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Retirement Living touches 14% of all people aged over 40 – this is big business​

At times we need to take a step back and think of the sector we work in and the impact it makes on our community.

Our sister publication The SOURCE has been publishing some interesting analysis lately on how many people retirement living actually touches, and also how many new customers we need to bring on board each year.

See the chart above. You can see that across land lease communities and retirement villages we have 300,000 residents across Australia.

Our residents have placed their faith and wealth in our hands, so to speak, a great vote of trust.

At the same time, each resident has about three people that they are closely involved with, as friends, carers and supporters. Many of them will also be a beneficiary of the transition of wealth in the village home at some stage. So there is a financial ‘touch’ as well as an emotional touch.

This adds 900,000 people to a total of 1.2 million Australians that we have a touch point. Given all these ‘direct touch’ people will be aged over 40 years of age, we reach 14% of all people over 40, which is very powerful.

35,500 new sales a year required

In our own bubble, we don’t think of the big picture sales effort that is required to keep our sector humming.

From the chart below you can see that with rollovers and new builds, we need 35,500 new customers to sign up each year, or if you like, 97 every day of the year, including Christmas Day.

With an average village and LLC home now valued around $450,000 to buy in, we need to generate $16 billion in sales a year or $44 million every day.

We are BIG business! If each family home sold to buy into our sector is valued at say $600,000, then $21.3 billion in family home sales have to take place. Imagine all those young families upgrading – it is exciting we think.

As village professionals, we are vital to this ongoing sales process. We are the face and the brand of our community within our local community. It’s a big job.

(If you do not receive The SOURCE newsletter on a Tuesday, you can ask for a free subscription HERE – it’s the best news source on retirement living).

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More villages going vertical – what does this mean for village managers?​

Apartments are the new normal for retirement villages.

While many big operators have been building apartments for about five years now in capital city locations, we are now seeing the traditional ‘horizontal village’ operators branch out to apartments.

Expanding village operator Oak Tree has announced the opening of its Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast village. It is a $15 million development of 60 units over four storeys.

Oak Tree now owns and operates 31 retirement villages across Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, mostly horizontal villages around 80 homes.

Managing this type of development is vastly different to a traditional village. For instance, residents don’t have their own outdoor space so the focus on activities is different.

Building management is also very different, but the skills will expand your professional credentials across areas such as building and strata management. All good news.

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Your website is often your first impression

Our favourite marketing support is Joshua Hanchett. We asked him to write this piece on the very important subject of websites.

You only get one chance to make an excellent first impression.

In 2021, the website is usually the first introduction to prospective residents and employees so providing a consistent experience online that represents the organisation well is paramount. 

An excellent online experience starts with the following: 

  1. Keep your resident, not the organisation, in mind. Each page should keep them central in the written and visual content. 
  2. Make it easy to contact the right person in the organisation. If your organisation provides multiple services, have a direct line or email to the relevant person. 
  3. Be a guide to your website visitor on their retirement journey. Inform them to make a great decision. Don’t sell. 

With this in mind, what can you do every year to keep your website relevant and visitors coming back time and time again? Below is a short list, but if you don’t have the time, reach out to us. We are happy to help your organisation reach their customer online.

1. Safety and Security – Is your website safe and your organisation’s privacy policy relevant and accessible? Visitors are encouraged to take action on websites by filling in forms, and it’s reassuring to know data isn’t going to be stolen or shared. Security Certificates and Firewall software are easy to install and automate these days.

Tip: Make it a priority at the beginning of each year to ensure your certificates and software are installed, activated, and working.

2. Responsive experience – Does your website provide a wonderful experience on a desktop and a mobile device? With mobile overtaking desktop in multiple demographics, it’s important the user experience is consistent across devices.

Tip: Open the website on a desktop and your mobile device at the same time. How does it load? Is the experience consistent? Is it easy to read and take action?

3. Read and refresh pertinent information. Set reminders in your calendar to read through your website and other sites making up your digital presence, including Google my Business, Facebook, LinkedIn, and listing sites like Villages.com.au. Start simple. Are your Name, Address, Phone Number, and Email details correct? Is your pricing accurate on listing websites? 

