Latest industry developments

What the Aged Care Task Force means for Retirement Village Operators?

There are 23 recommendations but the ones must pertinent to the retirement living sector are: 

  • Recommendation 1: Underpin the Support at Home Program with inclusion and exclusion principles and clearly defined service lists. 
  • Recommendation 3: It is appropriate older people make a fair co-contribution to the cost of their aged care based on their means. 
  • Recommendation 7: Establish a fee-for-service model for Support at Home that ensures participants only pay a co-contribution for services received.  
  • Recommendation 8: Introduce Support at Home participant co-contributions that vary based on the type of service accessed. 

“The Taskforce notes the Support at Home Program needs much clearer specifications than current programs about what it will and will not fund. The lack of clarity and consistency in inclusions and exclusions in current home care programs has led to confusion between providers and participants. This affects participants’ ability to make informed choices about their care, diminishes value for money in the programs, and could also mean that funds are not used according to the policy intent of home care,” it reads. 

In a nutshell, it wants to make the consumer pay for non-care components such as gardening, washing the dishes, and general cleaning.  

This is positive news for the sector. The Retirement Living Council (RLC) has released a new document titled “Shared Care”, the brainchild of Ryman Healthcare Australia CEO Cam Holland (pictured), which proposes part of a resident’s Home Care Package funding can be shared with the rest of the village to create efficiencies. An example would be part of the funds would contribute to a nurse on-site which would benefit the whole village as well as a care package recipient. 

Cam has long advocated for the ability to increase contributions from residents to lessen the burden on the taxpayer.

While direct aged care services should always be publicly funded, the accommodation and daily service costs aged care residents currently contribute to on top of that [in the form of refundable accommodation deposits and daily accommodation payments and basic daily fees] need to be deregulated.”

“Consumers, especially cashed-up Baby Boomers who are entering aged care in their droves, want the kind of accommodation and services they’ve enjoyed their entire lives, aged care operators want to provide these, but aren’t allowed to under the current model.

“Through a co-contribution model, government funding would cover care costs, while residents with the means to would contribute towards accommodation and daily hotel services that suit their individual tastes and requirements. Appropriate safety nets for those without means are already part of the current legislative environment and should be protected and strengthened.”

Cameron Holland, CEO, Ryman Healthcare Australia

Originally published by The Weekly Source.

Latest industry developments

A top down view on Dementia by leading operator

With the average age of retirement village residents now 81, and one in three Australians aged over 85 living with some form of dementia or cognitive impairment, it doesn’t take a mathematician to realise that dementia is no longer an emerging problem for village operators – it’s on the doorstep now.

With few legal avenues available to move residents from the village onto residential aged care, Village Managers are increasingly dealing with residents with higher-level dementia needs ranging from wandering and ‘sundowning’ to agitation and aggression.

is there a solution?

James Wiltshire, Executive Director of the DCM Institute, which provides professional development for Village Managers and head office staff, says it is clear that Village Professionals need some strategies and training to be able to identify and understand any changes in their residents, and be able to act instead of waiting for the behaviours to escalate.

Managers and staff at the coalface of our sector are starved for guidance on how to approach the subject of dementia with residents and with their families.

James Wiltshire, Executive Director, DCM Institute

The DCM Institute held a series of Professional Development Days across the country last year that covered the issue of dementia and retirement living in partnership with dementia advocacy peak body Dementia Australia.

The operator also has a responsibility to take on a leadership role in educating its staff and residents about dementia.

One operator that has taken on the ‘dementia challenge’ is Keyton, which has 76 operational retirement villages across Australia and has seen a majority of its village staff from the executive leadership team down complete training with Dementia Australia.

“We obviously see in the villages that our staff witness a lot of changed behaviours, some of which may be because a resident has dementia,” said Marcelle Wilson, Keyton’s National Operations Manager – Governance & Compliance.

“So, it’s important for the staff that they understand what dementia is, and what they can do to assist that person living with dementia to feel more comfortable.”

