Key things to help you everyday

Practicing what you preach

Embarking on my journey in this sector, I’ve really enjoyed visiting our participants at their Villages. I often hear that each Village is different, with its unique types of accommodation, locations, operator models, residents, age of assets, and sizes. However, amidst these differences, is a common thread binds them together—the unwavering dedication of Village Professionals enhancing the lives of their residents.

Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved

Mattie Stepanek

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting The Arbour Berry for our first DCM Institute Networking Meeting, and I’ve been asked to do some reflective learning of my own and share my takeaways.

Learning isn’t confined to a classroom

We have spoken about this before in previous articles, there is a lot you can take away from spending time with peers.

Online learning in the Knowledge Centre is a key part of your development as a Village Professional, but there is real magic that happens when you get to sit in a room, around a table, or have a coffee and share ‘war stories’, as one person called it the other day.

Through casual conversations we were able to walk away with articles to look into reading, and insightful tips to help us develop a new problem-solving skill. Taking the time to network with peers presents an opportunity to expand our horizons.

Knowledge becomes wisdom after it is put to use

What was fascinating was sitting around a table of Village Professionals who had been in the role from 15 years to 15 days, and hearing some of their insights and interactions.

The connection was effortless with each challenge raised, teasing out options, possibilities and pathways forward by others willing to share their own knowledge. It reminds us the most valuable insights can be gained through spending time with peers, whether they’re from your own Village or a neighbouring one.

Networking events, Professional Development Days, and Masterclasses offer more than knowledge. They allow you to learn from peers about how they have put this knowledge into action, what worked, and in some cases, what didn’t.

Lonely is not being alone, it’s the fear that no one cares

During my time it has been fascinating to learn about how spread out this sector is. That many village professionals work similarly to what other sectors call ‘lone workers.’

What I’ve also learned is that when you put a group of Village Professionals in a room together, or on a webinar together, you all quickly realise that you are not alone.

Every Village, while distinct, is supported by dedicated professionals striving for the same goal: the well-being of residents. This shared purpose means that you have a wealth of industry knowledge and support at your fingertips. You all care.

These are my reflections from my own Learning Journal.

Reflections that remind me of the resilience and passion that define this sector. Despite the nuances that distinguish each village, the essence remains unchanged—a shared commitment to creating thriving communities.

Special Thanks

DCM Institute would like to thank Kylie Pickett and the team at The Arbour Berry for hosting us.

Key things to help you everyday

ARQRV receives $139,000 to inform prospective clients of retirement villages

Judy Mayfield, President of the Association of Residents of Queensland Retirement Villages (ARQRV), announced that her organization secured funding from the Queensland Government. The grant, totaling $139,000, enables ARQRV to offer crucial guidance to potential clients.

“Our primary goal is to educate prospective residents about the necessity of seeking legal counsel when dealing with retirement living or land lease contracts,” Judy emphasized.

Highlighting the importance of legal advice, Judy underscored potential oversights in contracts, such as responsibilities for maintenance and contents insurance. Ensuring prospective residents grasp these nuances is paramount.

ARQRV employs various outreach strategies to engage with residents effectively. This includes hosting regular Zoom meetings with residents’ committees and developing manuals to aid Village Managers in collaborating with residents’ committees. Through these efforts, ARQRV aims to empower residents with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about retirement living.

Key things to help you everyday

Winners, Losers and Ostriches 

The last edition of FRIDAY followed the DCM Group’s successful LEADERS SUMMIT, attended by a record 579 people from the seniors living and aged care sector across the country. 

Earlier this week a series of videos from the event were shared online by The Weekly Source.  

We wanted to call out one that we feel every Village Professional should find the time to watch, a presentation by Cam Ansell.  

About 11 years ago Cam Ansell jumped ship from advisory group Grant Thornton to establish his own advisory group, Ansell Strategic. Today he is at the forefront of the reshaping of retirement living and aged care, thanks to his in-demand mergers and acquisition business.  

At the LEADERS SUMMIT in Sydney last week, he made the prediction that 11 years from now, there will be two hundred thousand residents enjoying ‘independent living’. This compares with today where 200,000 retirement village residents and 100,000 land lease residents live in affordable villages. The number will drop by 33%. 

The video below explains what makes up this prediction for independent living, and talks to a significant rise in community based home care. A topic we have been exploring through our recent Home Care in Retirement Living Masterclasses. 

Key things to help you everyday

Insights from the Experts: Home Care in Retirement Living

Over the past two weeks, the DCM Institute hosted a Masterclass on Home Care in Retirement Living.

The webinar featured home care experts, Kylie Johnson from Living Choice, and Beverly Smith from myHomecare. The feedback from attendees was that the conversations had couldn’t have been more-timely, and when you look at the numbers it’s easy to see why.

