Latest industry developments

Changes at the DCM Institute: Jodie Prosser pulls back

After 4.5 years, our great friend and inspiration, Jodie Prosser, has decided to pull back from her deep engagement in the DCM Institute to focus on her close and extended family.

Jodie will remain as our ‘Adjunct Professor’, providing a regular eye on content development and occasional PD Day attendance, not to mention the VILLAGE SUMMIT.

Satisfaction and professional development

It has been quite a journey. Jodie, Jill Donaldson and I (later joined by Judy Martin) read the market research report from our 2018 DCM Resident Research project, where nearly 20,000 residents reported their village manager was either the greatest source of satisfaction for living in a village or, when skills were lacking, the greatest source of dissatisfaction (pictured below).

Jodie, with all of her adult life engaged in managing villages, said we could shape not a training program, but rather an ongoing professional development program to support village managers to deliver the best outcomes for residents.

And that is what Jodie did.

Along the way we travelled together for three weeks in America to learn about other models. We were joined by Judy Martin in Boston and Washington after Judy was elected Chairperson of the world peak body, the Global Ageing Network, in Toronto. The experience and talent across the two of them is quite remarkable. (Jodie photographed below with the designer of the original Apple Macintosh in San Francisco on a Village Summit fact finding trip).

Then last year, despite COVID-19, we travelled to New Zealand and established the Te Ara Institute, a joint venture with the Retirement Villages Association of New Zealand, providing tailored professional development programs there.

We have had great support from Sally Middleton as liaison with DCMI participants and Tania Kelly making the operations side hum.

New expertise

We are now pleased to announce the appointment of Tiffany Follbigg as National DCMI Administrator, who brings a wealth in Learning and Development experience from the home care sector.

Connie Comber also joins us as Regional Manager to provide participant support. Connie has been a Village Manager in a large regional centre, plus she is a highly qualified dispute mediator.

We are seeking to employ a second Regional Manager to work with Connie. You can see our announcement below.

Roxy D’Silva is on maternity leave for the next three months.

And Judy Martin continues in her leadership role as Director – Industry Engagement.

550 participants

Today we have over 550 DCMI participants, a number we could have only dreamt of four years ago. So thanks to you for your faith and thanks again to Jodie for her vision and professional execution, while not forgetting Judy as our early partner.

And more is to come.


Seeking a Regional Manager

  • Supporting DCMI Institute participants in Professional Development programs
  • Liaising with retirement village operators to engage new village managers
  • Tracking village sector state regulations and compliance

With more than 550 participants in the DCM Institute village management professional development program, we are seeking an additional Regional Manager to support existing participants and operators, plus new entrants to our ongoing 12-month program.

You will have experience as a Village Manager or within head office village management. You will naturally be a people person and have strong self management skills.

The role is Sydney-based and will require occasional travel.

This is a vitally important role and will provide high career satisfaction.

Please contact Antonia Norris for more information &/or provide your CV in confidence. 

Key things to help you everyday

Team Culture: we all want it, but how to build it?

We all understand that having a positive team culture can transform the quality of our daily work life, plus transform what we achieve individually and as a team.

Having an effective retirement village team is doubly important because each member is interacting with residents every day but often alone (think maintenance and office reception).

But what is team culture?

Team culture is a combination of:

  • Values,
  • Beliefs, and
  • behavioural norms

 that team members share.

It can be seen in the way leaders and followers behave when representing the company.

A good team culture has several identifiers, such as:

  • It includes great leaders
  • It develops a great and satisfying place to work
  • It produces more engaged work colleagues 
  • It reduces interpersonal conflicts
  • It reduces turnover

Telling questions: how to build a good team culture

Begin by understanding the existing culture. Use the following checklist of questions to assess it:

  • What are the corporate values?
  • What is the level of employee awareness of corporate values?
  • What are the values reflected in worker behaviour?
  • What are the values reflected in managerial behaviours?
  • Are employees supportiveness?
  • Do workers respect each other?
  • Are there shared beliefs in achieving business goals?
  • Does management act to communicate, maintain, or improve team culture?
  • Are there operational processes that support healthy staff behaviours?
  • Are there managerial activities that negatively influence staff behaviours?
  • What are the company policies and protocols that guide staff behaviour?