“From the other residents’ perspective, they are living in a community so it’s important that they understand so that they can be more patient with people who might have some behavioural symptoms of dementia.”

Educating residents to end dementia stigma

Keyton first started working with Dementia Australia in August 2018 when the operator held Dementia Friends workplace events in its Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth corporate offices and for staff across 26 villages in ACT, NSW, VIC, and QLD.

The Dementia Friends campaign is run as a free morning or afternoon tea event where staff can come to learn more about dementia and hear people living with dementia tell their stories via a series of videos with the aim of reducing some of the stigma around the disease.

“We know there is some discrimination and angst [among village residents], and it’s driven by a lack of understanding of the disease,” said Marie Norman, National Relationships Manager at Dementia Australia, who worked with both Keyton and DCM Instite on their dementia education content.

Dementia Australia’s Marie Norman, speaking at a DCM Institute Professional Development Day in Sydeny, August 2023.

People often find it confronting if their fellow residents are disorientated or being more outspoken, which can happen depending on where the damage is in the brain.

We help them to understand that it is a disease process and not someone simply becoming difficult.”

Marie Norman, Dementia Australia
Supporting carers in the village

The other aspect is supporting those residents where one person is acting as a carer for a partner living with dementia.

“There’s a whole support network system that needs to be in place,” said Marcelle.

Some carers aren’t aware of the resources that are available for them to tap into so it’s also about connecting them with organisations such as Dementia Australia.

Marcelle Wilson, Keyton’s National Operations Manager – Governance & Compliance

Dementia Australia can also provide villages with advice on changes to the village, for example, improved signage and using name badges, that can help people living with dementia to navigate their way around more easily.

ongoing dementia education required

Following the success of these Dementia Friends workplace events, Keyton rolled out Dementia Australia’s Understanding Dementia training – three-hour, face-to-face sessions for village staff – across all its villages in 2019, with 400 staff taking part.

These training sessions discuss steps that Village Managers can take to better support their residents.

The education gives them the capacity and confidence to be able to handle situations and empowers them to make better decisions to work out a way to support that person

Maria Norman, Dementia Australia

“Village Managers want to provide residents with a quality of life,” James said. “There does come a time when this can’t be achieved without having the skills and knowledge of how to facilitate access to the care and support.”

Dementia Australia advises that this kind of training should also extend to all village staff, for example, reception, gardening, and maintenance staff who may have contact with residents.

With the Government putting more funding into helping older Australians to live at home for longer – and residential aged care increasingly reserved for people at the end-of-life or palliative stage – the reality is that villages will be home to residents with higher-level dementia care needs.

Should all village operators be looking at Keyton’s initiatives and how their organisation is equipping staff and residents to face this challenge head-on?

Dementia Australia’s National Dementia Helpline is available 24/7 on 1800 100 500 for advice and support. Village staff can also contact Marie and the team at Dementia Australia via email at

This article is part of a special eight-part SATURDAY project on dementia. To read the full arcile, subscribe here.

Latest industry developments

ACT Residents’ Association receives $25,000 grant

“The Government has heard that retirement living can be complex, especially for some residents to understand their financial rights and obligations,” the Justice and Community Safety Directorate said.  

“Some residents may face additional vulnerabilities, for example due to isolation or difficulty navigating technology.”  

ACT Retirement Villages Residents Association (ACT RVRA) will be able to tell people in retirement villages that they are there to help and can talk to government agencies and join discussions to show off their excellent work and share useful ideas. Some of the money will be used to create newsletters and other materials for residents, ensuring that everyone, even those without internet, can stay informed with important updates, said the Directorate.  

Key objectives funded by this grant include:

  1. Enhancing the RVRA’s capabilities: Funding will support a ‘virtual’ office, dedicated phone line and resources to provide a reliable point of contact and information exchange for residents and stakeholders.
  2. Building awareness: The grant helps the ACT RVRA promote itself directly within retirement villages as a source of support for residents, and to engage with government agencies and participate in relevant forums to showcase their work and best practices.
  3. Enhancing communication: Resources will go towards newsletters for residents and informational materials, including ensuring residents without internet access receive vital updates.

