Latest industry developments Village Operator

Village Manager of the Year for NSW & ACT Announced

The value of Australia’s leading professional development support organisation is shown again as the Village Manager of RetireAustralia’s Tarragal Glen Retirement Village in Erina, NSW Central Coast, Jodie Shelley, was named ACT/NSW best VM of the year.

Jodie, who is a previous finalist, is a member of the DCM Institute and thanked the program when receiving her award at the Property Council NSW’s Retirement Outlook forum on 15 February.

Jo-Anne Quinn, Village Manager of Aveo Group’s The Manors of Mosman Retirement Village, 8km northeast of Sydney’s CBD, was named National Village Manager of the Year last year.

The two previous national winners of the Village Manager of the Year Steven Daly, of Arcadia Group, and Nikki Dhawan, then employed managing Bethanie Warwick and Bethanie Joondanna retirement villages, were members of the DCM institute. Nikki is now Manager, Retirement Living at Meath Care, Perth.

Jodie, along with all State winners, is now in the running for the National title which will be announced on 27 June on the Gold Coast as part of the 2024 National Retirement Living Summit.

Key Things to Help You Everyday Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments Things to watch Village Operator

Raising Awareness: The Risks with Lithium-ion Battery Failure

It was heartbreaking to read about the fire in an Adelaide retirement village last week where an 83-year old man was found dead and a woman, 81, taken to hospital.

Late, reports indicated the likely cause of the fire was a mobility scooter battery left charging overnight.

Mobility scooters are a part of retirement villages all over the country. Many of them are plugged in right now, charging, so that they are ready to assist their owner move about the community.

A common feature of these mobility scooters is their light-weight lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used since they can store a large amount of energy in a relatively small area. They are also susceptible to causing events like the one seen in Adeliade the other week with state fire departments reporting more than 450 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in the past 18 months.

What causes lithium-ion batteries to fail?

Overheating is one of the main causes of lithium-ion battery failures, although physical damage to the battery can also lead to problems.

Excessive heat — for example from using a faulty charger and overcharging the battery, or due to a short circuit — can damage the battery cell internally and cause it to fail.

The major issue with lithium-ion batteries overheating is a phenomenon known as thermal runaway.

In this process, the excessive heat promotes the chemical reaction that makes the battery work, thus creating even more heat and ever more chemical reactions in a disastrous spiral. Physical damage to lithium-ion battery cells can allow the electrolyte inside to leak, which is another potential hazard risk.

How can people mitigate the problems with lithium-ion batteries?

Correct usage and storage of lithium-ion batteries is extremely important.

Batteries should not be exposed to high external temperatures, for example from being left in direct sunlight for long periods of time.

Overcharging is another fundamental issue as this can create excessive heat inside the battery cell.

Therefore, it is important to always use a reputable brand-name charger, rather than a cheap generic version that may be available online.

Good quality chargers, designed specifically for the battery you are using, control the amount of charge going into the cell and will cut off when it is fully charged to ensure the system does not over-heat.

Be very wary if a lithium-ion battery sustains any physical damage, such as being dropped or pierced by an object, as this can lead to leakage and potential problems.

In workplace settings, safe battery storage can be crucial so that in the event of unwanted failure, the resulting fire can be more easily contained and controlled and does not spread – which can quickly cause catastrophic consequences.

It is not advisable to purchase lithium-ion batteries second-hand, or online from unknown and potentially unregulated vendors.

What can we do?

Bring awareness. Take a commonsense approach and educate residents on the risks. There are a range of useful fact sheets and links contained in this article which can be shared easily with staff and residents.

For further information

For those interested in further reading on this subject, the ACCC released a report in October 2023 titled ‘Lithium-ion batteries and consumer product safety’.

Additional information about lithium-ion battery safety can be found by contacting your state fire department. 

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. 

Village Operator

Operators and residents unite to seek reform of NSW Govt’s Asset Management Plans

The Retirement Living Council (RLC), which represents the retirement living sector, and NSW Retirement Village Residents Association (RVRA), representing more than 4,000 residents, have united to try to change the State Government’s unwieldly Asset Management Plan (AMP).

The former NSW Government delayed the introduced of the AMP by 12 months until July last year and RLC Executive Director Daniel Gannon, ahead of the NSW Election, said it had the “biggest adverse impact” on the sector this year.

Daniel and Craig Bennett, President of the RVRA, have now written to the new Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading, Anoulack Chanthivong, outlining “systemic problems” with the AMP.

“Key challenges of the AMPs highlight the impractical nature of the documents and the challenge faced for residents to comprehend them,” stated the letter to the Minister.

“We are united in seeking reform of the AMP laws so that residents receive information, which is transparent, useful, comprehensible and digestible.” 

The AMP documents the costs of purchase, ongoing maintenance, repairs, and replacement of a retirement village’s major items of capital, including shared major items of capital.

AssetFuture, the largest provider of Asset Management Planning solutions to NSW RV operators, has shared insights with the RLC and the RVRA on how the AMP could be presented in a more practical and easier-to-understand format for retirement village residents.

