Latest industry developments

Should we simply ask ChatGPT?

We can all agree that one of the key requirements of a Village Professional is to put people first. The trade off can sometimes be this focus on people doesn’t allow to stay up to date with advances in technology that could help boost our productivity. 

In the last year we have heard a lot of talk about ChatGPT and Generative AI. We’ve heard how it will disrupt the way we work. 

Generative AI creates new content and data (e.g. ChatGPT and DALL-E), while Traditional AI solves specific tasks with predefined rules (e.g. Siri and Alexa).

As we make our way around the country for VILLAGE SUMMIT, we are being asked by Village Professionals, “How can we make this disruption a part of our daily lives work?” And, if it could make our jobs a bit easier.

Recently Salesforce commissioned a YouGov study on Australian workers usage of AI and Generative AI.   

According to the study, 90% of Australian workers are already using AI for their jobs with 68% using Generative AI. 

With this many people using AI and Generative AI, you would think that employers are providing training on how to use this technology safely and securely. Sadly, the figures from Salesforce suggest differently, with only 17% of those surveyed indicating that their employer gave them any training on this subject. 

Based on some of the conversations we have been having with leaders in the sector, the reason for this slow adoption rate is business coming to grips with an ‘ethics-first approach’ on how to use Generative AI at work.

This relates to keeping commercial and in-confidence data safe. Keeping resident data and information safe. Keeping staff information safe.

That said, the study also suggests 82% of Australian workers are currently use Generative AI anyway, reaping the rewards of increased productivity.

A great place to start would be to ensure your business has effective policies in place outlining limitation in usage, ensuring that confidential data isn’t exposed, as well as suggestions of how to best use AI in the workplace. Not to mention training staff on these policies.

When developing a policy for the use of generative AI applications like ChatGPT in the workplace, it’s important to address various aspects to ensure responsible and ethical usage. Here are some key points to include in the policy:

Purpose and Scope

Clearly define the purpose of using generative AI applications in the workplace. Specify the scope of application and outline the areas where these tools will be utilized.

Ethical Use

Emphasize the importance of ethical use of AI technology. Clearly state that the use of Generative AI should align with the organisation’s values and ethical standards. Specify any prohibited activities or content.

Data Privacy and Security

Address concerns related to data privacy and security. Outline how user data will be handled, stored, and protected. Ensure compliance with relevant data protection regulations, such as GDPR or other local laws.


Communicate the use of Generative AI to employees and stakeholders. Be transparent about how and where these tools are employed. Make sure users are aware that they may interact with AI systems.

User Guidelines and Training

Provide guidelines for users on how to interact with generative AI applications appropriately. Offer training sessions to educate employees on the capabilities and limitations of these tools, as well as best practices for usage.

Monitoring and Accountability

Establish a system for monitoring the use of Generative AI to ensure compliance with the policy. Clearly define roles and responsibilities for those accountable for overseeing and managing the technology.

Bias Mitigation

Acknowledge the potential for biases in AI outputs and highlight efforts taken to mitigate them. Encourage users to report any instances where they believe bias may be present in the AI-generated content.

Feedback Mechanism

Implement a feedback mechanism for employees to report issues, concerns, or suggestions related to the use of Generative AI. Foster an open dialogue for continuous improvement.

Fairness and Inclusivity

Ensure that the use of Generative AI promotes fairness and inclusivity. Avoid generating content that may be discriminatory or exclusionary. Regularly review and update the models to address any emerging concerns.

Legal Compliance

Ensure that the policy complies with relevant laws and regulations governing the use of AI in the workplace. Stay informed about updates to legislation and be prepared to adjust the policy accordingly.

Periodic Review and Update

Commit to periodic reviews of the policy to assess its effectiveness and relevance. Update the policy as needed to address evolving technology, concerns, or organisational changes.

