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Retirement village contract terminology is our downfall, says LASA

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) is lobbying state governments reviewing their retirement village acts to use standardised terms to help prospective residents understand their contracts.

‘Hallelujah’ I hear you cry!

LASA’s Principal Living & Seniors Housing, Paul Murphy, says the current contract terminology is harming retirement villages and surely he has a valid point.

“Terms such as ‘ingoing contribution’, ‘exit entitlement’, ‘premium’ and ‘deferred management fee’ are not terms that clearly articulate their intent,” he said.

“The Deferred Management Fee is also foreign to prospective residents. It is not really a fee. It is the lease payment for tenure in the village.”

He published a graphic (pictured above) which seeks to standardise the contract terminology across the nation.

Would you prefer talking to prospective residents about a “bond”, “bond refund” or “lease payment”?

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Boomers have unfinished business

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a very interesting webinar with Bronwyn White, who has been researching Baby Boomers for the last 20 years.

There were some very interesting insights from the webinar which focused on Marketing to Baby Boomers and I thought I would share just a few. She found that:

  • 80% of Baby Boomers feel like they’re being ignored or they’re invisible;
  • 94% dislike the messaging tone or words used to describe them or entice them;
  • 25% of Boomers hold onto 56% of Australia’s wealth, and
  • 85% of females influence all decision making in homes across Australia and cautioned us to think about the influence Boomer women maybe having on their children’s and parents purchasing decisions.

Bronwyn said there was strong evidence that family is paramount to the boomer and shared the importance of including dialogue and photography that included family when marketing to the boomer.

But one of the most interesting things to me was that she indicated that the research showed most Boomers aren’t done yet!  In fact, they see themselves as having Unfinished Business! 

Some want to start a new business, complete a PhD, live overseas and experience a different culture. Essentially, they are still searching for purpose, significance and the ability to continue to grow, learn and be adventurous.

Bronwyn made a throwaway line “will we be seeing incubator sessions in villages” ….

This is an interesting proposition, but whether we will or we won’t see incubator sessions in villages is to be debated. 

Those of us with a larger number of Boomers in our villages are certainly seeing that the desire for activities, engagement and entertainment is high, with many residents still engaged in external activities such as existing businesses, holding board positions, volunteering, and contributing interest groups. 

It begs the question, how villages will support/facilitate the continuation of these activities as the Boomer ages and it becomes harder to participate, contribute, travel and get to entertainment activities?

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Is your village dementia-friendly?

Back in 2019 I wrote about a new program Dementia Australia had developed called Dementia Friendly communities Dementia-friendly communities​ | DCM Institute (thedcminstitute.com.au). There are now 51 regions that have implemented the Dementia Friendly communities’ program in their local area.

By 2058 the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to almost 1.1 million. Anecdotally I am hearing the impact of this increase is already being felt in villages across the country as its prevalence increases with this next generation as residents live longer in villages.

Dementia can be a significant contributor to behaviour change.

“There are many reasons why a person’s behaviour may be changing. Dementia is a result of changes that take place in the brain and affects the person’s memory, mood and behaviour. Sometimes the behaviour may be related to these changes taking place in the brain,” says Dementia Australia.

Managing changed behaviours can be very difficult and is often a matter of trial and error.

I know it can be hard sometimes if someone is acting angrily towards you but try to remember that the behaviour is often not deliberate. Anger and aggression are often directed against those closest to a resident, family members, neighbours, village professionals and carers can be included in this.

The behaviour is often out of the person’s control and they themselves may be quite frightened by it. Sometime trying a reassuring approach may assist.

Dementia Australia recommends the following strategies you can try when dealing with these situations:

  • A calm, unstressed environment in which the person with dementia follows a familiar routine can help to avoid some difficult behaviours;
  • Try to keep the environment familiar. People with dementia can become upset if they find themselves in a strange situation or among a group of unfamiliar people where they feel confused and unable to cope;
  • The frustration caused by being unable to meet other people’s expectations may be enough to trigger a change in behaviour;
  • If behaviour becomes difficult, it is best not to attempt any form of physical contact such as restraining, leading them away or approaching from behind. It may be better to leave them alone until they have recovered, or call a friend or neighbour for support;
  • Try not to take it personally;
  • Try not to use a raised voice;
  • Avoid punishment. The person may not remember the event and is therefore not able to learn from it;
  • Speak slowly, in a calm and reassuring voice, and
  • Try not to become provoked or drawn into an argument.

Dementia Australia also boasts some great resources with further information on understanding and coping with changed behaviours.

Changing behaviours and dementia

Changed behaviours and dementia 1 – Changed behaviours

Coping with behaviour changes

Coping with behaviour changes | Dementia Australia

Training courses.