According to PWC’s Retirement Living Census, the average age of residents within our villages is 81. We talk and write regularly around Dementia, with three out of every 10 Australians over the age of 80 living with a diagnosis. Research suggests there are many more undiagnosed.

Across the country we have Aged Care operators commending their facilities are full – and no more are being built.

The Home Care Packages Data Report (November 2023) suggests that as of 30 September 2023, there had been a 13% increase in people who had access to a Home Care Package (HCP) over the 12-month period. What’s more, there are an additional 31,500 waiting without

The numbers paint a picture that Village Managers are dealing with every day. Home Care is now part of our value proposition. The conversation on DCM Institute’s webinar came down to the types of models that are currently in the market, and what Managers can be doing to help residents remain independent and well in the safety of their retirement village home.

Equipping Village Managers with Essential Tools

“It’s about giving Village Managers that toolkit,” remarked Kylie, emphasising the importance of arming Managers with the necessary resources to support residents in their home care journey.

Kylie spoke about partnering with service providers in your local area health network to ensure Managers are having informed conversations with residents. This will then allow Village Managers to guide residents and their families effectively, promoting safety and independence as they age.

Establishing Strategic Partnerships

Beverly drew on her extensive experience with myHomecare, and previously Australian Unity where she was the Executive General Manager of their Retirement Living portfolio.

“Integrated models or long-term partnerships with home care providers are crucial,” she noted. These partnerships can be established at a local village level, or at a corporate level for larger operators. Regardless of the approach, Beverly advocated that a strategic partnership for those who do not provide home care as a service will ensure consistent and reliable support for residents and enhance the overall value proposition of the village community.

Leveraging My Aged Care as a Gateway

“My Aged Care is the National gateway into the Aged Care system,” highlighted Kylie.

By registering and exploring available resources on the platform, residents and Village Managers can gain valuable insights and access tailored support options.

Addressing Challenges in Accessing Timely Care

Acknowledging the challenges faced by residents in accessing timely care, Kylie highlighted lengthy wait times for assessments and approval of home care packages. It was noted that wait times can be up to 9 months for those with a Level 3 HCP.

Village Managers can play a proactive role, Kylie encouraged, through collaborating with family members, carers, discharge planners and case managers to expedite assessments, especially for high-priority cases.

Empowering Residents with Accurate Information

Beverly emphasised the importance of educating residents about their care options.

“Individualised advice is crucial,” she advised. By providing accurate information, Village Managers empower residents to make informed decisions about their care without unnecessary hesitation.

File Notes

The most challenging issue faced by Village Managers is when a resident’s health is deteriorating, and this is not being recognised or supported by family or loved ones. It was recommended by both Kylie and Beverly that Village Managers should take the time to keep quality ‘file notes’ – a simple record of what has been observed over a period of time.

Be Pro-active, collaborative and well informed.

The main take away from the webinar was the need for Village Professionals to be proactive in taking the time to understand the different care models, how to navigate systems like My Aged Care, and fostering partnerships with home care providers.

Key things to help you everyday

From Learning to Action

Using Learning to Empower Action

It has been a few weeks now since we concluded our first series of Professional Development Days for 2024.

We looked at Sustainability and Village Budgets, with even the most seasoned Village Professionals telling us they walked away with something new. This is fantastic and is why these days are important to your development.

Now, lets talk taking important, and making it powerful.

No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come.

Manmohan Singh

It all begins with a note

Review your notes in your Learning Journal promptly to recall what you wrote and grasp the context. It’s common to jot down something that makes perfect sense at the time, only to find it nonsensical four weeks later upon re-reading.

We have spoken before about the importance of reflection on any key takeaways and insights. It is through reflection that you can start the process of turning notes into action items. As you reflect, expand on the steps you’d need to go through to make an idea a reality. Consider, who are the key stakeholders? What, if any, budget will you need?

Get perspective

If others in your team were present, make the time to reach out to them and compare notes and learnings. Alternatively, this could be an opportunity to reconnect with your peer network, and those you shared a table with.

Find a way to share and discuss with colleagues and sector peers to help narrow your focus and confirm the steps required to turn these learnings into action items.

“You can’t boil the ocean”

This is a saying of a mentor who would use it to make sure any list of action items was achievable, which would take a combination of looking at the impact on the business or your residents, compared with the effort of achieving them.

Impact Vs Effort Matrix. To help identify the low hanging fruit – low effort, high impact action items.

If an action item is low impact, and takes little effort. It could make no difference in the overall scheme of things. These are action items that could be delegated to someone else.

Alternatively, if something is high impact for low effort, this is ‘low hanging fruit’. Something you should be looking to prioritise on impact value alone.