John Beagle (pictured above), President of the ACT RVRA, said the grant would “make a tangible difference to the lives of ACT retirement village residents and prospective residents, who will be provided with independent information, advice, advocacy and representation, and the knowledge they need to understand and exercise their rights, and actively participate in their community”.  

**John has subsequently stood down and Mike Vale is now Acting President of ACT RVRA. 

Latest industry developments

Emma Benjamin crowned WA Village Manager of the Year

Emma, who has been employed at the operator of Retirement Living, Residential Aged Care and Rental Accommodation services across Western Australia for over five years, was named WA Village Manager of the Year at a Property Council industry event in Perth last Wednesday (13 March). 

I am deeply grateful for the guidance, inspiration and unwavering support of my colleagues at Masonic Care WA

Emma Benjamin, Village Manager, Masonic Care WA

“Working alongside such a dedicated group not only supports me, but it also inspires me to strive for excellence on a daily basis.” 

A formoer mortgage and finance broker, Emma is now a finalist for the National Village Manager of the Year award, competing against:

This year’s national winner will be announced at the National Retirement Living Awards on the Gold Coast in June.

Latest industry developments

Race for Village Manager of the Year Heats Up

John Neill, who manages Levande’s Somerton Park, Brighton and Fullarton villages, was awarded SA/NT Village Manager of the Year at a Property Council Retirement Living Outlook event in Adelaide recently.

“It is an interesting time for the industry,” John said.

“With a younger group of people looking at retirement living, it will be interesting to see how the industry evolves over the next five to 10 years.”

He added Levande has “fairly ambitious targets ahead and obviously there is the wellbeing side of things and integration of care”.

Leanne Zannoni, who manages Keyton’s Forest Hills Retirement Village in Nunawading, a suburb 18km east of Melbourne’s CBD, said her team at Forest Hills “have been through a journey the past 12 months and there is another big 12 months to come.”

“My journey in retirement living over the past three years has been a short one so far, but a lovely one and I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people that I have met and who have supported me,”she said.

“Thank you to the Keyton team, we have had a big year, and our executive team has been amazing.

“They have led with heart, supported everyone along the way and we couldn’t have done it without them.”

In the running for the National Village Manager of the Year, John and Leoni will join:

  • Jodie Shelley, ACT/NSW Village Manager of the Year;
  • Leanne Zannoni, VIC/TAS Village Manager of the Year, and
  • Stephen Pether, Queensland Village Manager of the Year,

This year’s national winner will be announced at the National Retirement Living Awards on the Gold Coast in June.

Latest industry developments

Share Care: Wellness, Efficiencies and Tax Payer Savings

The RLC has just released a 48 page policy argument for the government and the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care to recognise that retirement villages already provide home support and that a small number of policy changes to the Community and Home support funding programs can save the Government $100 million a year. 

The concept of Shared Care is to take a small portion of a large number of village residents’ Community and Home support packages and apply those funds to the full village, which would deliver economies of scale and investments in wellness supports for all residents.

An example would be instead of say 10 residents each utilising their individual home support packages to be individually taken to the shops to buy their groceries, part of those funds would be used to fund a village bus trip where one bus and one driver takes 10 people to the shops. 

Another example would be for the collective funds to pay for a village nurse, who would not only look after people on Government-funded Packages but also the other village residents and with the better health support, more likely arrest their pending acuity. 

The report also points out that village operators already deliver many of the common services under a Community or Home Support Package, such as home modifications, transport to medical and recreational events, meals and meal preparation, assistive technology and domestic assistance. 

Under a master Home Care Package, why can’t the village expand the delivery of the services and be compensated? The result would be cheaper than a resident receiving the services from an outside home care provider. 

There is a long way to go before Shared Care may be fully embraced by Government, but elements could be announced as early as the May Federal Budget. 

The major achievement is that the Department, therefore the Government, is recognising the role and the opportunity of retirement villages deliver in the care journey. 