Courses – Centre for Dementia Learning | Dementia Australia.

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Things to watch Village Operator

Movie screening in retirement villages: it’s the law

Last week I read a great alert from our Industry Partners Russell Kennedy that provided a timely reminder about screening of movies within Retirement Communities, particularly during these COVID times when residents are often more likely to stay within the village.

In my experience there is often some confusion about whether operators are required to have a license when screening movies in community centres. 

 Most of us will have seen the notices at the start of DVDs or streaming services warning that the film is provided for in-home use only. At the time of purchase you are often also purchasing the right to view the movie in your own home.

However, what if you wish to screen the film in the community centre. That is when things get a little complicated.

Our colleagues Rohan Harris (pictured) and Gina Tresidder at Russell Kennedy share the following.

There are no blanket exceptions or specific ‘fair dealing’ provisions that apply to the screening of films in aged care homes or retirement villages1 or for not-for-profits. So the question becomes whether it is a ‘private’ or ‘public’ screening.

What’s the difference between a ‘Private’ and ‘Public’ screening?

There are no specific guidelines set out in the legislation.

Generally, if a resident is watching a film in the same way a person might do in a private home then it is likely to be considered a private screening. For example: If a resident of a retirement village hires a DVD or signs up to a streaming service and watches a film alone in their room or invites a few friends over to watch.

This would generally be regarded as a private screening that would not require permission.

 However, if the provider or the operator organises to screen a film for multiple residents in a common area such as a recreation room, for example, this is more likely to be considered a public screening requiring permission from the copyright owners. For example: If a retirement village committee plays a DVD in the community centre and residents from the village gather there to watch it, even if there are no guests from outside the village;

This is more likely to be considered a public screening requiring a licence.

Where can I get a licence?

Rather than approaching the individual owners of copyright in the particular films you wish to screen, to streamline matters, the various studios have granted rights to different organisations to manage licensing on their behalf.

 In particular, we understand that Roadshow Public Performance Licensing (RPPL) (www.roadshowppl.com.au) manages licenses for studios such as Roadshow, Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox. RPPL has recently authorised a specialist distributor, Heritage Films International Pty Ltd, to issue the Big Studio Movie Licence (www.bsml.com.au) to retirement communities and aged care facilities.

What if I do not get a licence?

If you do not get a licence, then you may be infringing the copyright in the films you screen. The copyright owner or authorised licensee could take legal action against you any time up to six years after the infringement occurred. The copyright owner could seek orders from the courts including that the infringer pay damages or a portion of profits. In some circumstances, directors can also be found personally liable.

If you need some further clarification or guidance on this matter please reach out to Rohan or Gina at Russell Kennedy’s IP team.

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Latest industry developments Things to watch Village Operator

New retirement village regulations in every state: operational and compliance costs to rise in 2022

NSW:

Asset management plans will continue to be the dominant regulatory issue for village operators with July set down as the start date of penalties for operators that fail to meet their AMP requirements.

As we have reported, the legislation – a by-product of the Greiner inquiry – requires operators to prepare and keep up-to-date a 10-year asset management plan for the village’s major items of capital (including items shared with other villages or aged care businesses) plus a three -year report for the maintenance of major items of capital to be made available to current and prospective residents.

Even larger operators are expected to be challenged to locate and record their villages’ assets within the required timeframe.

And while the NSW State election is not scheduled until March 2023, retirement village legislation is likely to be back on the political agenda by the end of the year after playing a key role in the Liberals’ campaign last time around.

Victoria:

Victorian operators will also face significant anxiety this year following the Victorian Government’s release of an Options Paper on the review of its Retirement Villages Act in November 2021.

As we covered here, the Retirement Living Council expressed concerns that many of the changes would lead to increased costs for residents and operators.

While Victoria already has mandated buybacks and the Aged Care Rule in place, operators have voiced worries about Victoria following NSW on AMPs and a potential requirements for village managers to be trained with an RTO-style certification, similar to a property manager.

The key issue however are the operational costs of this added compliance – such as renewing contracts and updating policies and procedures – and the time required for staff to manage compliance.

With a State election scheduled for November 2022, there may also be some ‘grand-standing’ by both the Liberals and Labor to attract the older vote as they look to secure office.

South Australia:

South Australian operators are also looking at a considerable increase in compliance and its associated costs following the SA Government’s tabling in Parliament of a report on the outcomes of the latest Review of the Retirement Villages Act.

The report contains 60 recommendations and the SA regulator has indicated around three-quarters of the measures are expected to be implemented in some form.

While exit entitlements are not a focus of the report, the recommendations will again lead to an increased level of compliance for operators, including around contracts and policies and procedures.

The State election is also set to be held around May 2022 – the same time as the Federal election – which could see the current Liberal Government look to implement greater consumer protections sooner rather than later in a push for votes.