The Shadow Minister for Fair Trading, Tim James, has offered to meet with members to discuss the submission further and the Department of Fair Trading is reviewing the submission and says it is looking forward to working with the RLC and RVRA.

Village Operator

Embracing Palliative Care Week: Supporting Residents, Families, and Staff

Last week was National Palliative Care Week, which aims to put “Matters of Life and Death” front and centre across Australia.

As dedicated individuals working in the retirement sector, you understand the importance of providing exceptional care to residents throughout their lives. Palliative care, especially during the end-of-life stage, plays a crucial role in ensuring comfort, dignity, and support for residents, their families, and your dedicated staff.

Today, we dive into this topic a little further and explore why it deserves our attention.

Creating a Supportive Environment:

In retirement villages, creating a supportive environment is essential for residents who require palliative care. Encourage the family to collaborate with healthcare professionals, including palliative care specialists, nurses, and counsellors, to create a comprehensive care plan for residents.

By fostering an atmosphere of compassion, collaboration, empathy, and understanding, you can help individuals and their families navigate the emotional and physical challenges that arise during this sensitive time.

Open Communication Channels:

Encouraging open and honest communication is crucial. Foster an environment where residents and their families feel comfortable discussing their concerns, fears, and desires. Regular meetings and one-on-one conversations can help establish trust and provide the necessary support.

Staff Support, Education and Training:

Invest in ongoing education and training for your staff, ensuring they have the knowledge and skills required to support residents and their families during this difficult time. Equip them with effective communication techniques, and emotional support skills.

As a Manager, you also need to be aware of how your staff might respond to palliative care occurring in your community, and provide them with access to the support they may need. An Employee Assistance Program can be quite useful when it comes to this.

Supporting Residents and Families:

Palliative care not only focuses on residents but also extends to their families, who play a vital role in the care journey.

Offer a listening ear, empathy, and access to counselling services to residents and their families. You do not need to be the counsellor, though it is recommended you be aware of support groups, bereavement services, and other resources that can help them cope with their emotions during this challenging period.

Palliative Care Week serves as a reminder that as Retirement Village Managers and Professionals there are options available to us to support residents, their families, and staff members during the end-of-life journey.

By taking the time to understand the options available to you, including fostering open communication, and providing comprehensive support, you can ensure that every resident receives the comfort, dignity, and compassion they deserve.

Just another way we can make a positive difference in the lives of those entrusted to our care.

For more information visit

Facility Manager Latest industry developments Village Operator

Retirement living operators’ confidence double the three-year average

The latest ANZ/Property Council Survey states the nation’s retirement living sector has strong confidence around capital value growth and construction activity levels over the next 12 months.

Operators are more confident about 12-month construction activity levels than the residential, office, industrial, retail and hotel sectors.

Confidence levels in capital growth (22.9 points) are almost double the three-year average since COVID-19 hit Australia’s shores in March 2020 (12.0). Construction activity sentiment currently sits at 46.3 points, up 10.6 points in the same period.

Retirement Living Council Executive Director Daniel Gannon warned operators state government reform processes could hurt the positivity.

“Industry confidence around Australia has improved over the past 12 months, but various state legislative reviews loom large on the horizon,” Daniel said.

As The Weekly SOURCE stated in an Opinion Article “Act or face the Consequences” last Tuesday, the reviews to the Retirement Village Acts in QLD, SA, VIC and WA focus on changes to Exit Entitlements.

 “This comes at a precarious time given the country is facing challenges around housing supply, affordability, cost and supply chain constraints. If these reforms make it harder for operators to build and operate age-friendly communities, it could place a handbrake on supply and dampen confidence at the worst possible time,” Daniel said.

“Importantly, our industry offers a trifecta of opportunity – superior housing outcomes for senior Australians, more housing supply, while delivering significant efficiencies for State, Territory and Federal Governments.

“However, investment conditions and confidence can be strengthened or eroded by legislative frameworks around the country.”

Key things to help you everyday Village Operator

Retirement Visionary: A Journey of Personal Growth and Community Impact

Retirement Visionary: A Journey of Personal Growth and Community Impact 

Caroline Henning is a woman who wears many hats. Along with being the Village Manager at Erskine Grove, a RAAFA retirement village in Mandurah on the southwest coast of WA, she also has a music side hustle. Always seeking new challenges and opportunities for personal growth, Caroline’s passion for development led her to take on the role of Village Manager at Erskine Grove after leaving local government. 

For the past three years, Caroline has worked tirelessly to get to know the 300 residents of Erskine Grove on a personal level. She believes that understanding their individual goals and aspirations for retirement is key to ensuring their happiness and well-being. To help residents clarify their desires and focus on achieving their goals, Caroline introduced the concept of a Vision Board, a visual representation of one’s goals and aspirations. 

Caroline’s love of music inspired her to host her first “Vision and Beers” session at a local microbrewery. The event was a hit and ended with an impromptu jam session that Caroline says was “no accident,” as she is a muso herself. The success of this event inspired Caroline to explore the benefits of group sessions with residents and staff at Erskine Village. She believes that a Vision Board can be a useful tool for creating a fulfilling and purposeful retirement. 

