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Two-thirds of village residents not aware of elder abuse policy, research finds

Earlier this week the DCM Institute presented two webinars in partnership with the Retirement Village Residents’ Association of NSW, during which they shared the alarming statistic that two thirds of residents were not aware of their village’s Elder Abuse Policy.

The research paper, titled ‘Ageing Without Fear’, was launched a fortnight ago to coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Funded by the NSW Government, the final report details the extent of psychological elder abuse within retirement villages following the survey of 1,259 residents across 120 communities.

In presenting the report’s findings on the specific subject of a village’s Elder Abuse Policy, Roger Pallant, Secretary of the RVRA NSW, went on to say this does not mean the policy doesn’t exist.

“We all know the retirement villages regulations [NSW] requires you to have one,” Roger said.

Roger went on to say that perhaps operators have to inform village managers to communicate the existence of this policy more within their villages.

“The findings of this research are extremely relevant, and extremely real to both Managers of and residents in retirement villages,” said James Wiltshire, Executive Director of the DCM Institute, and moderator of the webinars.

James went on to note that the DCM Institute has seen a increase in traffic within their Knowledge Centre following the webinars with participants in their Village Manager Professional Development Program refreshing themselves on the topic of Elder Abuse, and accessing the policy documentation available.

For more information on DCM Institute’s Village Manager Professional Development Program click here.

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For Our Elders: NAIDOC Week 2023

Events to mark NAIDOC Week, 2 July to 9 July, will take place throughout Australia and lots of retirement living residents and operators are organising celebrations with this year’s theme ‘For Our Elders’.

Across every generation, Elders have played, and continue to play, an important role and hold a prominent place in Aboriginal communities and families.

They possess cultural knowledge, are trailblazers, nurturers, advocates, teachers, survivors, leaders, hard workers and loved ones.

Anglicare Southern Queensland, which owns and operates home care, retirement villages and residential aged care, is sponsoring the Logan NAIDOC Family Fun Day at the Kingston Butter Factory Cultural Precinct on Tuesday, 4 July.

Activities include a flag raising ceremony, traditional dances, stalls and rides, music and entertainment, a language workshop, a damper-making competition, weaving, bush tucker tasting, a free BBQ, didgeridoo workshops, and more.

The NAIDOC Awards ceremony will be broadcast on NITV from 7.30pm AEST on Saturday (1 July).

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Advance Care Planning – Fostering Awareness and Empowering Decision Making

Recently DCM Institute partnered with Advance Care Planning Australia to delve into the topic of advance care planning (ACP) and its significance in promoting resident well-being.

Participants in the DCM Institute’s Village Manager Professional Development Program across the country dialled in to learn more about this topic, including how to create an environment that supports residents in navigating this often-difficult subject.,

Advance care planning involves open discussions about end-of-life care, identifying healthcare proxies, and documenting personal preferences regarding medical treatments. It enables individuals to communicate their desires, beliefs, and goals for care, relieving their loved ones of tough decisions during stressful times.

By encouraging ACP, Village and Community Managers can foster a culture of respect, empathy, and dignity in their communities.

The need for ongoing education and awareness programs on ACP was highlighted with managers encouraged to hosting workshops and inviting healthcare professionals to address residents and equip them with the necessary knowledge and resources to make informed decisions.

Key take aways was the importance of cultivating open communication, fostering education and awareness, collaborating with healthcare providers, and involving families.

Following on from this webinar, DCM Institute is pleased to announce an upcoming release in the Knowledge Centre topic on Advanced Care Planning.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our FRIDAY newsletter to watch this space for more information.

About Advance Care Planning Australia

Funded by the Australian Government and administered by Austin Health, Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) is the national authority on advance care planning. ACPA supports individuals and health and care providers to enable people’s values and treatment decisions to be known and respected.

For more information, visit www.advancecareplanning.org.au

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Aveo Group’s Jo-Anne Quinn voted National Village Manager of the Year

There was lots of excitement for the residents at Aveo Group’s The Manors of Mosman last week when their Community Manager, Jo-Anne Quinn was recognised as National Village Manager of the Year.

Presented the award in front of 585 industry peers on the Gold Coast, Jo-Anne thanked her staff and her residents for inspiring her every day. She has been employed at Aveo Group since January 2015.

