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Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments Reporting Results What the research tells us

Post COVID: “Now is the time” to focus on the key marketing messages for Retirement Living communities across the country…. like loneliness and isolation

Collectively, I believe as a sector we need to use this unique opportunity that has been presented to us by the pandemic outcomes. People are spending more time thinking about their future, reading the paper, consuming digital media and researching life options.

It is the ideal time to promote what our sector offers and our individual communities.

Our sister group, DCM Research, has just got back the first exploratory stage of their survey of the general public aged 60+, and there are some real surprises.

They did this research in 2018 across 1,109 people and found just 2% felt lonely and isolated.

In the first few weeks of June this year, 2020, they found 27% felt lonely and isolated. That is a huge difference with COVID-19 the obvious trigger.

Across a range of two-hour interviews, the researchers learnt that people now recognise that if even their children live in another part of the same city, let alone in another city, they won’t always be able to come to their aid.

They also discovered the meaning of isolation – what happens with grocery shopping when they have to stay in their home and they’re not comfortable on the Internet.

Now think of your residents locked down and isolated, with you and your staff simply being there and available, giving reassurance. On top of that is the wide range of activities and support services village management give across the country.

Now isn’t a time when we should be shying away and slowing down our marketing activities. With the expectation that the market is slowing and enquiry is reducing, reduced spending in marketing is seen as the easiest way to save some budget.  

With this new market of customers who are thinking about their long-term living situation, quite the opposite is needed.

Similarly, I do not think we should be resting on our laurels using the same old same old marketing messages: “great lifestyle, location and stone bench tops”. These are ‘givens’ today.

We need the language that the DCM Research is discovering. (You can learn more about the research projects HERE).

One really interesting point that they have discovered is the emotion of control and independence.

We all talk about living independently in a retirement village, generally meaning the resident can look after themselves, prepare their own meals and so on without support.

What the researchers are saying is slightly different; they are saying residents see joining a retirement village as taking control of their life and achieving independence. This is what they said:

A sense of control and staying independent into old age are key motivators

The decision to move from the family home is a highly emotional one, with many emotions present simultaneously – both positive and negative. However, underlying all potential reasons to make the move is the desire for control – control over one’s life, control over the decision-making process, and most importantly control over how long one can remain independent before needing external support or moving to a nursing home.

This is something we can celebrate in our sales discussions with potential residents and our marketing.

As a sector we provide unique and positive benefits and services to our residents. Let’s tell the world!

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Key things to help you everyday

Simple TOOLS are vital for a Village professional to get the job done

Our research indicates that nearly all village managers regularly struggle with not having enough time! (I would imagine this is no truer than now as we navigate the varying stages of the pandemic).

This isn’t necessarily because we are inefficient or lack time management skills.

In my experience it’s more likely the complexity of the role, the often-reactionary environment, the limited access to operational tools and the unpredictable incidents and events that occur almost daily that are responsible. 

The strategies needed to assist with time management are related more to operational efficiency and support. In my experience, one of the most important time management actions is to have TOOLS to save time.

When I’m talking about TOOLS, I’m talking about practical things such as: 

  • Standard email responses
  • Process maps
  • Village CRM – Village Master / Salesforce
  • Collaboration tools such as DropBox, Trello, Notion
  • Forms and templates
  • Data capture software
  • Community information go-to manuals
  • Site maps with utility outlets,
  • Daily, weekly, monthly checklists for all roles
  • Annual calendars
  • Live Action Lists

I know these take time to set up but if you start with the thought of “Am I EVER likely to have to do this or respond in this manner again?” then save it as a template, document the process, schedule it in your calendar or create a checklist as you do it – I guarantee it will save you hours of time later!  

And if you ask your team to do this as well it will be beneficial to all.

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Latest industry developments

VILLAGE SUMMIT 2020 at the Sheraton Grand Sydney, 20-21 Feb: People Passion Professionalism

Start thinking now about joining 400 of your Village Management colleagues for an inspiring two days in Sydney. 

The theme of this years VILLAGE SUMMIT is People Passion Professionalism, an intensive 2 day program designed to equip, inspire and connect Village Professionals.

Join some of the country’s most successful village operators and managers who will share their challenges, successes and learnings plus insights from other industries as we prepare to accommodate the new wave of consumers. 

With a focus on legislation, industry frameworks, leadership, soft skills, technology, care, sales, marketing and insight into the expectation of future and current residents, this program promises to support the decision makers of the sector both ‘in-field’ and head office professionals.

Hear from Matt Church (pictured), nominated in the Top 10 Leadership speakers in the world Matt will share the power of motivational leadership to inspire and influence village communities. Mark Bindon, Co Founder of the successful Oak Tree Group will share the Resident Engagement journey and how to build a brand based on trusted relationships.

Plus 18 other fabulous speakers.

Register now at thevillagesummit.com.au so as not to miss out on joining the 2020 premier national conference for Village Management.

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Things to watch

Emergency plans revisited

We recently discussed the importance of emergency plans, and that more regulations are being developed across the country.

Again last week in Sydney at the DCM Professional Development Day, we had Kathleen Ng and David McElhone (pictured below) from the leading law firm MinterEllison run through new NSW regulations coming our way.

They had these points on the slide above that we thought was a good reminder of the minimum steps that need to be taken while you are doing a full review of emergency strategies and procedures.

Note the ‘once a year’ for safety inspections and evacuation exercise. Have you done yours?

Chris