Things to watch

Send us your positive Village Vibe stories to share

It’s easy as a Village Manager to get distracted and focus on the activities we don’t necessarily enjoy! 

But we would love it if you would share your experiences with us about something positive that’s happened in your village – a positive Village Vibe!

Send us your story in 200 words and a photo and we’ll start building a virtual wall of great memories.

To get the ball rolling here’s one of mine above!

Some villagers pulling a funny stunt on me whilst having a formal photo shoot at the village.  No, the hats weren’t part of the shoot requests!

When I got these photos, I went home that day with the biggest smile and smile every time I remember the fun we shared as a community.


Things to watch

Let them be Free – a Home Exchange Policy

In Jane Fonda’s memoirs she talks about Facts, Films and Activism during her life. 

Her activism is thought provoking, especially this quote, “It’s hard to have a happy life if you don’t have meaning”.  

Over the years as a village professional I have experienced all sorts of requests from residents and whilst No is often an easy answer, I’ve had to pull myself up and say, “Why not?”

One such example comes to mind — a resident wanted to participate in a Home Exchange program.  My initial response was ‘no’, visitors need to be accompanied by a resident as in the contract.

But I thought of Jane Fonda’s quote: what if travelling and sharing their home gives a resident meaning and purpose? 

So rather than stick with ‘no’ I developed a Home Exchange Policy & Procedure for the village in consultation with the Resident Committee.

Some of the key considerations included:

  • Getting the requests in writing
  • The Exchange visitor was to be of similar demographic
  • No visit was to be more than a month
  • The visitor was to meet with the Village Manager and made familiar with the village rules.
  • A breach of village rules would see the visitor’s stay terminated with seven days’ notice
  • All insurances and costs were the responsibility of the resident
  • No rent shall be charged to the visitor
  • Resident was to return to reside in the home

I found out only a few months ago that this same resident at the age of 87 was still participating in Home Exchanges.

If you have residents that love to travel share with them this great new initiative – The Freebird Club.


Latest industry developments

Aged care resources at your fingertips

As a Village Manager part of our job is being the resource centre to assist residents and their families throughout their life journey.

I often get asked by Village Managers, “How do I help family and friends make decisions about a resident’s need for more services, or an aged care package?”

Whilst My Aged Care is the obvious place to start, I also like to provide a link to our own Aged Care 101 It offers additional resources like videos that explain in plain English, what can be a very complex process.
(It has over 40,000 visits a month now)

You can also look to referral groups like CareAbout.

Building a link to a retirement advisor who specialises in aged care is really valuable.

You can ask Aged Care Gurus for a qualified advisor in your area. 

Form great relationships with local home care providers so that when that question is asked by family and friends you have all the resources at your fingertips.  


What the research tells us

Where do we want to live in old age – 30% need to move?

Australia faces a massive challenge delivering suitable housing for our ageing population.

The country is expected to have nearly 9M over 55s by 2034, that’s just 15 years away.

Over 2400 Australians aged 55 and over, took part in a survey recently conducted by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute through focus groups in metropolitan and regional WA, NSW and VIC, including older Indigenous Australians, about their housing aspirations in later life.

It found housing meets the current needs of nine out of 10 older Australians. But only around 70% thought this housing met their longer-term aspirations, so the other 30% would be seeking to move.

Regardless of their current housing tenure, 80% of older Australians want to live in a home they own, no matter the type, size or location which offers security in later life.

So, where do we want to live in retirement?

  • Among those aged between 55 and 74, there was a strong aspiration to live in small regional towns.
  • Those aged 75 and over were more likely to indicate a preference for the inner suburbs of a capital city.
  • Few older Australians wanted to live in the CBD of a capital city.
  • And apparently size matters, with 50% of older Australians wanted to live in a house with three bedrooms.


Key things to help you everyday

Resident well-being is more than a full activity calendar

The people in our villages are likely to be at various stages of their later years, ranging in age from late 60s to 100, some fit and agile others more dependent and anywhere in-between.  

‘Well-being’ is the new buzz word, but what is it?

As a Village Manager achieving resident well-being isn’t about

  • Having the fullest activity schedule
  • The latest and greatest facilities or technology
  • Getting 100% of residents to village events
  • Working against illness and making sure they stay fit

What it is about is having a genuine interest in supporting those living in our community to lead the life they choose.

As Village Managers we have the opportunity to listen and respond, to be the link and facilitator of information.

This can be done in different ways:  

  • Village interest groups – cards, walking, tennis, bowls, Local interests/service,
  • Local community activities – life-long learning U3A, Local & State government activities, volunteering,

And then with more support type services:

  • Meal deliveries, independent aides, home care providers
  • Council services – transport,
  • Allied health services, GP centres

Having a sense of the right times to step in and step out is of paramount importance.

Resident home visits

A good village plan is to have a resident home visit policy in place.

The visit, which should be done at least annually or at times when significant life events occur (illness or the death of a partner) can be a valuable tool for the Village Manager in ensuring he/she is empathic with the residents in the village.

The visit doesn’t need to be complex and ideally as a minimum it would touch on

  • Checking up on how the last 12 months have been in the village.
  • Any maintenance matters the resident might like to raise.
  • Discussion around additional support requirements – home care, transport, meals
  • Connection with interest groups both inside and outside the village
  • Update of contacts and personal information

There are many benefits to the home visit. 

It allows you, as the manager, to support residents, and in some cases, you may be the resident’s only point of contact on a social front. The home visit provides an opportunity for both sides to reach out.

It generates ‘well-being’ for both the resident and you – through the satisfaction of fulfilling our roles well.