Preparing for the golden years

Guest BLOG from House Call Doctor

House Call Doctor are a team of medical practitioners who specialise in optimal at home, after hour’s doctor services across Queensland. As a wholly Australian owned and managed medical service, House Call Doctor cares about providing the very best medical care available in the comfort of your own home.  There is no need to worry about cost when they provide a bulk billed after hours doctor service for all Medicare and DVA card holders.  These doctors will even send a report to your GP the following day, detailing the condition and treatment that you have been given.

Check out their website today – House Call Doctor

Here is an interview with Dr Tony Tanious from House Call Doctor, who is an expert in family medicine and provides some great advice for older Australians considering their next stages of life.

 

Preparing for the golden years to protect your health and wallet

The percentage of Australians aged 65 and over will increase from 14% to 22% by 2061. As older people enter the golden years, it’s important to make informed decisions to protect their health and livelihoods.

It’s a common misconception that older Australians should move into an aged care or retirement home. Instead, implementing measures to make home environments safer can enable people to live more independently. Dr Tony Tanious from House Call Doctor provides after-hours home visits to older Australians:

“Many of my patients are older Australians who need unexpected medical care or support when their regular GP is closed,” says Dr Tony. “For these patients, planning ahead is crucial to ensure their health and safety is maintained throughout the golden years.”


To prepare for medical, family or financial issues that may arise in the golden years:

 

1. Ask for help

Many older Australians are hesitant to ask for help, after a lifetime of being independent and strong for their family members.  For this reason, approaching the goldenyears can be an overwhelming experience, especially when faced with aging.“Older patients often feel they’ve lost a sense of purpose or usefulness,” says Dr Tony. “This belief can have a severe negative impact on mental health, and for this reason, it’s crucial that older Australians ask for help when needed.””Many older people experience anxiety or depression after their transition to retirement. Reaching out to existing support networks, such as family and allied health practitioners, can allow the golden years to be a positive process instead.”

 

2. Helping others

On the other hand, assisting an older family member who may not be fully capable of caring for themselves, requires a support network for all parties involved. Approaching age-related issues as a family topic also reduces the likelihood of offending or alienating older relatives.“Offer to assist aged relatives as a helpful gesture, rather than forcing support upon them,” says Dr Tony. “This will allow your aged relative to feel in control of their situation, rather than feeling helpless or attacked.”
“Family communication is the key to supporting an aged relative cohesively. Meeting as a family and discussing areas where support is needed in a non-accusatory manner, will establish the areas of strength that each family member has, and clarify how every individual can assist.”

 

3. Assisted living

If a family member is well enough to live in a private home but needs assistance, organising a professional part-time carer can alleviate some stress from family members. Carers can assist with tasks such as transport, food preparation and even home maintenance.“Often, older patients do not voice their loneliness or express a need for extra support, in fear of burdening their family,” says Dr Tony. “Involving a carer into an older person’s schedule not only provides them with emotional support, but offers the expertise of a trained healthcare professional.”

 

4. Financial planning

“Responsibly preparing for the golden years also involves a level of financial planning, which may begin 20 years in advance. Retirement planning should evaluate specific expectations about retirement, retirement locations, any financial obligations, and also involve preparing or revising a will.
Five to 10 years in advance, older Australians should revise the gap between their current financial situation and proposed retirement finances. Older people may also want to consider accessing superannuation and revisiting their super contributions. In addition, people may wish to assess any skills that could provide part-time earnings after retirement.
“One to 2 years prior to retirement, a firmer assessment of finances and timing is necessary. Older Australians should ask themselves whether they’re financially on-track to retire. This is time to speak with your employer, check your home for maintenance or consider relocating, and receive thorough health check-ups.

 

5. Medical resources

Medical alerts can provide peace of mind to older Australians who continue to live independently. Medical alerts are worn as bracelets or pendants, and notify emergency services if activated by the wearer in a crisis.

“Everyone should have a regular GP for their ongoing healthcare, however for acute symptoms that develop after-hours, older Australians can seek a home doctor. After-hours GPs are crucial for urgent medical situations that arise unexpectedly, yet do not warrant an Emergency response. A consultation with a practitioner like Dr Tony is 100% bulk billed for all Medicare or Department of Veteran’s Affairs Card holders.