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Retirement village contract terminology is our downfall, says LASA

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) is lobbying state governments reviewing their retirement village acts to use standardised terms to help prospective residents understand their contracts.

‘Hallelujah’ I hear you cry!

LASA’s Principal Living & Seniors Housing, Paul Murphy, says the current contract terminology is harming retirement villages and surely he has a valid point.

“Terms such as ‘ingoing contribution’, ‘exit entitlement’, ‘premium’ and ‘deferred management fee’ are not terms that clearly articulate their intent,” he said.

“The Deferred Management Fee is also foreign to prospective residents. It is not really a fee. It is the lease payment for tenure in the village.”

He published a graphic (pictured above) which seeks to standardise the contract terminology across the nation.

Would you prefer talking to prospective residents about a “bond”, “bond refund” or “lease payment”?

Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments

The state looking to cut exit entitlement timeframe

The Queensland Government is seeking your feedback after an independent review recommends reducing the time frame to pay exit entitlements to 12 months of a resident’s departure.

In addition, the independent review recommends the operator only be given a further six months to withhold the exit entitlement and to broaden the grounds on which the extension can be granted.

“It is important to get this right, so we are seeking feedback from those who are engaged with retirement villages in any way, about the benefits, costs and implementation challenges of the recommendations,” said Communities and Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch (pictured).

The recommendations if implemented would have a marked effect on budget forecasts and village improvements over the short term.

To provide feedback on the Government response, click here.

Things to watch

Boomers have unfinished business

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a very interesting webinar with Bronwyn White, who has been researching Baby Boomers for the last 20 years.

There were some very interesting insights from the webinar which focused on Marketing to Baby Boomers and I thought I would share just a few. She found that:

  • 80% of Baby Boomers feel like they’re being ignored or they’re invisible;
  • 94% dislike the messaging tone or words used to describe them or entice them;
  • 25% of Boomers hold onto 56% of Australia’s wealth, and
  • 85% of females influence all decision making in homes across Australia and cautioned us to think about the influence Boomer women maybe having on their children’s and parents purchasing decisions.

Bronwyn said there was strong evidence that family is paramount to the boomer and shared the importance of including dialogue and photography that included family when marketing to the boomer.

But one of the most interesting things to me was that she indicated that the research showed most Boomers aren’t done yet!  In fact, they see themselves as having Unfinished Business! 

Some want to start a new business, complete a PhD, live overseas and experience a different culture. Essentially, they are still searching for purpose, significance and the ability to continue to grow, learn and be adventurous.

Bronwyn made a throwaway line “will we be seeing incubator sessions in villages” ….

This is an interesting proposition, but whether we will or we won’t see incubator sessions in villages is to be debated. 

Those of us with a larger number of Boomers in our villages are certainly seeing that the desire for activities, engagement and entertainment is high, with many residents still engaged in external activities such as existing businesses, holding board positions, volunteering, and contributing interest groups. 

It begs the question, how villages will support/facilitate the continuation of these activities as the Boomer ages and it becomes harder to participate, contribute, travel and get to entertainment activities?

Things to watch

Is your village dementia-friendly?

Back in 2019 I wrote about a new program Dementia Australia had developed called Dementia Friendly communities Dementia-friendly communities​ | DCM Institute ( There are now 51 regions that have implemented the Dementia Friendly communities’ program in their local area.

By 2058 the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to almost 1.1 million. Anecdotally I am hearing the impact of this increase is already being felt in villages across the country as its prevalence increases with this next generation as residents live longer in villages.

Dementia can be a significant contributor to behaviour change.

“There are many reasons why a person’s behaviour may be changing. Dementia is a result of changes that take place in the brain and affects the person’s memory, mood and behaviour. Sometimes the behaviour may be related to these changes taking place in the brain,” says Dementia Australia.

Managing changed behaviours can be very difficult and is often a matter of trial and error.

I know it can be hard sometimes if someone is acting angrily towards you but try to remember that the behaviour is often not deliberate. Anger and aggression are often directed against those closest to a resident, family members, neighbours, village professionals and carers can be included in this.

The behaviour is often out of the person’s control and they themselves may be quite frightened by it. Sometime trying a reassuring approach may assist.

Dementia Australia recommends the following strategies you can try when dealing with these situations:

  • A calm, unstressed environment in which the person with dementia follows a familiar routine can help to avoid some difficult behaviours;
  • Try to keep the environment familiar. People with dementia can become upset if they find themselves in a strange situation or among a group of unfamiliar people where they feel confused and unable to cope;
  • The frustration caused by being unable to meet other people’s expectations may be enough to trigger a change in behaviour;
  • If behaviour becomes difficult, it is best not to attempt any form of physical contact such as restraining, leading them away or approaching from behind. It may be better to leave them alone until they have recovered, or call a friend or neighbour for support;
  • Try not to take it personally;
  • Try not to use a raised voice;
  • Avoid punishment. The person may not remember the event and is therefore not able to learn from it;
  • Speak slowly, in a calm and reassuring voice, and
  • Try not to become provoked or drawn into an argument.

Dementia Australia also boasts some great resources with further information on understanding and coping with changed behaviours.

Changing behaviours and dementia

Changed behaviours and dementia 1 – Changed behaviours

Coping with behaviour changes

Coping with behaviour changes | Dementia Australia

Training courses.

Courses – Centre for Dementia Learning | Dementia Australia.