Ask the experts - Autumn 2020

Got a burning question you’re not quite ready to ask in person? Send your questions to our experts and have them answered here.

  • Autumn 2020
  • Ask the experts

Head in the sand

Q: My 63-year-old father has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He is obese and has back problems so he lives a very sedentary lifestyle. His GP says his diabetes could easily be managed through diet and weight loss but Dad refuses to address his health issues, saying, “It’s not that bad.” His legs are very swollen and red, and he has had a few eye issues as well. Is there anything we can do to convince him to get on top of this?

A:  A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes can feel very overwhelming and people may find that they don’t know where to start to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Change can be totally overwhelming, especially if self-care hasn’t been a priority. It’s important to find your father’s incentive for a healthier lifestyle. Everyone has something that they want to get or stay healthy for. Does he have grandchildren he would like to do more with or see graduate from school? Has he always wanted to take an overseas trip? Consistent, small steps can make a large difference to the health and quality of life of a person living with diabetes. It can be hard to know where to start but with professional support from his diabetes educator and dietician, your father will be able to make a realistic plan that fits with his lifestyle and current abilities.

Answered by Katherine Dixon Psychologist, Diabetes NSW/ACT and Queensland

Retired and rankled

Q: My husband retired last year and I have become frustrated by his lack of input in the chores and general upkeep of our property. While he was working I was happy to handle these responsibilities but I feel it is unfair that I have to play housekeeper while he snoozes in his recliner all day. He claims I am inventing jobs for him to do (No, I am not). Has anyone else had this problem and how did you tackle it?

A: It is definitely unfair that you are lumped with the domestic duties while hubby lives the good life. When my wife and I retired we decided to divide the chores based on our interests and strengths. She loves to garden so the outside of the house is her domain—she would much prefer to mow the lawn than clean the kitchen (that’s my job). We share the cooking and the laundry. Sit down with your husband and work up a weekly chore schedule both of you feel is fair. Aim to get the daily to-do list done before midday so you can have lunch and spend the rest of the day relaxing.

Answered by Darryl M, National Seniors member

Rent assistance

Q: My spouse and I recently investigated eligibility for rent assistance when we moved from our home into a retirement village. We were unsuccessful in our application for rent assistance, and it appears the rules are very different depending on whether you live in an over-50s village or retirement village. In the first instance, it appears qualification is automatic if you receive part pension and is then dependent on the amount of monthly/weekly fees paid. In the second instance, the hurdle is much more difficult and it appears that if your entry fee is above $210,500 (the difference between non-homeowner and homeowner asset allowance), you are automatically excluded from rent assistance. Is this correct?

A: Centrelink will assess your rent assistance application when moving into a retirement village using the size of your entry contribution and not your ongoing fees, making whether you are a homeowner or not irrelevant. If the entry contribution is less than $210,500, you would be considered a non-homeowner and the ongoing costs may mean you would be eligible for rent assistance. When you purchase a villa or unit in a retirement village, it is the same as if you purchased a house or unit. Retirement villages are governed under the retirement Village act. While over-50s or lifestyle villages may be promoted as retirement villages, they are NOT defined as such in legislation. These types of accommodation arrangements are governed under the State or Territory Acts relating to relocatable homes or caravans, as you do not have any rights to the land. The site fees could entitle the occupant to rent assistance if they are eligible to claim government assistance. I think the main concern is having the most suitable housing arrangement and,if you are entitled to rent assistance then that is a bonus.

Answered by Robyn, National Seniors Financial Literacy Service