Retirement Living Council Executive Director Daniel Gannon said it was important to acknowledge and celebrate the great people and teams reshaping the industry across Australia.

“This industry is turbo-charged with talent, including dedicated village managers, purposeful customer-focused operators, and innovative service providers,” he said.

DCM Institute Executive Director, James Wiltshire, who was one of the judges of this awards, spoke highly of the calibre of candidates considered for the Award.

“Each year our job as judges gets harder. Which is a credit to the growing professionalism residents want to see in their Village Managers around the country,” James said.

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Trust with residents the goal for Retirement Living Manager at Respect (Southern Tasmania)

Maya Cuatt knows full well how important it is to build trust with our residents, and it is through this people-focused approach to care and support that she is making a positive difference to the lives of others.

She first joined Masonic Care Tasmania (now merged with Respect) a year ago, taking on the role as a key support for the day-to-day operations of their southern retirement living villages. In a busy role with a truly diverse array of tasks and responsibilities, she continues to be the ‘go-to’ contact for residents and their families.

“My role is chiefly about being there to support our residents – to help with whatever pops up, with whatever they want to talk about, and at the end of the day, providing them and their families with peace of mind,” she says. “I also liaise with prospective residents and their families too, so we can ensure more people in the community are being connected with opportunities to be a part of our villages.”

Maya is no stranger to juggling diverse responsibilities, while coordinating various facets of customer-centred care. Prior to joining, she worked in hotels and tourism. With the industry impacted significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maya was looking for a change – particularly a role that would allow her to “give back”.

12 months on and Maya reflects that the most rewarding thing about her current role is the warm relationships she has fostered with residents and their families.

“When I first started with our southern villages, I think residents felt they needed some extra focus and love. They had been through a really challenging time with the tail-end of Covid and many were feeling unsettled,” she says. “However, I felt very fortunate to have been greeted so warmly by residents, who were so open when I started in the role – and things kept improving from there.

“I feel so lucky to have been welcomed into their homes and their lives. That is the most rewarding part of my job – being able to contribute to the sense of family we have built across our villages.”

Key to this positivity is trust, and Maya says that cultivating a sense of confidence and connection continues to be a key component of her role, and her approach to work each and every day.

“For me, it’s about being there for them, and then getting things done, as a large component of the role is coordinating maintenance and trades. That’s what residents appreciate and that’s what gains their trust,” she says. “I’m always on-hand and available to listen to anything residents and families want to discuss, and then workshop ideas with them, so we get the right outcome for everyone.”

Looking to the future, Maya says that a key area of focus for the southern villages will be continuing to strengthen their connections across the community.

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The New Map of Life Initiative

“Old age is not a disease, it is strength. It is survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.” – Dr. Robert N. Butler, Founding Director of the National Institute on Aging and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. 

In April last year, the Stanford Center of Longevity introduced the “New Map of Life” initiative. 

This exciting piece of research looked to establish a framework to redefine ageing and guide professionals in delivering comprehensive care that promotes longevity and quality of life.  

“The New Map of Life represents a transformative vision for aging, centered around purpose, lifelong learning, and interconnectedness. It provides a roadmap for communities to thrive and individuals to live with meaning, vitality, and joy.” – Dr. Laura Carstensen, Director of the Stanford Center of Longevity. 

As the ageing population continues to grow, we play a vital role in providing support and ensuring the well-being of older Australians in the communities under our management.  

In this article, we will explore the key principles of the New Map of Life and provide valuable tips and suggestions for Retirement Village Managers and Community Professionals. 

Embrace a Lifelong Learning Mindset 

The New Map of Life recognises that learning is a lifelong journey, and retirement villages can foster an environment that supports intellectual growth and development. Encourage residents to participate in educational programs, workshops, and lectures. Collaborate with local universities, community colleges, or online platforms to offer a diverse range of courses and workshops tailored to older adults’ interests. By promoting intellectual engagement, retirement villages can empower residents to continue learning, enhancing their cognitive abilities and overall well-being. 

Cultivate Social Connections 

Maintaining a strong social network is crucial for emotional well-being and longevity. Where possible, we can facilitate regular social activities, such as group outings, game nights, and book clubs. Consider organizing intergenerational events to foster connections between residents and younger generations. Encouraging resident involvement in community volunteer programs can also provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. 