To begin with, start with the top 3 takeaways and fit them into the above matrix. It will help with prioritising you take away action items so that you don’t find yourself trying to ‘boil the ocean’.

Depending on the insights you want to implement into the village you might encounter some resistance and in March we are releasing a topic on Leading for Change that will assist you on how to handle that.

Handy tip: Talk to your Manager and residents about these action items. Not only will it keep them in the loop about what you’ve taken away from our Professional Development Days, it will also demonstrate the return on their investment in your professional development and create accountability while keep them informed of your progress.

Monitor and Report Back

Once you implement a change it’s not all one and done.  It might be a good idea to continue to monitor what you’ve done to assess its ongoing success and effectiveness. Remember to get some feedback from the team and other stakeholders, their feedback could take what you’ve done to a whole new level of success.

Interviews with James Wiltshire Key things to help you everyday

Elder Abuse is ‘bad business’ says outgoing Commissioner 

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Robert Fitzgerald AM, the outgoing Commissioner of the NSW Ageing & Disability Commission.

The NSW Ageing and Disability Commission (ADC) was established in 2019 and promotes the rights of older people and adults with disability to live free of abuse in their family, home and community.

During the 2022-23 period, the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline received 4,258 statutory reports about allegations of abuse, 75% of which related to older people.

Reflecting on the progress made over the past five years, Mr. Fitzgerald noted an increased awareness within the sector regarding the prevalence of elder abuse, including within retirement villages.

But ‘awareness’ is not enough.

During our time together, the Commissioner emphasised the crucial responsibility retirement village operators hold in identifying and reporting elder abuse within their communities.

“I think it’s simply bad business if you have a retirement village where abuse exists, and it’s not dealt with quickly and appropriately.”

The Commissioner stressed that mere awareness is insufficient. highlighting the need for village operators to have proactive measures in place, and to train their staff in recognising the early signs of elder abuse.

He asserted that swift and appropriate action must be taken if abuse is suspected, emphasising the necessity of an Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy as mandated by Rule 10 of the Rules of Conduct for NSW retirement village operators.

NSW leads the way with village operators required to have Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy in place

Under Rule 10 of the Rules of Conduct for NSW retirement village operators, operators must prepare an Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy.

This Rule also requires that Village Managers are trained in the Strategy, so they know what steps to take if they do identify elder abuse in their village.

“We’re not trying to say that residents or staff should become experts in identifying what abuse is,” said the Commissioner. “That’s our job. “

“What we say is that if you are genuinely concerned about what you see, if you fear that somebody is being unduly influenced, if you believe that a relationship is forming that has elements which are more than just friendship or support, that’s the time to act.”

Advice to operators?

Download a copy of the Commission’s 24-page guide for village operators on how to meet Rule 10 and implement your Elder Abuse Prevention Strategy now if you haven’t already done so.

“I’m confident we’re on the right path working together, putting out material that can support and help retirement villages, but every operator of every retirement village in New South Wales has a responsibility to proactively implement those safeguarding arrangements, which will make a difference.”

Secondly, educate your staff and residents.

“The staff need to feel safe to raise concerns. Residents also need to feel safe. If they think the staff or the operator won’t take the issue seriously or worse, will treat them in a negative way – and that does happen – they won’t come forward.”

“The most important thing of all is to create a safe environment where abuse is just not tolerated,” concluded Mr Fitzgerald.

Will Elder Abuse Prevention Strategies become more widespread? We think YES.

Interestingly, we were in the ACT last month to attend an industry event. At the event was a representative from the Human Rights Commission, who actively assists residents and operators with mediation and dispute resolution.

Mr. Fitzgerald, this week commenced in his new role as the Age Discrimination Commissioner. This is a statutory position within the Australian Human Rights Commission, established under the Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth).

In his new role, Mr Fitzgerald’s office is responsible for addressing barriers to equality and participation caused by age discrimination and protecting Australians of all ages from discrimination based on age in employment, education, accommodation and the provision of goods and services.

Mr Fitzgerald is familiar with our sector, and with the report from the NSW Retirement Village Residents’ Association, Ageing Without Fear.

We can see the issue of Elder Abuse in retirement villages continuing to have the microscope on it, and operators being expected to do more to prevent it across the country.

This article was orginally posted as part of a SATURDAY project on Elder Abuse. To read the full article, subscribe here.

Key things to help you everyday

Five on Friday with 1,000 Club Member Lyn Ferguson

Introducing Lyn Ferguson (pictured above), Village Manager at Bethanie Elanora in South Bunbury, a beachside suburb in Bunbury, 175km south of Western Australia’s capital city Perth, and part of DCM Institute’s exclusive 1,000 Club.

Did you have a different career before becoming a Village Manager? Tell us about them and how did they set you up for the role?

