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

Retirement villages are a really important member of the local community – invest in it

Many of us don’t think about how much a retirement villages contribute in the local community and how many people we touch.

100 residents each have two local friends and let’s say two local children – that’s 400 people and 400 families.

100 residents have doctors, dentists, hairdressers, pharmacists, clubs and shopping centres they buy from.

With 100 residents, you have a business that may be valued at $10M+ that spends money every week on maintenance and operations.

The village is important and you as the village manager are important to all these people.

And they are important to you.

To maximise the enjoyment of your role and the value of your village, for your residents and operator, our advice is to get out in the local community.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Join a local community club or business council – it can be refreshing to network with other local business managers
  2. Ask your residents if they have any special local relationships that you can promote e.g. membership of local clubs, children who run local businesses
  3. Check the council website or visit their office to get the calendar of local events over the next 12 months to see what you can participate in
  4. Understand and promote what transport options are available to residents
  5. Promote local events in the village (special business sales, community events)
  6. Identify local businesses that can benefit both the residents & business owners and suggest some special deals e.g. the local butcher offers of a village special once a week or businesses that can deliver, offer seniors discount, or are willing to do a talk/host event for residents are a great start
  7. Inviting local community groups into the village for an agreed function/activity or be a guest speaker

I like to think as Village Mangers we are striving to be great Community leaders in every way.

It’s the last day of January so why not start the year on a fresh note.

Reporting Results What the research tells us

January is peak sales enquiry time

Did you know that this week is the biggest new village sales enquiry of the year?

January 10-17 always generates the most visits to our website with a seasonally high number of people clicking on phone numbers and website links, connecting with you, asking for information.

See the graph above.

This translates into sales over the next three to 12 months.

Why is this so? Obviously, Christmas time is time for reflection and discussion by potential residents and their family. There is likely two discussions. Either an event has occurred and it is time to look at the options, or for people who plan ahead they are doing just that, thinking about the next 10 or 20 years of their lives.

In 2018 the number of people coming to searching for a retirement village grew by 19%, now up to close on 900,000 people. This is massive.

It shows that retirement villages remain a really desirable accommodation or lifestyle option. Village managers can be proud of this.

Latest industry developments

High-rise villages gather momentum

Something for you to think about. Over the Christmas period a couple of new retirement village developments were announced, and they are big high-rise buildings.

How would you like to be managing a 21-storey retirement village with 142 apartments (pictured) Ozcare, a QLD not-for-profit operator, is going to build one 500 metres from Aveo’s 19-storey Newstead village.

Also, over Christmas, another QLD not-for-profit operator, Bolton Clarke (the old RSL Care) announced a 25-storey retirement village which will have 182 apartments.

In December the construction of a retirement village called U City topped out in Adelaide at 20 storeys. It is being built by another not-for-profit, Uniting Communities.

These are big and expensive projects; their cost ranges from $100 million to $200 million to build. They will take village management to a whole new level – which is exciting as it expands career opportunities.

Things to watch

Royal Commission into Aged Care starts tomorrow. Negative media started yesterday.

Last night on the ABC TV’s 7.30 Report a disturbing story was presented on the use of drugs as a medical restraint of residents in aged care facilities.

In the introduction the presenter said 7.30 Report had received ‘access’ to a submission being made to the Royal Commission into Aged Care. They had interviewed and filmed resident families across several states.

We here at DCM Media are receiving daily new press releases detailing negative stories by groups wishing to bring attention to their particular aged care cause.

It’s going to be a rough and worrying year for your residents as the Royal Commission unfolds. This will cover home care as well as residential aged care.

It is worth reminding them that across the country there are 220,000 people receiving residential aged care and respite care each year plus 80,000 receiving home care packages and 800,000 receiving Community Home Support Program (CHSP) care into their homes.

While any negative incident is deplorable, the actual number compared to number of people being cared for is extremely low.

75% of the job of the Royal Commission is to be positive and find better processes and solutions to care for the aged. Hopefully this will be reported too.

The Royal Commission starts in Adelaide tomorrow but the real business commences mid-February.

Key things to help you everyday What the research tells us

January means revisiting the basics. Top of the list: investing in ‘the village community’

All the research, and our experience, shows that one of the biggest drivers for people joining a retirement village is the ‘sense of community’.

What does this mean? It means having like-minded people around you that you can simply know are there, up to mixing with them on a daily basis. Village residents are not alone, compared to ageing in the family home, often isolated.

But sense of community just doesn’t happen; and it can drop away unless we invest in it.

Every January it is a good idea to simply reflect on what is going on in the village over the next 12 months that keeps this sense of community alive.

What are you doing as the village manager to keep the momentum going?

We can’t do everything and we are not entertainment officers. Think about three things you can invest in over the next 12 months. Here is a list I refer to.

  1. Are you undertaking a regular walk around the village (my preference is on a weekly basis, to get out from behind the desk)?
  2. Do you stage a simple regular Village Manager morning/afternoon tea – using this opportunity to get to know residents on a one-on-one basis?
  3. Do you need a small budget to make contributions to kickstart events? Perhaps ask the operator as it will build goodwill for the village.
  4. Check the social club/committee. Is it active and vibrant or losing its puff? Does it need new blood? Can you get involved for a period of time, suggesting bus events, Monday coffee meets for the men etc?
  5. Does the village have an objective, like raising money for the local surf lifesaving club or quilting for a women’s homeless shelter etc?
  6. Do you have a resident buddy system to accompany a new resident or reserved resident to activities within the village?
  7. Do you provide an opportunity for all residents to have a say in the items that are important to their lifestyle ie survey, informal meetings, suggestion box, feedback forms?
  8. Can you identify a common cause that can be worked on together by all of the resident community ie community market stall, Christmas event, rejuvenation of a garden area?

Pick just three as a start. My experience is a healthy village community makes a village manager’s job so much easier and rewarding.