The RLC is recommending a trial or pilot. The hope is that can commence soon so that when the new Support at Home program commences in July 2025, there is a platform to expand on.

The sector has moved a long way in the last year or two. And this is needed, because as we reported last Thursday in The SOURCE, in the nine months to September 2023 just 520 new aged care places were added in Australia compared to the Government’s estimate of 8,800 required every year. 

Retirement village ‘beds’, with professional support, can go a long way to fill this gap with the benefit of Shared Care. 

Originally published in The Weekly Source.

Home Care In Retirement Living

Participants in DCM Institute’s Professional Development Program have access to an exclusive webinar ‘Home Care in Retirement Living,” later this month.

The purpose of this webinar is to look at the different ways in which Home Care works in a retirement village setting. We have invited two subject matter experts to provide guidance on the options available to them, and to explore the models that are currently out there across the country. 

For more information on the webinar email:

Latest industry developments

Tributes for Jim Gibbons, past President of the RVRA NSW

Jim had been a member of the RVRA (Retirement Village Residents Association) Board since 2014, President from 2017 to 2021 and since then has been serving as the Immediate Past President.   

The strong relationship the sector has with the Residents Association has with the sector in NSW can be attributed to Jim’s work during his time as President of the RVRA NSW.

He had become a very good personal friend, generous in his time and enthusiastic support of all things that supported retirement village residents and in life in general. He freely gave his time to speak at multiple DCM Institute events, our Village Summits, our LEADERS SUMMITS, our research projects and general background on editorial matters.

We will miss him. 

Craig Bennett, President of the NSW RVRA, joins in to say “All those who knew Jim realised that he was a special person – a counsellor, friend, confidante. And most notably a passionate defender of the rights of residents in retirement villages in NSW.”

The members of the Board are going miss his presence, his smile, his fervour and we ask that you keep Jim’s wife Mary and his family, in your thoughts and prayers at this time.

Craig Bennett, President of the RVRA NSW

Judy Mayfield, President of the ARQRA (The Association of Residents of Queensland Retirement Villages), said was with much sadness when it heard of Jim’s passing. 

Jim worked with both government and industry to present the views of residents and to ensure that their opinions were heard and respected, he contributed to the work of the national Retirement Village Residents’ Association (ARVRA) and was always willing to share his ideas with the other State presidents.  

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time, he will be missed by all who knew and worked with him.

Judy Mayfield, President of ARQRV

John Beagle, President of the ACT RVRA, said it is shocked and saddened at Jim’s death. 

Our organisation owes its existence to the unfailing guidance Jim provided to assist us to regenerate after COVID-19.  Jim was asked the best way to try and become a viable RVRA.

Over a period of many months, he provided the essential knowledge we needed.  This culminated in Jim being the keynote speaker at the first ever Forum held in the ACT for existing and potential RV residents. 

His presentation was excellent and extremely well received. Up until the week before he became ill he was still providing wise and considered counsel. We will miss him.

John Beagle, President of ACT RVRA

Originally published in The Weekly Source.

Latest industry developments

Amendment Bill tabled in South Australia

The Bill introduces a series of proposed amendments to the existing Retirement Villages Act 2016 (SA) to provide greater clarity to operators on several matters and to safeguard the rights and interests of residents.

The key changes under consideration:

  • Enhanced Registrar Powers: The Bill suggests providing the Registrar with additional information-gathering powers to strengthen oversight.
  • Increased Transparency in Contracts: Residents can anticipate more detailed residence contracts and disclosure statements, ensuring a clearer understanding of their rights and obligations.
  • Mandatory Terms in Residence Contracts: The introduction of mandatory terms for all residence contracts will standardize agreements across the sector.
  • Deposit Regulation: The Bill proposes regulating the taking of deposits, imposing a cap of $5,000 to prevent excessive financial burdens on residents.
  • Shortened Buyback Period: The statutory buyback period is set to be reduced from 18 months to 12 months plus 30 days, offering quicker resolution for departing residents.
  • Controlled Recurrent Charge Increases: Restrictions on recurrent charge increases to CPI where contracts lack a fixed amount or formula.
  • Sinking Fund Contribution Limits: A cap of 1% of the unit’s current market value per year, not exceeding 12.5%, is proposed for sinking fund contributions upon departure.
  • Limited Alteration Refusals: Grounds for operators to refuse consent to prescribed alterations in a resident’s unit will be restricted.
  • Safety and Insurance Obligations: New obligations regarding village safety and insurance will be introduced for operators.
  • Restricted Scheme Terminations: Operators will face limitations on terminating a retirement village scheme in ‘part’.
  • Expanded Tribunal Powers: The SA Civil & Administrative Tribunal is set to gain enhanced powers to hear and make orders about retirement village disputes.
  • Mandatory Training Requirements: Village operators and staff will be required to undergo mandatory training.
  • Codes of Conduct: The Bill provides for additional codes of conduct to be observed by village operators, managers, staff, and residents.

The Bill remains with the South Australian Parliament with the proposed amendments to take effect at a date to be determined.

Speaking at DCM Institute’s recent Professional Development Day in Adelaide, Vanessa Clarke from the Department of Ageing Well noted that following proclamation, her team would still need to work on the accompanying regulations – which would take some time, and require further consultation.

DCM Institute’s industry partners, MinterEllison, are urging village operators in South Australia to carefully consider the Bill, make any necessary changes to their village contracts, and assess potential impacts on operations. This is to ensure they are prepared when the amendments commence.

Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments Uncategorized

NSW RVRA in high-powered meeting over abuse in retirement villages

The survey was summarised in a report titled ‘Ageing Without Fear’ which showed:

  • Over 40% reported experiencing at least one type of abuse. The proportion of females reporting abuse was higher (44%) than for males (34%).
  • The most commonly reported types of abuse were Patronisation (31%), followed by Harassment (20%) and Intimidation (20%).
  • For each type of abuse, over two-thirds of respondents indicated it occurred on multiple occasions, with the highest repeat figure of 77% for Harassment.
  • The most common type of abuse is Patronisation, with 69% specifying Management as the source of that type of abuse. This category included village staff, the manager and Head Office.
  • Resident-on-resident abuse was the highest source of abuse at 70% (except Patronisation).

Roger Pallant, Secretary of the RVRA, subsequently presented the survey’s report, Ageing Without Fear, to the Retirement Living Council and the Property Council. A meeting between the parties was subsequently held with a commitment to work together to develop strategies and materials to mitigate the abuse within retirement villages.

Then the RVRA contacted the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission (ADC) and the report was provided to them. A meeting followed between the RVRA and the ADC with a commitment to work together to develop a coordinated approach for training and materials related to elder abuse.

This month Roger travelled to Sydney for a meeting with Robert Fitgerald, the Ageing and Disability Commissioner, his team, the Retirement Living Council and the Property Council.

“The meeting was a meet and greet but there was general consensus that this topic was best addressed if we all joined forces and collaborated on getting a common message out to villages and residents.”

Roger Pallant

Roger was part of a panel at the Property Council NSW Retirement Outlook forum in Sydney last Thursday (pictured below). The panel moderated by Tamara Rasmussen, Head of Resident Operations at Keyton, also featured Jane Monk, CEO of Gannon Lifestyle Communities, and Keyton Regional Operations Manager, Liz Johns.

The ADC conducts “Roadshows” in regions and the RVRA and the Property Council will present where appropriate to demonstrate a joint approach to this serious and important topic.

Roger said some of the key areas to be reviewed will be:

  • Provision of materials for current and prospective residents regarding what elder/psychological abuse and where to go for help if needed.
  • Review of induction/training programs for village managers.
  • Development of training materials for residents committees in dealing with complaints of abuse and referral sources.
  • Communication methods to ensure information and materials are being made available to all villages.

“The RVRA will produce further reports re psychological abuse to ensure this topic remains uppermost in residents and managers minds. Having the support of the ADC and the Property Ccouncil will make getting the message out to residents so much easier.”

Roger Pallant
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.