“Taking time out to develop a personal purpose and vision in a group session is not only beneficial to the residents,” Caroline says. “But I’m also learning more about the residents and their passions and desires.” 

Caroline’s approach has been well-received by the residents of Erskine Grove, and they appreciate her efforts to get to know them on a personal level. “Caroline is always there to lend an ear and help us figure out what we really want,” said one resident. “She’s become more like a friend than a manager.” 

Caroline’s dedication to the personal development of others has not gone unnoticed. In fact, she recently shared her experience with the process and her residents with DCM Institute. Here are a few of her lessons learned thus far: 

  • Joining in to help someone else bring their vision to life can be fun and challenging. After personally attending a series of introductory silks acrobatic classes, helping a friend to achieve her goal to fly through the sky like the singer Pink, Caroline says she will definitely not be joining the circus. 
  • Seniors understand how to self-analyse and create S.M.A.R.T goals, reflecting on the past while staying in the present. 
  • Adjusting the time of the sessions to suit the group is important, as this work can be exhausting for resident participants. One hour is enough for these guys. 
  • Taking time out to decompress and reflect afterward is vital. 

Caroline’s passion for personal development and dedication to the residents of Erskine Grove make her a valuable asset to the retirement community. Through her use of Vision Boards, Caroline is helping residents achieve their goals and find purpose in their retirement years. 

Vision Boards: Can I complete this activity at home?  

Yes, you can work on this at home and create your own vision board: Theme ideas:  Health, Family, Love and Friendship, Spiritual & Knowledge, Service & Generosity, Travel, Prosperity. The most important thing to note for this entire process is there is no right or wrong way to create a vision board. There is also no such thing as a bad vision or goal. This process is entirely personal. Envisioning your future and your goals allows you to answer the question “What do I want?” Let yourself listen to what you want, not what they want.  

For more information on Vision Boards, click here.

Facility Manager Key things to help you everyday Village Operator

Sign of the times: ACT Government to be first to appoint Retirement Village Ombudsman

In a precursor for retirement village operators and residents in each state, the ACT Government is investigating setting up the first independent Ombudsman to help resolve disputes between residents and operators. 

The new Labor Party-controlled NSW Government, when in Opposition, also promised to create a Retirement Village Ombudsman.

The Labor Party-led ACT Government said it is advocating for a national retirement village and aged care ombudsman, after the Legislative Assembly unanimously voted to support Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson’s motion.

Michael told the Legislative Assembly the current arrangements, which rely on internal retirement village disputes committee and the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, did not always offer the pathway to justice seniors deserve.

“Despite being the first port of call for when a dispute arises, the internal village disputes committee often fails to generate tangible outcomes for residents since the decision is not binding,” he said in a statement.

“If a resident subsequently chooses to escalate the matter to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal or the ACT Supreme Court for enforcement, they often find themselves bogged down in a costly, arduous, administrative nightmare.

“As a result, very few seniors pursue the justice they deserve and give up altogether.”

He added seniors deserved access to a binding and enforceable mechanism to resolve disputes with the operators of retirement villages.

Facility Manager Key things to help you everyday Village Operator

LEADERS SUMMIT SATURDAY special issue: The increasing area of risk for retirement village and aged care operators

With new laws being enacted across every State and Territory aimed at tackling psychosocial safety in the workplace, operators need to prepare now to ensure they are not caught out, the LEADERS SUMMIT has heard.

MinterEllison Partners Deanna McMaster, Penelope Eden and Tammy Berghofer appeared in a panel session to discuss the legal challenges around retirement living and aged care, particularly in relation to workforce and approaches to risk mitigation.

Deanna (pictured above) told the room that MinterEllison expects that there will be more activity in the seniors living space over the next 12 months because of a range of new workplace health and safety laws coming into play.

“Once upon a time, safety laws and the work I do was all about heavy industry mining and construction and physical accidents. But that time has gone. Seniors living environment are of real interest to safety regulators because of the psychological.”

Full story in the LEADERS SUMMIT special issue of SATURDAY – subscribe here.

Latest industry developments Village Operator

Lifestyle Communities awarded Employer of Choice for Gender Equality Citation

Victorian land lease owner/operator Lifestyle Communities has been named as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality Citation (EOCGE) by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) in its first year of application.

Lifestyle Communities employs 161 people, with 109 being female, which is 67.7%.

“To see that what we stand for and the purpose of our business is recognised is a proud moment. Working towards the rigorous assessment for this citation has been a big body of work but so rewarding at the same time. It was an opportunity to highlight our culture and passion for people by drawing attention to the frameworks we have in place to create an inclusive, supportive, and equitable workplace,” Maribel Robotis, Lifestyle Communities’ People Experience Manager, said on LinkedIn.

Managing Director James Kelly said he wanted the business to continue its programs to deliver “key gender equality practices that have a positive impact.”

Lifestyle Communities has a 50/50 gender split on its Board with 40/40/20 targets across its team.

“Our design and construction team is over 60% female which is a great achievement within a male dominated industry,” James added.