Incorporating Generative AI within the day-to-day functioning of Retirement Villages and Communities can mean more than technological adoption; it’s also a way to enhance our productivity and spend more time with residents and staff. In doing so we need to have a clear framework for employees to refer back to, including a comprehensive policy that guides the responsible and ethical use of generative AI applications in the workplace.

Things to watch

Dougherty Apartments’ CEO Happy Hour brings its community together 

The Independent Living and Social Housing Residents at Dougherty Apartments Retirement Housing Project, call it a “smash hit.” Kelvin Neave unites his residents across residential aged care, memory support care, independent living and social housing. 

The CEO of Dougherty Apartments in Chatswood, 10km north of Sydney’s CBD, organises a Happy Hour quarterly.  Alcohol, soft drinks and hot and cold canapes are provided at themed events.  

“We have eight floors of apartments and the events, be it a high tea or supper carnival, tend to bring everyone out of the woodwork and we are thrilled that it does,” Kelvin said. 

“I like to think we create one community here and this has been my ultimate aim since my arrival.” 

He said it was wonderful to see the residents in the independent living units and social housing connecting. Watching this interaction, regardless of backgrounds, is magic. 

Dougherty Apartments is the brainchild of Willoughby City Council and the NSW Department of Housing. It has 80 staff who care for the 70 residential aged care residents. There are 44 independent living units and 39 social housing apartments who also supported by qualified staff in cases of need.   

Dougherty Apartment’s Happy Hours attract the local VIPs. Kelvin is pictured with Willoughby Mayor Tanya Taylor and Dougherty Apartments’ board chair, Virginia Howard OAM (left).   

Things to watch Village Operator

Introduction to the 1000 Club for 2023 

One of the most rewarding parts of the VILLAGE SUMMIT is recognising individual excellence of Village Professionals who have achieved the milestone of 1000 Professional Development points with DCM Institute.  

This remarkable achievement was recognised in Perth earlier this week where a handful of DCM Institute participants were awarded for their commitment to excellence. 

The awards in WA this year were presented to  

  • Ian Brockett (SCC WA),  
  • Rachel Crosby (NovaCare),  
  • Nikki Dhawan (Meath Care),  
  • Lyn Ferguson (Bethanie),  
  • Beverley Kukura (SCC WA),  
  • Ashlee McGlashan (Bethanie), and  
  • Bec Mitchell (Bethanie). 

These professionals contribute not only to their personal and professional growth, but also to elevating the standards of the Retirement Living industry. This is not merely an accolade; it’s a celebration of their dedication, passion, and the ongoing journey of learning and growth. 

DCM Institute is committed to the ongoing Professional Development of Village Professionals and welcomes these recipients to the ever growing 1000 Club.  

Congratulations to Ian, Rachel, Nikki, Lyn, Beverly, Ashlee and Bec. We look forward to recognising other participants in the DCM Institute’s program as we make our way around the country for VILLAGE SUMMIT 2023. 

Key things to help you everyday

Five of the many who make Carrington Care’s Carrington Fair such a special event

Carrington Care CEO Raad Richards, Village Co-ordinator Carla Upfill, Executive Assistant Emma Johnson, Hotel Services Co-ordinator Cathy McDonald, Volunteer Co-ordinator Alison Vella, Property Services Manager Rob Cutajar and Property Services’ Chris Dolman have busy day jobs at the provider of community care, aged care and retirement living services in Sydney’s southwest.

The Not For Profit’s only fund-raiser is the annual Carrington Fair, which has been held for over forty years.

This year’s Fair exceeded all expectations, emerging as a resounding success. The picturesque grounds and first-class facilities at Carrington were showcased to a record-breaking crowd, reaffirming the community’s enthusiasm and support for the fair.

Numerous residents from the Carrington village actively participated in the fair’s organisation, forming a crucial part of the committee. Special recognition goes to Jill De-ath, Graham Shelley-Jones, Jane Whelan, Barbara Handley, Carol Saunders, Robyn Thompson, Ken Long, and Virginia Crompton for their dedicated contributions.

