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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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Increased retirement village regulations spreading across Australia – now Victoria

It’s a fight between QLD and NSW on which Government is going to introduce a new round of village regulations first, with other states copying and catching up.

This week has been Victoria’s turn and the Government is looking to embrace buybacks, following QLD which first introduced them, but also NSW in having different buyback periods depending on whether it’s a metro or regional village.

Village operators now have just a month to respond to the latest options paper from the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation on the proposed reforms to the Victorian Retirement Villages Act 1986 (Act).

You can read the paper here.

The 88-page paper lists 19 potential reforms for consideration, including:

  • Mandated buybacks for retirement village units not re-sold within a specified timeframe.
  • Amending the RV Act to clarify the definition of a retirement village.
  • Improving disclosure obligations, including requiring all fees to be disclosed in advertising materials.
  • Improving understanding of retirement village payment models by defining ‘deferred management fee’ and introducing yearly contract check-ups on request
  • Reforming the contract process by requiring contracts to be in plain English and introducing a requirement that residents must get legal advice before signing contracts.
  • Amending the Act to clarify all maintenance and repair requirements.
  • Extend the cooling-off period for retirement villages and/or introduce a settling-in period.
  • Amending the timeframe for charging fees to departing village residents for personal services and maintenance charges.
  • Clarifying reinstatement and renovation requirements for RV residents and operators.
  • Regulating the share of capital losses and gains.
  • Enhancing internal dispute resolution procedures, including removing the role of residents’ committees in resident disputes and/or mandating a Code of Conduct.
  • A new mandatory Code of Conduct to spell out the rights and responsibilities of RV operators and residents.
  • Clarifying the arrangements for residents’ committees.
  • Improving staff qualifications with mandatory qualifications for retirement village managers and staff.
  • Developing a compulsory village accreditation scheme.
  • Reforming the external dispute resolution process with mandatory conciliation and the establishment of an Industry Ombudsman.

The Government acknowledges concern from operators that mandated buybacks “would present significant financial challenges for operators, particularly for those operating in regional areas.”

Unsurprisingly, residents and advocacy organisations supported their introduction, but the report states there were “mixed views” about the length of time that should pass before a residence is bought back.

“Timeframes of six, 12 or 18 months would provide a starting point to further develop this option,” the paper says.

Operators have two options to respond – by responding to the paper or completing a survey.

Find out more here.

If you want to participate you will need to be quick though – submissions close 11.59pm Friday 14 May 2021.

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Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments Things to watch

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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It’s Award Season – Get ready to put your best foot forward

Each year, our peak industry bodies seek nominations for the Village Manager of the Year in each state, with the National Winner selected from state finalists.

These awards focus on recognising individuals striving for operational and service excellence in all the facets of their village responsibilities.

You can follow the links below to nominate for the awards, please note however that specific eligibility criteria applies to each award.

LASA – Retirement Village Manager of the Year 2021

This award from Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) aims to promote and recognise excellence across the seniors’ housing and retirement living industry.

It celebrates the passion and achievements of those individuals who continually maintain high standards in customer service, sales and marketing, complaints and dispute resolution and robust operational management processes across their retirement community.

Nominations for this award close on Friday 9 April 2021.

To  nominate for the LASA award, click here.

Programmed Award for Village Manager of the Year 2021

This award, from the Property Council of Australia’s Retirement Living Council recognises the village managers, staff and residents working towards the goal of a successful and harmonious village.

Nominees are reviewed on they work they do including making positive and innovative contributions to ensure resident happiness, providing a financially successful environment and going ‘above and beyond’ in the completion of their tasks.

Nominations for this award open on the 17th March 2021.

To nominate for the Property Council award, 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.

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The Royal Commission and your village

Over the last week the DCMI has been busy field questions from participants about the Royal Commission into Aged Care.

The big question is, “What does the Royal Commission mean to me as a village professional?”

The answer is short and sweet in the main – the immediate impact is little. But expect change over time.

The retirement living sector may see further innovation in models and offerings. Potentially, this means residents being encouraged and supported to age in place in your village.

The Retirement Living Council has identified six key themes in the recommendations that are likely to be significant for professional in retirement living.