Prioritise Health and Wellness 

Promoting physical health and wellness is essential for older Australians. Establish wellness programs that cater to residents’ diverse needs, including fitness classes, yoga sessions, and walking groups. Collaborate with healthcare providers to organize health screenings, preventive care workshops, and informative sessions on managing chronic conditions. Encourage the adoption of healthy eating habits by offering nutritious meal options and educating residents on the importance of a balanced diet. 

Support Independence and Aging in Place 

As we are aware, many older Australians wish to age in place – the New Map of Life now recognises the importance of this. We have the ability to provide residents with access to home modifications, such as grab bars, ramps, and smart home technology, that enhance safety and accessibility. Importantly, we can create partnerships with local home care agencies to offer in-home support services, enabling residents to maintain their independence while receiving necessary assistance. 

Foster Purpose and Meaning 

Finding purpose and meaning in life is crucial at any age, but particularly during retirement years. We can find ways to develop programs that encourage residents to pursue their passions and engage in meaningful activities. This may include offering art classes, gardening opportunities, or mentoring programs. Creating platforms for residents to share their knowledge and experiences can provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose. 

Embrace Technology and Innovation 

The New Map of Life acknowledges the role of technology in improving the lives of older adults. As we emerged from COVID we saw this firsthand with the increased adoption rate of mobile phones and related apps across the country. It’s important that we push ourselves to stay up-to-date with technological advancements and integrate relevant innovations to benefit residents. This may include implementing telehealth services for remote medical consultations, introducing smart home automation systems, or offering digital literacy programs to help residents navigate the digital world. 

” The New Map of Life offers a guide for us to rethink traditional models and empower individuals to lead purposeful lives.” – Dr. Marc Agronin, Geriatric Psychiatrist and Author. 

While aspects of The New Map of Life initiative might seem rather obvious to us given our experience working with Australian seniors each and every day, it does serve as a simple ‘reference’ point to ensure we are doing everything we can to ensure our communities are vibrant with the capacity to empower residents and encourage them to thrive during their time with us.

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Men’s Health Week 2023

Men’s Health Week: Building Healthy Habits for a Fulfilling Retirement 

“Men’s Health Week is a crucial time to raise awareness and address the unique health challenges faced by men. It is vital to prioritize their physical and mental well-being,” emphasizes Dr. Alan Smith, Director of Men’s Health Foundation.  

International Men’s Health Week is celebrated every year around the world in the middle of June. 

Men’s Health Week goes beyond physical health and extends to the realm of mental health and emotional well-being. By engaging in promotions, events, and discussions, Men’s Health Week aims to initiate conversations on improving male health. 

It is an opportunity to highlight the importance of men’s health, and to promote and support the health and wellbeing of men and boys in our communities. 

Healthy Habits 

The theme of Men’s Health Week 2023 is Healthy Habits – focusing on encouraging men and boys to build healthy habits by identifying small changes they can make that benefit their health and wellbeing. 

In Australia, there were small and localised Men’s Health Week events in Victoria and then in New South Wales from about 2000 onwards. Since then, Men’s Health Week has gained traction, with organisations and community groups across the world celebrating the contributions men and boys make to our society. 

Dr. David Harper, renowned expert in men’s health, advises, “Building healthy habits is essential for men’s long-term health. Retirement villages can provide supportive environments that empower men to adopt and sustain positive lifestyle changes.” 

In Australia, Men’s Health Week provides a platform for challenging and debating key issues in men’s health and to raise the profile of men, their health outcomes and health needs around the country each June. Our approach celebrates the strengths of men, the contributions they make, and the important roles they play in society. 

Men’s Health Week provides retirement village managers with an opportune moment to prioritise men’s health and well-being.  

As Dr. Alan Smith aptly summarises, “Retirement villages that prioritise men’s health play a vital role in fostering healthier lifestyles and empowering men to lead fulfilling lives during their retirement years.” 

Remember, by championing men’s health, retirement villages contribute not only to the individual well-being of residents but also to the overall vitality and happiness of your community. 