Tip: Open an incognito window in your browser and do a Google search of your organisation’s name. What’s on display? 

4. Track search, time, and behaviour on your site. Use tools like Google Analytics and SEMrush. Answer these questions. 

Where are your site visitors coming from? Direct, organic, social, or paid? 

Are they leaving quickly or sticking around for a while? 

Where are they spending time on your site?

Tip: Allow this data to inform how you change your website. A better site experience will increase time on site and reduce bounce rate.

5. Focus on Quality content rather than Quantity. Organisations that know their customers well serve their customers well. Speak to their problems and display authentic images of your residents enjoying their newfound freedoms in the community. Quality content will rank well on search engines, keep customers on your site longer, and even keep them returning for more.

Tip:  Treat your website as a living, breathing asset to your organisation. Let your users search online for solutions to their problem. Focus your creative energy on providing answers in a meaningful way. Once on your website, share to your social channels and email list with links back to your website.

6. Ask website visitors to take action – a phone call, a form filled, a downloadable pdf guide.

Tip: Pop ups have their place, but they can often be overused and deter a prospect. Be creative and strategic with your placements of all buttons, forms, pop ups and pdfs. Remain customer centric.

With more and more people online and so many simple free tools available online, there’s never been a better time to pay attention to your organisation’s website – it’s so much more than a brochure.

Set a time to implement these things in your busy schedule. It will pay dividends and speak to your professionalism, credibility, and ability to provide solutions to the evolving needs of your customer.

If you need help reaching your customer online, please reach out to us.

Joshua Hanchett – Your Digital Partner

josh@myheartstudio.com.au

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Your Circle of Influence – it may be smaller and better than you think​

Many of don’t think about who we influence, but we all spend time doing stuff that we think, well, that we are influencing people.

At the recent Leadership Masterclass, our DCMI Leadership Coach, Jacqui Perkins, explored a Stephen Covey tool from his bestseller ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.

Jacqui explained the ‘Circle of Influence’. This tool is a simple concept which helps define and direct our efforts and energies into the areas that are important to us and where we can achieve optimum influence.

Circle of Concern: Areas that concern us but in which we generally have little or no control, such as the weather. While we might like to make the sun shine we can’t actually make it happen.

Circle of Influence: Things we have indirect control over, such as other peoples’ reactions, their thoughts. But, unlike the Circle of Concern, you can still influence action or change. For example, you may influence how an employee or team member works or acts, but you can’t directly control them.

Circle of Control: Are things we have direct control over, such as our own actions and responses to opportunities and challenges.

Jacqui explained successful leaders focus in on ‘the what’ they can influence.

The Circle of Influence is proactive…I proactively try to influence the situation.

The Circle of Concern is reactive…I’m just a passive recipient of what comes my way and react instead of thinking ahead and trying to proactively influence a different outcome.

So how can you determine if you are proactive or reactive?

Draw the three circles and identify a couple of points in each circle such as those below:

  • ‘Concern’: no direct influence on global warming, COVID-19, weather or the price of milk.
  • ‘Control’: we have control of own actions, our leadership style and workplace conduct and can us them for positive influence.
  • ‘Influence’: we can influence team culture, resident satisfaction and community engagement.

When we focus on our Circle of Influence, we are able to create long lasting and effective change in both ourselves, our team and our community.

And maybe take a tip and “Let it go….”

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Possible Royal Commission considerations and ‘wins’ for every Village operator…

If you do one thing in the lead up to the May Federal Budget – grab yourself a coffee and watch this 15-minute thought provoking discussion from Tammy Berghofer, Partner at MinterEllison, about the potential impact of the Royal Commission recommendations on retirement village operations.

There is a very real opportunity for villages to be the major winner from the Royal Commission.

Tammy outlines the opportunities and important considerations for both operators and front-line village professionals.  She highlights the future expectations of residents and the questions village professionals will need to consider.