The fair received substantial support from local businesses affiliated with Carrington Care, with over $20,000 in donations. Funds raised from the fair are utilised for purchasing items from the Carrington Wish List, which has a positive impact in our Carrington Community.

Participating stall holders played a pivotal role in enhancing the overall experience of the fair. Carrington’s residents had their own stalls including cakes, jams, craft, woodwork, books, trash and treasure, and much more. The external stall holders had a diverse array of products which contributed to the vibrancy of the fair.

The fair attracted thousands of people, including residents from the Retirement village, aged care facilities, and their families and friends. The success of this fair not only celebrates a day of joy, but also contributes meaningfully to the ongoing well-being of the Carrington Care community.

Key things to help you everyday Uncategorized

Put your best foot forward this Spring

I was talking to a colleague the other day who does both Village Manager and sales. I was reminiscing how this is the best time of year to be doing both.

Spring is the perfect time to breathe life into your retirement village. It is also a great way to entice potential residents as this is a peak time for selling. 

I thought I’d share some of the key things I’d have on my radar this year to ensure my village would be putting its best foot forward.

  1. Gardens and Pathways: When it comes to first impressions, a well-kept garden is like a warm welcome hug. Picture vibrant flowers, neatly trimmed hedges, and clear, inviting pathways. A little love and care for these green spaces can go a long way in creating an inviting atmosphere for all who enter.
  2. De-Clutter and De-Cobweb: This one is a pet peeve of a colleague of mine, and rightly so. Nothing says ‘unloved’ like cobwebs around outdoor light fittings and under awnings. A tidy, clutter-free environment is essential for creating a welcoming home. A little tidying up can go a long way in finding a new resident.
  3. Lights On: Don’t forget the first impressions when you step through the front door. Brighten up the living spaces by turning on lights and ensuring all appliances are in top-notch condition. Don’t underestimate the power of tasteful display furniture—prospective buyers often find it easier to envision themselves in a space that’s already tastefully
    furnished. And as we approach warmer summer days, turn on the A/C.
  4. A Community is about People: It’s not just about the physical appearance. Encourage residents to be active. Outdoors walking, in their gardens, doing activities in the Community Centre. When all else fails, make your appointments with potential residents for times when there is the most activity happening.
  5. Personal Touches: This one is important. You are a big part of what someone is considering. How you present and talk about your community. The way you engage with others as you walk around. These personal touches showcase the warm and welcoming side of living in a community and leave a lasting impression.

Remember, the key is to create an environment that not only looks appealing but also feels like a place where residents can build a fulfilling and enriching lifestyle – their next home.

Key things to help you everyday Uncategorized

A timely warning to review Emergency Procedures 

Earlier this week, The Weekly Source reported on a conversation Chris Baynes had with Judy Mayfield, President of the Association of Residents of QLD Retirement Villages (ARQRV). With over 100 fires burning in SE QLD, she is receiving calls from villages that are not bushfire ready in the most basic way. 

“Residents say, the fear of a bushfire is real. Yet they have looked everywhere, and cannot find anything about an evacuation plan, where to stand in case of an outbreak.” 

“A resident just called me. There is only one gate at their village. If fire comes through there, how do they get out?” 

“Then what happens at weekends when there is no Village Manager? Villages now have people with high care needs. How are they going to get out if the fire sweeps through.” 

Good planning and testing systems is essential for safety. The photo above and below are from Ingenia’s Lake Conjola bush fire in 2019. It is worth reading their account of how they responded – click HERE

Fire Safety and Emergency Planning 

While the requirements might be worded differently from state to state, operators have an undeniable obligation to keep their residents safe. This includes having an Emergency Plan, systems, and process in place to address events such as bush fire, floods, and other natural disasters. 

Having the plan in place is critical, yet what is often overlooked is the way it is communicated to staff and residents – this includes training. 

