility, including marital status.

Home care can be a cheaper option if you qualify for the federally-funded Home Care Package. See for more information.

Retirement Villages are a Great Option

The retirement villages and resorts found throughout New South Wales in many cases provide the best living arrangements for older people. There are some great benefits to living in retirement resorts, including:

  1. No intrusion renters or investors.

  2. Onsite management handles maintenance and other chores.

  3. Facilities like libraries, gyms and pools.

  4. Unlike care homes, most facilities allow pets.

  5. Some of the communities are gated, which provides extra security.

  6. Having a community of like-minded people.

  7. In some cases nursing and aged care services are available onsite.

Be careful when considering a retirement village because some of them charge hefty fees, including an entry price and a departure or exit fee when people leave. Retire Australia provides more details about these communities.

We hope you found this article useful. We know this process can be a confusing one, so if you have any questions at all, we recommend that you allow us to make you an appointment with Bridges Financial Services.


This article provides general information only and should not be relied upon as financial product advice.

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