Perth and South Australia Village Networking Surges Forward

The DCM Institute have been pleased to facilitate another round of Village Networks in Perth and South Australia throughout the month of October.

In South Australia, a group of 14 passionate village professionals gathered at Lend Lease Vermont Estate for morning tea and a guest speaker. 

They heard from representatives at Wellbeing SA and Calvary Medibank about the new My Home Hospital service they have developed, being offered to all South Australians. 

This is a new initiative, allowing residents to access acute hospital services in their own homes.   

Village Professionals in attendance were excited about this service and there was a lot of discussion on how this could benefit residents in Retirement Villages, that may prefer to be treated in the comfort of their home.

Pictured left to right: Patricia Sanford, Bev Kukura, Mubanga Kalonga, Mandy Williams, Soraya Kumail, Julie DeVries

Following the success of the September Village Network meetings in Perth, another two morning teas were held:

In North Perth at Masonic Care – Lawley Park Village; and

In South Perth at Southern Cross Care – Foley Village 

In both instances Village Professionals shared morning tea and chatted about current challenges, common experiences and ideas on the many aspects of village management and sales, as well as a few well-earned laughs.   

Latest industry developments Things to watch

Rental Villages on the Rise: Eureka – A Case Study

Last week, in our sister publication- SATURDAY, we covered the subject of Rental villages and how this sector is fast becoming an area to watch, with some interesting initiatives.

Cameron Taylor, Group Chief Operating Officer of Eureka Villages shares they are being driven by a new ‘Resident First’ approach across their 40 rental villages nationally – achieving 98% occupancy

They are focused on residents feeling safe, secure and engaged in a village that is now genuinely their home. He points out to do this, every decision they make has to come back to make the residents time in the village the best it can be.

The average time a resident stays in a rental village is now 3.3 years.

Results have spoken for themselves, with the business growing their underlying profit before tax by 31% to $7.36 million and a total revenue of $27.5 million.

Move to permanent employed Village Managers key

Central to the strategy has been a shift from a contractor Village Manager to an employee Village Manager.  Other key changes that have been implemented:

  • Village chefs have taken on a second in command role and maintenance staff have been brought in-house to act as support staff.
  • Village Managers can therefore look after the residents and the support staff look after the Village Manager

Kitchen Club Initiative

Another key initiative is the Kitchen Club – this is where their cooks and chefs have a platform to showcase meal ideas, menus and food presentation to raise the standards among each other.  It has become a real talking point and a brilliant outcome for the residents.

They have also found it to be a real art to find kitchen staff who enjoy being around older people.

Home Care

With the average tenure at their villages is currently 3.3 years and average age is 78 to 80.  Similar to Retirement Villages, they are finding if care isn’t offered, they are losing residents sooner to residential care options. 

Following a recent survey 59% of their residents are on care plans and it is definitely an area for them moving forward.

More rental villages is the future

With expansion plans in the immediate future, so are plans of re-designing the product – whilst still keeping building costs low.  Their current project in Wynnum, Brisbanefeatured in the picture above, has been designed with higher ceilings to 2.6m, natural lighting and full size kitchen and appliances.

To read the full story please click HERE.

Key things to help you everyday Village Operator

Resident conversations: stepping out of our own perspective

As busy village professionals our days are filled with many different conversations from the polite ‘good mornings, lovely day’ through to more serious conversations about troubling issues or resident concerns.  

Many of these conversations will ultimately require a solution. So, it is easy when we are busy to slip automatically into solution mode, thinking we will need to be able to have the answer to every problem, or situation that arises. 

With that, we tend to fall into the habit of listening to respond or resolve.  However, often this has the reverse effect, leaving the person sharing their issue or concern feeling like they haven’t been heard.  

In my experience, effective listening is one of the most critical skills needed when managing complex conversations. 

In today’s fast paced world, people in general are craving to be heard and sometimes it is just the process of feeling heard that will be enough to resolve a concern.  

Listening Strategies

Over the years I have gathered a long line of suggestions as I strive to be a better listener; here are the obvious ones:

  • Focus and pay attention 
  • Maintaining eye contact  
  • Be present, remove distractions where possible 
  • Being conscious of body language, lean into the conversation  
  • Let the person complete their sharing before responding  
  • Reconfirm your understanding of the conversation details 

Then there are the ones I like to remind myself of when dealing with difficult conversations:

  • Know that I don’t have to have all the answers
  • Listen to understand, not to respond 
  • Ask questions to gain a more detailed explanation 
  • Listen with the pursuit of understanding  
  • Step out of your own perspective  

It is this last step that can often be the hardest.  To be able to step away and see a situation from someone else’s perspective is a real skill.  

We all develop our understanding, based on our own lived experiences and knowledge to date.  Without the willingness to listen, to understand and consider another person’s perspective, it is often very hard to reach a ‘win: win’ conclusion.   

Simon Sinek a leading public speaker and optimist with many videos on YouTube and a number of TED talks, reinforces these ideas further in his video Be The Last to Speak

Click here to view the video, which I am sure you will all resonate with.