A good place to start

Grieving the loss of a partner usually happens after a death but, for me (and maybe you), that grief seems to be ever-present, even when your loved-one is still ‘here – but not here’. My wife, after more than sixty years of wedded bliss is, in most ways, lost to me now. Most days she still recognises me, but not our lovely children and other family. Does that resonate with you?

It became apparent over recent years that in the longer term I would no longer be able to care for my beloved wife at home, even though we had been getting home-help support for a couple of years.

As a family, we finally agreed to place my darling wife into full-time care. That was several months ago and already it seems like years. Fortunately, we found a suitable facility about three kilometres away, an easy drive or a ride on my electric bike (in fine weather!).

The process leading up to the choice of a care home will be explained in due course, elsewhere on this site, but before that, I thought you might like consider what it was like for me in the first year of our separation, after placing a partner in care….. You can probably imagine this scenario:

  • Visiting
  • but not being able to have a meaningful conversation,
  • walking together
  • but seeing different things,
  • sharing a meal sometimes, but then…….
  • coming home to an empty nest – a nest with a presence ’everywhere, but nowhere’.

At home: two chairs facing the TV, the table set for one, preparing a solo meal, a lonely bed – …..I don’t need to go on – it’s probably familiar territory to you!

This website is therapy for me, and I hope a help for you. It also may help me financially, too, if you take advantage of the offers of my sponsoring advertisers.

Placing a loved-one into care is a very costly move, financially and emotionally. I have stayed on in our modest villa at a retirement village and used our accumulated savings, plus more from my children, to partly pay the necessary Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD). But there wasn’t enough, even then, to pay the full in-going RAD of the facility. We covered the shortfall, in the way many other couples must, by ‘borrowing’ the difference from the Aged Care home. The interest on that is charged at a government approved rate and deducted monthly from the RAD. If you can afford it, you could pay the monthly interest from your own income and leave the RAD intact.

We were already on a Centrelink Aged part-pension but, as a result of our new separated living, it has been increased, for both of us, to the full pension rate and that is supposed to pay for our separate living expenses. Luckily, as result of a decision earlier in our lives, we have also have a small exempt personal insurance pension which will help me to cover my costs of remaining here in our retirement villa and the ‘extras’ charged by the Care Home above the pension income.

Because my wife’s Alzheimer’s had progressed more quickly than I expected, the decision to place her in full-time care became rather more imperative. My health, and hers, was in jeopardy and our children urged me to take some action, and I wasn’t entirely ready!

Inspecting appropriate care homes, analysing the financial aspects, getting our affairs in order and understanding the ramifications, takes time and effort as well as an emotional toll.

Now that I’ve learned more, I thought it could be useful to share some of the thoughts, ideas, and real-life information from that experience.
Perhaps it will help you to prepare for what may be a similar, unexpected, turn in your life.

  • On these pages you can discover some of the things you’ll need to check out when preparing for your new ‘separated/single’ way of life.  
  • You’ll find out that it takes more time than you thought!
  • You will see there are some unexpected costs.
  • That it matters how much we spend, how we spend it, and what’s left!

Check the rest of this site for topics of interest to you. Undoubtedly there will be other aspects you’d like to know about that haven’t been covered here. I most certainly don’t have all the answers, but there are lots of links to places on the web for you to go exploring.  So, let’s get started…Here’s one link of interest and there are other resources listed on the right: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/alzheimers-disease

Now, what’s next?

There are some very good specialist aged-care advisors in Melbourne and I am happy to recommend the one that smoothed our way through those twisted paths. Believe me, the fee will be worth it.    

If you live in Victoria but outside easy reach of Melbourne, let me know. I may be able to suggest a place to stay while you consult with a financial planner. If you live interstate, you will need to check the local availability of a specialist aged-care advisor. If you know of someone in your local area, let me know, it could help another person like yourself. As this site develops, I will add links to help.