In this video Tammy has simplified the Royal Commission impacts to village operations into 3 key areas:

  • Impact of a new Aged Care program
    • Instead of three different ‘aged care programs’ (CHSP, Home Care and Aged Care), it is likely they will all converge into one, with people entering the system and then carrying through to high care 
    • Universal entitlement to care – everyone gets to care for free
    • Increased choice, control and flexibility
  • Expansion of Care at Home
    • This is what the Government wants / long term care strategy requirements
    • Need for expanded termination processes
    • Village and care residents will be older and have higher health and acuity needs
    • Increase skills and knowledge for village professionals 
  • Influence on village built environments 
    • Ageing in place considerations will increase in importance 
    • Assistive technology use will increase in importance
    • Possible grant funding options for operators
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Grants are great! And easier than you think for villages

Are your residents wanting a new indoor bowls mat or would they like to learn how to use their smartphone or tablet?

What about an art exhibition or a programmed walking group?

Why not apply for a grant to help fund or subsidise an activity for your village community?

Grants are largely offered to fund an initiative which targets and benefits a particular cohort, like older community members.

They will generally have a required outcome or specific need to be met, as defined in the key purpose of the funding. The good news for our communities, is that services and activities for older people are a key objective for many Government agencies and other grant providers.

Discuss the idea of grants and how they can used with residents; perhaps a member of your village community might like the job of monitoring available grants.

Applications for grants might be for a major initiative, or small events such as:

  • Art classes and exhibitions in senior’s week
  • Visitor programs
  • Intergenerational activities with local schools
  • Community garden
  • Cultural performances
  • Events with guest speakers
  • Fitness / walking groups
  • Volunteer training
  • Village bus trips
  • Healthy eating promotion
  • Dances, Balls and Cabarets
  • Art, sport, activity equipment and supplies

Where to look for Grants?

  • Local Council
  • State Government
  • Festivals and community events.
  • Sporting codes
  • Service clubs

Some links to help get you started.

Grant Finder: helps you locate the grants and assistance programmes most relevant to you.

Grant Connect: Government grant opportunities and grants awarded.

Funding Centre: Resources and guides on how to apply for grants

Community Grants:lists Government grants for a range of grants offered by various departments

National Shed Development Programme: focus on improved social connections of shed members

Accessing grant funding can take some time but the effort will be worth it.

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Networking is back! We are taking small steps toward face-to-face peer support

What a refreshing experience.

Over the last three weeks, our DCM team has been supporting three face-to-face Village Network meetings, with more to follow.

South Australia

In SA, Sally & I gathered with 20-plus village professionals to catch up and have a tour of the diverse Stockland Somerton Park village. We also talked all things on the SA Retirement Village Act review, expected SA Water rate changes and Five Good Friends’ new Village concierge product.

New South Wales

In NSW, Judy and 15 village professionals gathered at the award-winning Terraces village, operated by Presbyterian Aged Care, and shared insights about assisting residents to travel intra and interstate.

They also talked about the value of maintaining a peer network, the floods and the impact they have on villages and resident families. They also shared some light-hearted giggles about books and movies set in retirement villages.

Here is some light entertainment if you are interested:

TV – The End and Poms 

Books – The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell

Victoria

In Victoria this week Judy and 20 village professionals shared the morning together at Australian Unity’s The Grace at Albert Park, which features stunning views.

The discussion was around the exciting future and opportunities Retirement village operators have to look forward to. They also discussed how the village manager can set or break a culture of a village and the importance of engaging all levels of staff in the village business similar to the airline industry, where staff are encouraged once a year to sit in another role in the business for the day.  

Keep an eye on the DCMI Network announcements for more Village Network gatherings near you coming soon.

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Some novel (Australian based) travel ideas for your residents

Are your residents missing international travel? (maybe not the jet lag, the airline food or the language barriers…)

At the recent Village Network meeting in NSW, the group shared commentary around the importance of residents having access to travel options both locally and interstate. Some village professionals have already put in place relationships with travel agents that are experienced in group travel arrangements.  

