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Carers in your village: understanding, support and a policy

While many of our residents move to a village to continue living a full and independent life, their needs and capacity often change as they get older.

For some, the changes occur slowly, and for others, their health and wellbeing deteriorate more rapidly.

Regardless of when they happen, these changes are usually unplanned and result in the need for initial support until formal assistance or services are established. 

Delays in accessing services, reluctance to address needs and the long wait times for Home Care Packages, all contribute to the increasing reliance on informal carers.

Carers and complexities

In our communities, we see the benefits of the vital role that carers play in the lives of our residents, but we also see (and may need to manage) the complexities when the carer is a spouse, family member, friend or even another resident!

We see couples where one person cares for their spouse, and then the carer becomes exhausted or unwell.

Residents become reliant and often a burden on good-hearted neighbours or residents, with the best intent, take up the role of carer for a neighbour and then withdraw their support as they are unable to manage.

Then we have family members who become full-time carers and want to be a live-in carer or, alternately, those who don’t see the need for support or care and are happy to let the Village Manager pick up and do what they can for the resident.

Yes, as Village Professionals, we see it all, and it can be overwhelming for us too.

So, what can we do?

The best strategy is to have some established policies or guides that your Management Team endorses.

Develop a policy for carers to live in the village should the need arise considering:

  • Approval on a case-by-case basis
  • Evidence of medical / GP support
  • Rights of residency, voting, parking
  • The obligation of the carer to abide by the Village Rules
  • Residency ceases upon vacation of resident and consider the termination obligations of the contract and legislation
  • Documented approval rather than a contract addendum

You can also refer to agencies who specialise in carer support:

Carers Australia –

Promote services available for older people and their carers:

MyAgedCare –

Act now; don’t wait

It is always best to develop a policy when you are not under time pressure or you already ‘have a situation’, when raising new policy guidelines can be misconstrued to being in response to one case.

Preparation of a simple document to start the discussion with your Management Team and possible the Residents Committee is a great first step.

Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments Things to watch

Welcome to Year Three for the DCMI Village Management Professional Development Program

Thank you for supporting us!

What a huge achievement by the DCM Institute team to be moving into our third year with consistent and growing participation in the Village Management Professional Development program.

We are all very proud – and appreciative – especially with the significant impact of COVID on DCMI participants and the need to restructure the program to deliver workshop days online.

We had to ensure you continued to receive great value, professional development and new opportunities to feel connected to the wider industry.

Sally boosts participant support

Six months ago, we introduced a participant care service to our program to ensure that participants continue to be well supported.

Sally Middleton joined our team to fulfil this role and she has conducted over 250 individual participant check-ins to support our participants achieve their learning goals.

Sally has also onboarded or provided portal refresher sessions to over 140 participants, and supported over 20% of participants to find the information they are looking for either in our online portal or on industry-specific websites. 

Jacqui boosts sales and leadership

Whilst COVID put a temporary hold on the face-to-face workshop days, the DCMI team continued to innovate. We engaged Jacqui Perkins to lead Retirement Village specific Sales & Leadership interactive masterclasses. 

Jacqui brings fresh concepts – always important with sales. The feedback on these masterclass sessions has been great and we have seen a number of sales consultants join the program to access these masterclasses and the valuable information available on the online Knowledge Centre portal.  

Face to face networking is back

However, what we are most excited about is we are heading back to Face-to-Face activities! Village network meetings have already been held in SA, NSW, Vic and soon to be ACT, WA, QLD & TAS.

Even better, we return to Face-to-Face workshop days in June. 

The DCMI team will return to the capital cities to conduct these valuable Professional Development workshop days. We are so looking forward to getting back to these sessions and the added value of the shared learning we get to share together. 

Please join us; please invest in yourself

If you are interested in joining the VMPD program, please register here.