These are key, and worth mulling over in detail:

1. Enshrining independence in a new Act and through funding to support people choosing to live independently at home, including:

a) a recommendation for a new grant funded assistive technology and home modification category within the aged care program by 1 July 2022.
b) a recommendation for a new care at home category by 1 July 2024, which would sit alongside a residential aged care category, and provide funding for a person receiving care at home that is no more than the funding amount that would be made available to provide care for them if they were assessed for care at a residential aged care service.

2. Improving public awareness of the resources available to assist people to plan for ageing and potential aged care needs, taking into consideration health care preferences, finances, housing and social engagement.

3. A call for employee organisations, government and employers to apply for an increase in award wages paid under the Aged Care Award 2010, the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 and the Nurses Award 2010.

4. Introducing a national registration scheme for the personal care workforce, with a mandatory minimum qualification of a Certificate III and a proposal that the National Cabinet Health Council determines whether to regulate the occupation of ‘personal care worker (health)’ or ‘assistant in nursing’ under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, established and governed under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

5. It was recommended a new National Cabinet Reform Committee on Ageing and Older Australians be placed on the National Cabinet agenda. The aim is to open the avenues needed for holistic attention to be given to the current patchwork of arrangements across housing, welfare, retirement income policy, health and aged care, but will elevate the status and enhance the rights of older people in the eyes of the community.

6. Further work to be done on how to finance/fund aged care, with the Commissioners expressing different recommendations on how to proceed.

In the short term, expect little impact in your day-to-day role.

However, long-term there may be a requirement to have knowledge and understanding of how to access support, research and information that assist residents to Age in Place.

The demands may be heightened, and village professionals will need to consider the impact of residents staying longer in your village from a financial, social and resource-demand perspective.

As always, the DCM Institute will be there every step of the way with advice, information and resources to assist you in this process.

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Save the date! You and your management team are invited to join us at the LEADERS SUMMIT

A quick reminder to register now for the LEADERS SUMMIT!

Hosted by our sister company DCM Group, the LEADERS SUMMIT brings together the leaders in retirement living and aged care industries. 

This includes 40 expert CEO speakers. 

It’s a great event to join, and worth passing on to your boss!

The idea is to unpack the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in simple terms, in a COVID-safe setting, with analysis and predictions. There is also the chance to network with your 

It’s also a great chance to network with your peers.

We’re going to be there, and we hope to see you there too. 

At just $2,200 it’s an exceptional investment in your career. 

Spots are strictly limited, so if you’re thinking of going we recommend registering now. You can register here. 

The future of retirement living and aged care. It’s important. 

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Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments

The Retirement Living ‘Code of Conduct’ turns one, plus a useful tool to help your village stay compliant in 2021

The Retirement Living Code of Conduct celebrated its first birthday last week. 

The new code for retirement villages was developed by the Property Council and LASA to give customers confidence in village management and operations.

Ben Myers from the Property Council said they’ve been thrilled to see almost 50 per cent of retirement villages participate and sign on.

This is despite obvious external pressure from COVID.

You’ve got to say it’s a real win for the sector.

“This year we will be increasing awareness of the Code to grow the number of subscribers,” Ben says.

“We have set an ambitious target of 75 per cent take up in the industry. This would seriously demonstrate the industry’s commitment to residents and to robust self-regulation.”

We here at the DCM Institute strongly support the Code of Conduct industry framework, and believe it supports best practice village operation, staff retention and resident satisfaction.

This is why we’ve provided plenty of info in our village manager professional development program to supply knowledge, guidance and resources to fast-track compliance with the code.

Keep an eye out for a new tool to be released in our 2021 program.

The Code of Conduct Gap Analysis tool can be used in conjunction with the Code Implementation plan. These resources help operators progress in their compliance of the code in2021.

You can find out more about our professional development program, and how it will help keep your village compliant here.

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Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments Things to watch

Join us at the LEADERS SUMMIT in your city – March 18 – 19

You’re cordially invited to join the DCM Institute at the LEADERS SUMMIT. Hosted by our sister company DCM Group, the LEADERS SUMMIT brings together 40 leading CEOs across five cities, live.

The key is to understand the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care, and the next steps for your business.

The impact for retirement living operators will be big, as the Commissioners are expected to promote a new model of living based on the current village setup.

In a COVID-safe setting, experience premium networking with your colleagues including our famous hatted restaurant dinners, full sit-down lunches and barista coffee breaks live in every city.

We’re going to be there, and we hope to see you there too.

The future of retirement living and aged care. It’s important.

Remember spots are strictly limited, so click this link to register now.