Japan in Cowra?

Why not mimic a Japanese holiday by visiting the cherry blossom season in Cowra NSW, Japanese Gardens, or a Japanese Bathhouse experience near Lithgow and then onto Sydney perhaps to visit the Japanese Foundation for a Tea Ceremony, or an origami class? Maybe even visit a Buddhist Temple to add to the cultural experience? A similar program could be developed in QLD.

Germany in Hahndorf

Or perhaps it’s a taste of Germany residents desire? Explore Hahndorf – Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement and the Barossa Valley. Explore the traditional shops, try their hand at making apple strudel, play German 9 pin bowling at the Tanundra Kegel Club established in 1858 and visit Jurlique’s biodynamic and organic farm established by a German couple and now a famous skin care range, as well as Seppletsfield, Haighs Chocolate factory and the Adelaide Migration Museum.

There are packages that can theme around Amsterdam, Greece and many more popular international trips that are on hold for now. Whether residents are keen to join an existing tour or tailor make something specific for their interests, there is no shortage of travel opportunities here in Australia.

If you are at a loss where to start to arrange such travel, consider a conversation with Naomi from Travel Associates who has 28 years of group travel experience and importantly, 13 years of arranging international seniors travel programs with DCMI’s Judy Martin for the SAGE International Study Tours.

Feel free to contact Naomi for your free consultation on 0411 264 241.

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Professional Development: Why it’s crucial for every Village Professional

We don’t need to remind you about the diverse range of roles and responsibilities that are a part of every Village Professional’s role.

But something we always find interesting about Village Professionals is their background – the roles they had before entering the village setting.

Village Professionals can come from a variety of areas including property management, care services, hospitality, sales, community services and even the police force.

And often their induction, initial training and ongoing professional development is just as varied.

Getting it right isn’t always easy

We know from experience ongoing professional development is key.

In an industry where the legislative requirements and consumer expectations change so rapidly, professional development is the only way to keep your head above water and put a vast amount of difficult-to-interpret information into context.

Professional Development activities assist village professionals to update knowledge, access new resources and reinforce their current skill sets to ensure currency in capability.  

Resources at your disposal

In support of this idea, the Property Council Retirement Living Council released the Management Capability Framework for the retirement living sector, which you can find here.

This framework outlines seven domains that you want to be maintaining currency in during your roles as a village professional:

  • Operations
  • Governance and Compliance
  • Self-Management
  • Change and Innovation
  • Community Engagement
  • Population Wellness
  • Sales Professionalism

Not only does professional development provide these currencies, new learnings and a peer network, it provides Village Professionals with confidence, tenacity and resilience to continue with their often isolating and challenging roles.

Better villages and helping your carer

Professional development isn’t just a way to increase productivity.

It’s a coupling of tools and technologies to meet the expectations of current and future consumers, and a must in all contemporary business in 2021 and beyond.

This is especially true in retirement living , where all village professionals must constantly balance business needs with resident expectations.

For information about how DCM Institute can help with your professional development, click here.

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Village Hubs Grants Fund moves to next stage and shows why villages are the ideal location

Independent Living Assessment (ILA) is seeking expressions of interest from Australian communities and organisations interested in setting up a Village Hub.

The initiative, designed as part of the Australian Government’s Seniors Connected Program aims to relieve loneliness and social isolations among older Australians by creating these new social and community hubs. 

The Government wants to trial 10 village hubs, with grants to support them and they’re expected to run from 2021 to 2024.

The Village Hubs will provide a diverse range of member-led social activities which could include any of the following:

  • Physical: walking groups, excursions and fitness classes 
  • Social: trivia, fundraising events, teas, lunches and dinners
  • Learning: guest speaker programs, digital skills mentoring
  • Arts and cultural: art classes, book club, choir

The Village Hubs Activity involves working with communities to fund the establishment of at least 10 Village Hub projects across Australia to provide pathways for residents to improve mental health through increased social connections.

Could a Village Hub be an advantage in your village?

For more information or to express your interest, click here.