For more information on Men’s Health Week  

www.menshealthweek.org.au/events  

The Men’s Health Week booklet “Men’s Health Week: Useful Men’s Health Information, Event Ideas & Contacts” is a guide that practitioners, health service providers, community centres, groups and individuals can use when creating Men’s Health Week events. It contains: 

  • An overview of Men’s Health Week and information on the current state of men’s health. 
  • Information on creating and hosting events,and partnering with others. 
  • Dealing with the media and creating a media release. 
  • Men’s health contacts to other groups and organisations. 
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DCM Institute survey: female Village Managers paid nearly 20% less than male counterparts

The gender pay gap continues to be a pressing issue across various industries, and the retirement village sector in Australia is no exception.

According to a recent survey conducted by the DCM Institute, the majority of Village Managers in the country are women (69%). This same study goes on to reveal the significant disparity in pay between male and female Village Managers.

“On average, the salary of male Village Managers was over $17,000 higher than that of their female counterparts,” said James Wiltshire, Executive Director of the DCM Institute.

The survey indicated that female Village Managers received an average salary of just over $91,000, while their male counterparts earned more than $108,000 on average.

“The discrepancy in pay is disheartening,” said James, highlighting the need for immediate attention to address this inequality.

As previously reported, the rate of pay for Village Managers is still below the average $110,000 wage for a property manager in Australia, which generally is less demanding.

“The DCM Institute is drawing attention to pay to recognise the pivotal role Village Managers play in the lives of seniors across the country. These dedicated professionals are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of retirement communities, ensuring the well-being and quality of life for elderly residents,” said James.

“By openly discussing and actively working towards closing the gender pay gap in the retirement village sector is vital to retain talented individuals, and attract new talent into the sector.

“Equitable compensation encourages professional growth and advancement. It fosters a positive work culture that benefits not only the employees but also the organisations they serve.”

The survey by australiaonline.com canvassed 186 retirement village and community managers across Australia.

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DCM Institute survey: How long Village Managers think they will stay in the role

The DCM Institute survey of 186 retirement village and community managers across Australia asked how long Village Managers intend to stay in the role and why they intend to leave.

The survey found that 78% of Village Managers were generally satisfied with the role, however only 38% with their happy with their salary.

The following responses should concern village operators:

  • 18% currently seeking roles outside of the retirement living sector;
  • 24% indicating they will not be in the role in 12 months’ time; and
  • 42% indicating they will not be in the role in three years’ time.

“When you consider how Managers feel about how much they are earning each year, we can’t be surprised to read that two out of every five managers won’t be in the role in 3 years’ time,” said James Wiltshire, Executive Director of the DCM Institute.

The DCM Institute has been talking about the results of this survey to ensure operators and residents alike are aware of the emerging challenges the sector faces should circumstances not change.

“There needs to be a conversation between operators and residents to move the needle,” James said. “At the same time, operators need to consider other ways they can invest in their people to retain them.”

As reported previously in The WEEKLY SOURCE, research conducted by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) has shown that that investing in professional development programs leads to better leadership capabilities, enhanced business performance, increased employee satisfaction, and higher retention rates (ASTD, 2019).

The DCM Institute currently has more than 500 Village Managers enrolled in their professional development program.

“These Managers represent more than 120 operators who understand the importance of the continuing to develop the skills and abilities of their people given the important role they play in creating positive resident experiences.”

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TAS Govt latest to announce amending Retirement Villages Act to strengthen residents’ protections

Tasmanian Attorney-General and Minister for Workplace Safety and Consumer Affairs, Elise Archer, today said it will amend the 2004 Act to address concerns regarding significant increases to annual recurrent charges and levies.

“Over recent months, my office and I have met with a number of residents of retirement villages and representative groups, including the newly formed Tasmanian Association of Residents of Retirement Villages,” she said.

“I have listened to these concerns, and we are now in the process of drafting legislation to amend the Act to strengthen protections, bringing Tasmania in line with other states such as Victoria, aimed at providing more robust protections and certainty for residents.“

Retirement Living Council Executive Director Daniel Gannon said he looks forward to working closely with the Tasmanian Government to ensure the right balance is struck between operator viability and consumer comfort.

“The RLC recently met with the newly formed Tasmanian Association of Residents of Retirement Villages and is arranging a meeting with the State Government to discuss reform.”

Last month, the WA Government drafted new legislation including exit entitlements to former residents to be paid within 12 months from when the resident leaves; the SA Government has released 60 proposed changes to the Retirement Villages Act 2016, the QLD Government is reviewing its legislation, and the VIC Government is seeking consultation on its Retirement Villages Amendment Bill.