Western Australia:

After releasing the fourth and final consultation paper in its village legislation reform process in mid-2021, West Australian operators will be waiting with trepidation for the release of Consumer Protection’s Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS) which will make recommendations to the State Government on the reform proposals.

Despite plans for 12-month buybacks being booted off the Minister’s table in December 2020, mandated buybacks remain the primary concern for village operators.

If the Government accepts the reforms, a draft Bill will need to be introduced into Parliament – meaning that any changes are not likely to come through until 2023.

However, the WA Government may choose to enact retrospective legislation, like Queensland did when it mandated buybacks with a six-month retrospective date.

Queensland:

Queensland operators are likely to face less turmoil this year with a review of its buyback regulations recently released and a State election not due until October 2024.

However, a new consumer website to feature village disclosure documents will mean operators will have to stay on the ball.

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Te Ara Institute now launching in New Zealand

First some good news. The new name and brand for our professional development collaboration with our New Zealand colleagues has been revealed.

After Māori cultural research and collaboration, the new name for their PD program is Te Ara, which means pathways. An approved Māori graphic has also been developed.

We have been talking about inviting you on tours of New Zealand villages as DCMI members when borders are easier to cross.

While we are providing our PD materials, we also have a lot to learn from New Zealand where 14% of all New Zealanders over 75 years of age live in a village.

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Latest industry developments Things to watch Village Operator

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY & CHOICE the next decade in retirement living!

The village sector since inception has progressed and reshaped it’s offering nearly every decade.  

  • Pre-1950’s Retirement housing was typically small pockets of Senior citizens flats for the vulnerable. 
     
  • 1960-70’s these flats were increasingly co-located with Nursing Homes. 
     
  • 1980’s saw broad acre villages with large communal hubs and often serviced apartments. 
     
  • 1990’s saw the commencement of the lifestyle villages with tennis courts & pools.
     
  • 2000’s has seen the introduction of high-end villages, an increase in apartment models and of course we can’t ignore the emerging land lease communities. Now Community Apartment Projects (CAPs) are growing in popularity plus there is growing interest in the build to rent option for older Australians. 

Pictured above is a 26 storey retirement village, aged care and health hub by Not For Profit Bolton Clarke as an example.

This is just the infrastructure changes, not to mention the various cycles of contracts and financial model changes, with service provision revisions. 

2021 and Beyond

https://www.theweeklysource.com.au/bolton-clarke-wants-to-increase-height-of-its-26-storey-high-tower-on-qlds-gold-coast/

In 2021 and beyond, we will have a sector much like the hotel sector; the choice and ranges, from simple, affordable villages all the way along the spectrum to high-end villages with all the bells and whistles, inclusive of aged care services.

The picture above is a CAPs boutique development in Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast.

The fact is older Australians have never been more wealthy as the 50 to 70 age group inherits the wealth of the 75+ who include the family home in the handover. Retirees can afford a far more sophisticated product.

https://www.theweeklysource.com.au/bolton-clarke-wants-to-increase-height-of-its-26-storey-high-tower-on-qlds-gold-coast/
https://www.theweeklysource.com.au/bolton-clarke-wants-to-increase-height-of-its-26-storey-high-tower-on-qlds-gold-coast/

Village professionals, like yourselves, will have the greatest OPPORTUNITY & CHOICE to consider just where you may channel your energies to make the most of the GROWTH opportunities ahead. 

Property still needs community

In my experience, regardless of the infrastructure, model, financial structure or services, what has always been key to a successful village is the building of the village community! 

That has not changed in seven decades and I cannot see it changing anytime soon.  

In my time I have witnessed many amazing, dedicated village professionals that have developed an innate knowing of what makes a community thrive! 

I would love to share that there is a secret silver bullet in how to build community, but if there is anything I have learnt, it’s not just one!

I know it starts with integrity, trust, hard work, empathy, collaboration, consistency, and serving, but it is also requires knowledge, tools, and resources.

This is what we are daily building for Members of the DCM Institute.

This is an exciting time to be a part of the change and play a pivotal role in shaping the next evolution of the industry. 

We know from experience that much of that transformation starts with those on the frontline, village professionals, key leaders like yourselves delivering the services, implementing the strategies, working with communities, and driving the change.

What OPPORTUNITY or CHOICE will you make in 2022? 

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Future of retirement living with care – ‘Never Move Again’ 9 penthouses size 437 m²/ $5 million

Sydney has briefly held the record for the most expensive retirement village home, at $4.7 million in beachside Cronulla – the vertical village Sage By Moran.

But this record will be short lived, thanks to the in-construction 2×19-storey village Odyssey Chevron, on Chevron Island just behind Surfers Paradise.