Activities for promoting a strong company culture

1.    Stakeholder feedback

Request the feedback of employees, clients, and other external stakeholders regarding staff values, beliefs, and norms of behaviour.

2.    Culture of the management

The culture of the company leaders is likely to have a bigger influence on team culture than any other factor. In a good team culture, the senior managers are its main advocates.

3.    Reward workers who reflect the team culture

To promote a strong team culture, it’s important to show your employees that you value their contributions to it.

4.    Hire people who suit the team culture

It’s important to hire employees who can support your team culture instead of sabotage it.

Most important of all, a positive team culture develops a great and satisfying place to work. And that must be good.

Key things to help you everyday

How easy is it to exit a resident?

At our May PD Day around the country, we asked our legal partners in each state to walk us through the laws and regulations around the exiting a resident from retirement village.

It was universally recognised as a regrettable objective, and one not attempted lightly.

It was explained that there does exist pathways through tribunals and outside experts say in the realm of dementia, but at the end of the day in every state it was acknowledged that there is no failsafe way to achieve the exit.

Firstly, the many months to years it takes to go through a tribunal makes this a rarely attempted route. With behaviour that is dangerous or negative to the overall ability of residents to lead a quiet and unsettled existence, there is little that can be implemented to expedite a departure.

In other words, it is a task of negotiation, mediation and persistence with the resident or their family to achieve the exit.

This is far from satisfactory for village residents, their families and the operator staff. But this is the fact that remains.

What the research tells us

Running the numbers: how many people will a village support in its lifetime? Around 560 across 32 years

Our colleague Jake Nelson wrote this article on Tuesday in the SOURCE. We thought it may interest you if you missed it.

560 residents pass through a village in its life

As the population continues to age and the baby boomers look to downsize, having a good supply of retirement village and seniors living stock is important to any local council – but a given village may not support as many people over its life as you might think.

Suppose we have a brand-new village that sells out all of its 100 units in its first year. Most villages will turn over its resident population roughly every eight years, and it likely has a lifespan of about 32 years where it still looks good to the market.

In the first year, around 70% of its new residents will be couples and 30% singles, meaning a total population of around 170 people. After eight years, this trend reverses – 30% of new residents will be couples and 70% singles, meaning the next “generation” of residents is around 130. If the same 30/70 split persists, then over the course of its four turnovers of residents, the village will support a total of just 560 people.

All this means that a single retirement village in a local government area is not going to meet that council’s requirements for seniors housing, and the area may need five to 10 villages – or another form of seniors housing that can accommodate more people.

Food for thought!

Things to watch

Pets and a service you may not know about

More pets are being allowed into retirement villages, which is great. But what happens when the owner needs to go to hospital and the pet needs to be left behind for a period?

LDK Greenway Views village manager Michelle Bennet said the Brisbane-based owner/operator considers the trip hazard of pets around its villages is far outweighed by residents keeping their companions.

Andrew Rambow and his four-year-old border-collie Rosy (pictured) arrived at LDK Greenway Views in Tuggeranong, Canberra, 16 months ago as a firmly entwined pair.

“Rosy is part of the family. And everyone here loves her. The way they smile is just unbelievable.”

Andrew is supported by Pets and Positive Ageing (PAPA), Northside Community Service and ACT Pet Crisis Support to help walk and groom Rosy and take her to the veterinary clinic.

PAPA, who advised Andrew to move to LDK Greenway Views, are talking to LDK about further plans to look after pets if the owner needs to go to hospital.

“It’s about emotional health because we know that’s just as important,” Michelle told Riotact.