Best practice is for an Evacuation Drill to occur twice a year. While this might seem like a time-consuming commitment, especially on larger sites, they are critical to ensuring that residents and staff are prepared in the case of an emergency. 

The DCM Institute not only encourages managers to hold Fire Drills, but to also keep a record of resident attendance. This way it allows the Manager to identify the residents who haven’t turned up, and approach them directly to ensure they are prepared in the event of an emergency. 

Another tip from DCM Institute would be to encourage resident participation in these Drills by running a village morning tea, BBQ or afternoon tea. 

Things to watch

The difference between being a Village Manager and a Hotelier

Guy Marinucci traded a 25-year career in Hospitality for the rewards of being the first Village Manager at Europa on Alma in Melbourne’s beachside suburb, St Kilda. All of Guy’s experience as a General Manager of four and five star hotels across Australia has paid dividends for BoltonClark’s first venture into Victoria – in the form of a Judge’s Commendation in the Special Purpose Living category of the UDIA Awards for Excellence. After 22 months in the role, Guy has found one thing very different between his two careers.

“The turnaround of hotel guests is quick but at Europa I have been given the opportunity to build relationships and a rapport with residents and gained satisfaction by playing a part in enhancing their lives,” Guy said.

Guy’s resident-first focus has garnered outstanding feedback, while his open, honest management style has created a warm, inclusive environment for the team. Guys says the most important thing he and the team have learned at Europa on Alma is to never forget that they are working in someone’s home and need to respect that it is their sanctuary. 

“(We) treat each resident as an individual and understand them. Also, be curious and gain an understanding of each residents background  –  there are fascinating stories from each one. They are all individuals and have lots to contribute to the Village  from their life experiences.” Guy said. 

Innovative approaches to procedure implementation and the introduction of new ways to engage and support residents have shown that Guy knows what it takes to make a village both successful and happy – from welcoming the first residents to making the most of Europa’s modern community facilities with a busy social and wellbeing calendar. 

“The aim is to surprise and delight them, always.”, he said.  

For a man who worked in restaurants and bars before earning a Bachelor of Business (majoring in Hotel Management), providing a concierge-style lifestyle for the residents can be as simple as introducing new residents to others with similar interests or an impromptu afternoon tea during intermission for one of Europa’s regular movie sessions. 

Donating a few bottles of wine for the regular sun downers get together doesn’t hurt either, he added. 

Europa on Alma, which opened in 2021, has an awe-inspiring entrance foyer and a sky terrace with breathtaking views of St Kilda beach and Melbourne’s CBD. There are 81 one-, two- and three-bedroom independent living apartments serving as homes for the 61 current residents.   

Key things to help you everyday Uncategorized

Keyton creates Community Connect managers to integrate the village with the community

Lincoln Emsley, after nearly 20 years in commercial property, is one of Keyton’s dedicated Community Connect managers in Victoria. 

Community Connect sits outside the village operations division and the village managers but it is aim is to integrate the village with the community that surrounds it. 

Lincoln’s role is to organise an array of events to bring potential newcomers to the charm of retirement living. Lincoln, who was Community Sales Manager for Lendlease, is passionate about fostering connections and creating memorable experiences for those considering a retirement living community. 

“I like to create opportunities for people to have conversations, share experiences, and answer any questions they have about retirement living. Transparency is key to having an honest connection,” Lincoln said. 

The reticence of people selling the family home and moving into retirement living has to be broken.   

“I try to help demystify the retirement living options. I want to provide a clear picture of the community’s offerings before they decide.” 

Lincoln hosts events designed to introduce guests to the benefits of village life, offering them the opportunity to explore the community and take guided tours during a morning or afternoon tea session. 

“Sometimes people do not feel comfortable about contacting a village directly for themselves and would feel less pressured if they came to the village as a guest or a visitor in a group. Keyton’s Community Connect Program is a great introduction to what villages offer, whether it is for now or in the future,” he said.  