This is an extraordinary development, and gives village managers an insight into where careers can take you.

Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities has been created by veteran village operator Phil Usher, who in 2002 created Tall Trees, among the very first private aged care operations working under the Retirement Villages Act.

His concept is simple: Odyssey will provide care into your village home right up to palliative care stage. And it is popular.

Phil’s first new development is Odyssey Robina Stage 1. A medium rise village, it sold out, and work has begun on Stage 2 with a record of five to seven apartments being sold each month. 

https://issuu.com/the_weekly_source/docs/private_aged_care_goes_big_2

Odyssey Chevron takes Phil’s vision to a completely new level.It’s afive-star hotel-style development including specialist disability accommodation, and has a section for allied health clinics. The top three floors will house nine penthouses at 437sqm each with panoramic views over the Gold Coast, and are anticipated to sell up to $5million. 

Most importantly, though, there will be a dementia level, where couples can live together as long as they possibly can by creating a secure area on the same level.

https://www.odysseycommunities.com.au/news/odyssey-on-the-today-show/

We recently came across this video of the residents enjoying a staycation through COVID lockdowns, which we thought you may like.

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The CEO focus on team culture and ‘high performance’

Team Culture and leadership is now more important than ever before to deliver a great working environment, which incidentally greatly supports staff retention.  This incidentally includes retention of village management, with vacancies at an all-time high.

In last week’s issue of SATURDAY, our editor Lauren Broomham talked with RetireAustralia’s CEO Dr. Brett Robinson on their success of zero turnover of their village managers in the last 18 months across their 28 villages.

Brett explains, their focus on training and development – and the group’s strong team culture – has been critical to staff retention and delivering best outcomes for residents.

Rugby High Performance Leader

A relatively new CEO to the sector, Brett is a former international rugby player for the Wallabies, which he followed up with heading the Australian Rugby Union’s High-Performance unit.

Brett also trained as a doctor and has spent much of his life working with the private sector including Mondial Assistance, Cancer Care and Bank of Queensland.

He recognises the Village Manager is the most important person in the business.  It is also criticalto identify the right person with the right capabilities and skills, and then to heavily invest in them and their training.  To this end it is no surprise – Retire Australia have recently signed up all their team to the DCM Institute.

It’s a front-line that delivers

Brett tells us when he worked in cancer care, the cancer nurses were the organisation’s greatest asset, because they genuinely cared about the patients and their families.  He sees this as very similar to what we do in our sector, where people join villages seeking a caring and supporting community.

He does note that this is not always easy for small to medium businesses as there is a significant cost in this investment. However, the payoff is huge in terms of staff retention and satisfaction.

To read the full and fascinating story – please click HERE.

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Rental Villages on the Rise: Eureka – A Case Study

Last week, in our sister publication- SATURDAY, we covered the subject of Rental villages and how this sector is fast becoming an area to watch, with some interesting initiatives.

Cameron Taylor, Group Chief Operating Officer of Eureka Villages shares they are being driven by a new ‘Resident First’ approach across their 40 rental villages nationally – achieving 98% occupancy

https://www.eurekavillages.com.au/

They are focused on residents feeling safe, secure and engaged in a village that is now genuinely their home. He points out to do this, every decision they make has to come back to make the residents time in the village the best it can be.

The average time a resident stays in a rental village is now 3.3 years.

Results have spoken for themselves, with the business growing their underlying profit before tax by 31% to $7.36 million and a total revenue of $27.5 million.

Move to permanent employed Village Managers key

Central to the strategy has been a shift from a contractor Village Manager to an employee Village Manager.  Other key changes that have been implemented:

  • Village chefs have taken on a second in command role and maintenance staff have been brought in-house to act as support staff.
     
  • Village Managers can therefore look after the residents and the support staff look after the Village Manager

Kitchen Club Initiative

Another key initiative is the Kitchen Club – this is where their cooks and chefs have a platform to showcase meal ideas, menus and food presentation to raise the standards among each other.  It has become a real talking point and a brilliant outcome for the residents. 

https://thedcminstitute.com.au/industry-news

They have also found it to be a real art to find kitchen staff who enjoy being around older people.

Home Care

With the average tenure at their villages is currently 3.3 years and average age is 78 to 80.  Similar to Retirement Villages, they are finding if care isn’t offered, they are losing residents sooner to residential care options. 

Following a recent survey 59% of their residents are on care plans and it is definitely an area for them moving forward.

More rental villages is the future

With expansion plans in the immediate future, so are plans of re-designing the product – whilst still keeping building costs low.  Their current project in Wynnum, Brisbanefeatured in the picture above, has been designed with higher ceilings to 2.6m, natural lighting and full size kitchen and appliances.

To read the full story please click HERE.