Key things to help you everyday

138 village managers signed up to the DCM professional development program. Round Two of State PD days start next week

We are very proud and appreciative that 138 Village Managers nationally have signed up to our professional development program since April.

They are all now expanding their village management skills and earning points in their career development, plus equipping themselves for the requirements of the retirement village Code of Conduct that comes into effect 1 January.

With LASA now recognising the DCM Institute PD training program, each module completed can count towards a LASA’s Diploma of Leadership and Management.

The Retirement Living Council also backs the program.

The next round of professional development days commences in Brisbane next Monday 5th, Sydney Wednesday 7th and Melbourne Friday 9th.  Adelaide and Perth the following week.

You can join any time for this ongoing professional development program. The investment is $1850 for 12 months with attractive discounts for bulk registrations.

Check the website details HERE.


Reporting Results

Wondering why getting respite is so tough – check the Royal Commission

An aged care respite bed makes a loss of $67.47 per day.

This was a testimony in yesterday’s Royal Commission inquiry by Darren Midgley, CEO of the not-for-profit Chaffey Aged Care home in Mildura.

He said that respite care residents are charged a daily care fee of $51.21per day plus Medicare make a payment of $86.54.

The net result is aged care homes cannot afford to provide respite – which many of your residents may be keen to get to give a partner a break from caring, or for a resident transitioning out of hospital.

The impact on villages, and village management, is that you are likely to have residents at home who should be receiving a higher level of care.

Our advice: further build your relationship with local aged care homes you know and have confidence in so that you can be an advocate for your residents in their time of need.


What the research tells us

Retirement villages fill a huge gap in society – identified by the Royal commission

Retirement villages again and again come up as a great seniors alternative in the Royal Commission into Aged Care.

This has never been more apparent than this week when the Commission focus has been on family carers at home driven to breaking point, alone and with a home ‘not fit for purpose’.

The isolation of wives, husbands and children who become carers, with nobody to talk to day-to-day, nobody to provide even simple support – things like collecting extra groceries or even sitting down having a cup of tea or giving some support navigating the aged care system – has been heartbreaking.

The witnesses at the Mildura commission hearings talked of suicide, mental breakdown, broken marriages and broken families.

The concept of retirement villages, being a supportive community, homes designed for ageing, village management to provide support and financial certainty tick a lot of boxes.

Most importantly, when the carer is eventually on their own, they are not alone.

We forget these important points at times.


Latest industry developments

QLD’s Earle Haven Retirement Village update

Last issue we spent considerable time covering the reputational damage done to the retirement village sector by the failure of the aged care home attached to the Earle Haven Retirement Village on the Gold Coast – the aged care home is also called the Earle Haven Retirement Village(!).

In summary, there has been little news over the last two weeks as the village operator and the aged care operator have both got lawyers involved, so everyone is keeping their heads down.

We do know they are being referred to the Royal Commission into Aged Care – so more will become public.

Meanwhile on our DCM website, new sales enquiry for all retirement villages south of Brisbane is down by at least 10% compared to the rest of the country. Not surprising.

Earle Haven sales will be particularly hit. It’s a big village with 426 villas and 110 serviced apartments (total 536). Short-term sales are going to be tough.

With the 20% serviced apartments the average occupancy will be eight years, which means close to 70 homes will become vacant each year or 1.3 every week.

QLD has an 18 months buyback rule which could be challenging for the owner. If you can only sell half those vacancies over 18 months that will build to 100 homes the owner will have to start buying. They currently stand at about $250,000 each, so that equates to $25 million cash will be required – and growing.

For us in the village sector, this is why fast sales are so important – which is why ‘trust’ in retirement villages is so important – for our residents and for the operator.

All the research shows the Village Manager is pivotal in establishing and maintaining local ‘trust’, and sales.


Things to watch

Regional Meets: Adelaide last week

Around 40 village managers attended our DCM Institute regional meet last week at Brighton Dunes village in Adelaide.

These are quarterly events, free to all village managers, that we are building right across the country.

The idea is for Village managers to get together in an informal environment to network and share knowledge.

Last week we had two speakers. The first was Vanessa Clarke, the South Australian government’s Senior Team Leader, Office of Ageing Well. Vanessa is responsible for retirement villages and the government.

She presented the survey results of legislation introduced 18 months ago.

Vanessa also shared recommendations for dealing with tricky situations that occur in a village, the trigger events for refund payment timings, bullying, and many more topics of concern raised.

We were also educated on nutrition for ageing residents by a local food group called Thistle Be Good, who provide prepared meals for village residents.

You can organise your own regional meet on our It is easy with all the registration tools available online and we will assist you in developing a program.

Don’t hesitate to contact us via the website or on 02 9555 9576.


Key things to help you everyday

Emergency evacuations – do you have a plan?

Evacuating residents, especially in events like fires, was a big subject at the Kathryn Greiner retirement village enquiry in New South Wales last year.

At the Wollongong session we attended, a resident in a wheelchair who lives in fifth floor village apartment stated he would be ‘toast’ in a fire because the lifts would not work, and nobody had responsibility to collect him.

Remember, 60% of villages are over 25 years of age and if we are honest with ourselves, highly combustible. Last week in a rural Fire service training session we were told it takes just 10 minutes for the average house to be fully ablaze.

We report in The SOURCE at least five fires in villages a year – especially in winter.

Regulators are onto this, and the operator’s obligation to ensure that the village has appropriate emergency evacuation procedures/plan, and that residents are aware of them.

‘Aware’ means really aware; they know what they have to do.

Emergency plans don’t have to be lengthy or complex. They should be easy to understand and tailored to your village.  

If you do not have an Emergency Plan, it is worthwhile working out a serious one. If you are a member of the DCM Institute we can assist you with the documentation and also engaging with the residents so it is a positive experience.

In the meantime here are some points to think about:

  • emergency contact details for key wardens, for example fire wardens, and first aid officers
  • note down and share specific roles and responsibilities with each of them
  • list contact details for local emergency services (police, fire brigade, poison information centre etc) and have that prominently available at reception and office
  • create a process for alerting people of an emergency or possible emergency, for example a siren or bell alarm or door knocking procedure
  • create a process and arrangements for assisting any hearing, vision or mobility-impaired people
  • create a map of the village illustrating the location of fire protection equipment, emergency exits and assembly points
  • identify triggers and processes for advising neighbours, and the operator about emergencies
  • create a post-incident follow-up process, for example notifying the regulator, organising trauma counselling or medical treatment.
  • create a schedule for testing the emergency plan, say every four months

Having a plan is only one part. The staff and residents must be aware of the plan, remembering the staff and residents change over time.

Practising the emergency evacuation plan is also vital. Remember many fires, electricity failures, floods etc occur at the most inconvenient times – at night and on the weekend!

The regulator and insurers will also look for evidence of ‘practice’!

Reminder: as a member of the DCM Institute village manager professional development program, you will receive the tools to develop an emergency plan specifically for your State regulations. You can learn more about membership HERE.