“With this in mind, we welcome local groups and clubs of around 15-20 seniors into our villages to enjoy a morning or afternoon tea. We answer any questions guests may have about retirement village living and enjoy a lovely walk around our village, meet residents and view all our amenities,” he said. 

Key things to help you everyday

Settling the Unsettled

We are sometimes so focused on our residents that we forget the other important relationships we have within our communities – our staff.

Ask yourself, what is your relationship like with your team?

Every year Gartner run a webinar on the top priorities for leaders in the year ahead. The webinar looks at the top HR trends and priorities based on the results of Gartner’s annual survey of over 500 leaders in Human Resources.

This year, we sat in on the webinar and it was interesting to hear the theme that was emerging, especially after our most recent Professional Development Day series where we the DCM Institute team was able to connect with so many managers and leaders in our own sector.

Overwhelmingly, the top trend reported during the webinar by leaders was an unsettled employee-employer relationship, with productivity anxiety and mutual mistrust identified at alarming levels.

Productivity Anxiety in simple terms, is a feeling of stress or unease that comes from worrying about the constant pressures to meet the high expectations of the business and the customers, and in turn to keep up with the demands of work and life.

According to the survey, 58% of organisations are confident that they can meet their performance targets in the coming year. That said, 45% of employees were worried that can’t sustain their current level of performance next year.

Mutual Mistrust arises when the relationship between individuals in the business is strained, and it manifests in scepticism and uncertainty in the workplace. Gartner reported that 63% of organisations said they trust their employees however only 53% of employees trust their organisations.

Now, its important to note at this point, this was a global survey. It doesn’t stop us from asking if this is something you are seeing in your own organisation with your own team.

When looking at this sort of research and reporting and reflect on our own learnings in the sector over the past year with 2 out of 5 Village Managers indicating they won’t be in the sector in three years’ time.

The Gartner webinar is a timely reminder that as leaders we need to also be considerate of our teams, how they are responding to the demands on their productivity and support them to succeed.

As leaders, we need to be both mindful and proactive. We need to ask ourselves as leaders within our own businesses how we can continue to keep our teams motivated and focused on the outcomes that result in great resident outcomes.

Something we will be exploring at our upcoming Village Summit event, where Matt Church will be presenting on leadership and motivation.

Key things to help you everyday

Remember to Remember

On 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. With their armies retreating and close to collapse, German leaders signed an Armistice, bringing to an end the First World War.

On the first anniversary of the Armistice (11 November was known as Armistice Day until after WWII), King George V asked all the people of the British Empire to observe two minutes’ silence at 11am. 

It’s a tradition still honoured today during Remembrance Day services as we remember all who have served in the Australian Defence Force, in WWI and in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations since.



Wherever you are on 11 November, remember to remember at 11am. 

Set a reminder in your calendar or phone, switch your phone to ‘do not disturb’, and pause for just a minute in memory of the fallen. It’s a simple action that means so much. 


No matter where you are on Remembrance Day, you can tune into a commemorative service via ABC TV, ABC Radio, the ABC listen app and ABC iview.


 Wearing a red poppy on Remembrance Day is a simple way to show your support and commemorate those who have served. It’s customary to pin your poppy to the left lapel of your shirt.

You may also choose to wear a purple poppy (beside the traditional red poppy) in remembrance of animals who died while serving.


You can usually buy a Remembrance Day poppy through RSL Sub Branches. Poppy merchandise is also available at Military Shop.

You can also support RSL Australia’s Poppy Appeal by planting a poppy in the virtual Remembrance Garden. Your donation supports veterans and their families, and you can dedicate your poppy in someone’s name.

In Flanders Field

It was a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, who penned In Flanders Fields – the poem that first associated poppies with remembrance. Devastated by the death of a close friend and fellow soldier, LCol McCrae wrote the poem during the second battle of Ypres in 1915. LCol McCrae sadly died later in the war. However, his words are still recited by millions each year on Remembrance Day:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lest we forget