When I started with Bethanie I was employed as a physician assistant in the Southern Regional Hub and also worked within Community.  Learning about the services and packages, meeting clients, and accompanying them on their outings was always so satisfying.

 I also worked in the laundry, the kitchen, in administration and in the maintenance team, and having brought in some accounts experience, I’ve experienced the business from many angles.

 What do you enjoy most about your role and the one thing that has surprised you about it?

I really enjoy interacting and supporting the residents and their families and helping them understand what services are available and how to utilise them.

 What have you gained from the DCM Institute program?

The DCM Institute provided me with the knowledge of so many practical elements of managing a Village, as well as understanding more from the perspective of management.

There is always something that you can take away that you weren’t aware of and with DCM Institute we have ongoing support, plus networking with other business partners in the industry.

How do you manage your time to ensure you can balance responsibilities to residents and your operator, with your own learning and development?

I have dedicated time that I put aside for my DCM Institute leaning and development in order to focus. 

The one thing you would tell anyone thinking of being a Village Manager.    

Being a Village Manager is a big responsibility, but it is also very rewarding to help guide residents through the next chapter of their lives. 

I find the support we give to the families alongside the residents in our village is equally powerful.  I totally love my job and all the residents.

Thinking of a career in a retirement village. Contact DCM Executive Recruitment

Key things to help you everyday

Older people let down by product useability – Report

The report, Empowering Older Australians with Better Product Usability, summarises the findings of a national survey of more than 1,000 Australians aged 65 years and over on the challenges they face in everyday situations.

We’ve identified that there’s a significant gap between industry’s belief that products are user-friendly for older consumers and the actual usability challenges faced by older Australians every day.

Julianne Parkinson, CEO, Global Centre for Modern Ageing

More than 80% of respondents felt product designers and manufacturers overlooked their needs, flagging examples from font usage, to grip issues when it comes to handling products.

The report has been produced to draw the attention of product developers and manufacturers of the need to consider the fastest growing consumer market in Australia – the over 65s.

To access the full report, click here.

Key things to help you everyday

More Participants Join the 1,000 Club

Presented at the recent Professional Development Day held at the Pullman Hyde Park Sydney, the Award is in recognition of Patrick and Chelsea reaching the 1,000 points milestone for their professional development journey with the DCM Institute.

“It is a real privilege to be able to recognise the achievement of Patrick and Chelsea in front of their peers,” said Tiffany Folbigg, Operations Manager for the DCM Institute.

“They join a growing list of village professionals who we have welcomed into the 1,000 Club over the last two years. Professionals who are committed to their own development and success as a leader in their businesses.”

How professional development points work

Each person enrolled in DCM Institute’s Village Manager Professional Development Program accumulates points for the completion of topics and attendance at virtual and face to face events, such as Professional Development Days and Village Summits.

These Professional Development Points sit on an academic transcript that participants can access through the Knowledge Centre and serve as a record of a person’s accomplishment during their ongoing enrolment in the wider program.

Key things to help you everyday Key Things to Help You Everyday

Employee Appreciation Day is 1 March 2024

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.

Stephen R. Covey, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

With Employee Appreciation Day just around the corner, it’s a timely reminder for Australian businesses to step up the recognition of their hard-working employees.

Employee Appreciation Day is an excellent opportunity to show your team how much you value their efforts. With recognition so closely tied to retention (and recruitment), it’s critical that you take the time to create bespoke, meaningful ways to celebrate this occasion within your unique workplace.

While Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on one day, it’s principles should be upheld all year long. By reinforcing a positive work culture that recognises achievements, you can uplift your employees to reduce stress, increase productivity and boost motivation to help you exceed your organisational goals.

How to show appreciation on Employer Appreciation Day

Don’t forget, a little appreciation goes a long way in fostering a happy and motivated workforce. By leveraging Employee Appreciation Day in Australia, you can show your team how truly valued they are. 

88% of Australian employers are concerned about their company’s ability to retain employees in 2024.

With reasons spanning everything from competition (26%) to heavy workloads (25%), non-competitive salaries (21%) to burnout (20%), it’s clear that employees require more focus than ever before*.

Celebrations don’t have to be complicated but they do have to be meaningful. If you’re wondering where to start, consider some of our suggestions below: 

Say ‘thank you’ Sure, it sounds simple but vocal appreciation is super important. 

These two little words not only make employees feel valued, they also help to set a great example for positive reinforcement in the workplace. 

Cultivating a positive work environment helps to boost productivity and the wider employee experience. 

DCM Institute wants to say THANK YOU to all our participants who attend our Professional Development Days and Masterclasses and are committed to continuing their professional development journey with us through the use of the Knowledge Centre.