Latest industry developments

Stockland confirms Four Corners is behind us: retirement village resale number best since 2017: 190 homes/3 months​

It would appear that the shadow of the June 2017 Four Corners retirement village exposé is finally behind us, with Stockland announcing they delivered 190 resales in the three months January to March.

This is 10% up on the same quarter last year and their best Quarter result since June 2017 when Four Corners did its damning and largely erroneous exposé on villages.

Stockland’s result is even better given they but made even better by the fact that this year it has four big villages less in its portfolio, having sold them to Derek McMillan’s Centennial Living in December last year.

Family home prices to surge

More good news for village sales, Stockland points out that COVID has driven 255,000 Australians to return home since March last year, driving demand for new housing, backed by stable, low interest rates.

See the consistency of new Stockland enquiries below.

Stockland further charts the decline in new builds in recent years and the lag that is coming in 2022 to 2025. Demand will be for 125,000 new homes a year while supply will be just 80,000 homes.

The pressure on existing family home prices will be great, generating faster sales to join a village.

The high level of demand for detached homes, represented by the light blue line in the chart above, while supply is the dark line and undersupply by units the dark bar.

Stockland land lease first month sales: 25 homes

At the same time, Stockland’s confidence in land lease communities is rewarded by achieving 25 home sales in one month in its first LLC development. See next story.

Latest industry developments

Land lease move delivers Stockland 25 sales in five weeks

Stockland is expanding its participation in the Over 55s housing market with ambitions to open 10 land lease communities in the coming years.

As we reported HERE, ‘Thrive Nirimba’, located within its $5 billion Aura community near Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, only began construction in October last year, and commenced sales in late February. They achieved 25 sales in the first five weeks.

It will consist of 244 homes and community facilities built on its 2,400ha AURA greenfield development. The LLC homes in the first stage will be sold for around $460,000, about $100,000 less than surrounding homes.

Stockland has a pipeline of 3,000 LLC home sites across 10 projects nationally and speaks to more acquisitions.

Key things to help you everyday

Does your role include marketing? Is this your skillset?​

Village professionals wear many hats and require both the left and right side of the brain. But is marketing one skill you bring to the job or should it be outsourced?

Marketing, and especially ‘communication’ – using words to take your audience on a journey – requires writing skills. This is especially so now in this digital world where the reader is bombarded with messages and it is so easy to just flick past.

Meaningful connection with meaningful content

The best way to create meaningful connections with your customer/residents at every stage of their journey is to deliver well written, consistent and valuable information. In marketing terms, you may refer to this as content!

But when I browse the branding and advertising content of retirement villages, the information is repeatedly one-sided. 

It is very specific information about the village, about the offering, a house for sale or communal facilities. But as the reader, how do I interpret this as valuable information to me. WIFM – What’s in it for me?

People are not looking for a house that is apparently for sale. They are looking for the warmth and security of a home in a secure neighbourhood. It is expected that it will be provided in a house – that is a given.

A marketer will identify that a prospective resident is looking for companionship with other human beings, not the fact that the village has a community centre.

Is outsourcing a better idea financially?

Creating the words that create pictures in the mind of the reader is a skill, and we don’t all have that skill. If this is you, why not outsource the task to a Content Professional?

It costs money but so does your time and effort if you are not going to get the same results.

For the purpose of this article, we point to a service we know – Content Republic – to give an idea of the investment required.

They will write an email for you from $300. This may sound like a lot, but compare it to the time it may take you, and how important it is to get a good result. If it has cost $5,000 to create five sales leads, $300 is suddenly very economical to keep them alive and bring them closer to purchasing.

Over three months you may send out 3 emails which is $900 and you can be confident you have done your best.

The alternative is to create the emails yourself and you can be confident that perhaps you will not achieve the best result, and you will not know.

You can talk to Content Republic by clicking HERE. Alternatively use Google to search ‘Marketing Content Writers’ for a range of writers.

Test one or two emails and be freed to apply your real skillsets where they are best utilised.