Key things to help you everyday

Professional Development: Why it’s crucial for every Village Professional

We don’t need to remind you about the diverse range of roles and responsibilities that are a part of every Village Professional’s role.

But something we always find interesting about Village Professionals is their background – the roles they had before entering the village setting.

Village Professionals can come from a variety of areas including property management, care services, hospitality, sales, community services and even the police force.

And often their induction, initial training and ongoing professional development is just as varied.

Getting it right isn’t always easy

We know from experience ongoing professional development is key.

In an industry where the legislative requirements and consumer expectations change so rapidly, professional development is the only way to keep your head above water and put a vast amount of difficult-to-interpret information into context.

Professional Development activities assist village professionals to update knowledge, access new resources and reinforce their current skill sets to ensure currency in capability.  

Resources at your disposal

In support of this idea, the Property Council Retirement Living Council released the Management Capability Framework for the retirement living sector, which you can find here.

This framework outlines seven domains that you want to be maintaining currency in during your roles as a village professional:

  • Operations
  • Governance and Compliance
  • Self-Management
  • Change and Innovation
  • Community Engagement
  • Population Wellness
  • Sales Professionalism

Not only does professional development provide these currencies, new learnings and a peer network, it provides Village Professionals with confidence, tenacity and resilience to continue with their often isolating and challenging roles.

Better villages and helping your carer

Professional development isn’t just a way to increase productivity.

It’s a coupling of tools and technologies to meet the expectations of current and future consumers, and a must in all contemporary business in 2021 and beyond.

This is especially true in retirement living , where all village professionals must constantly balance business needs with resident expectations.

For information about how DCM Institute can help with your professional development, click here.

Latest industry developments Things to watch

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.

Key things to help you everyday Latest industry developments

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.

Key things to help you everyday

Are you ready? It’s time to start planning your village budget

It’s that time of the year again when many village professionals will be commencing their planning for annual village budgets.  

You many be responsible for developing or providing input in budgets for:

  • Village operations – funded mostly by resident contributions.
  • Long term maintenance – funded via the operating budget, as a contribution upon exit or as a surplus of operation funds.
  • Capital expenditure – the funding of this can vary from being funded as a contribution via contract terms typically upon exit, funded by the operator or a combination of both.

In my experience, much of the discontentment or complaints that come around budget time are down to a lack of communication, poor processes, or operators not fully understanding the legislative and contractual requirements of village financial management.

Therefore, it’s imperative that your budget process:

  • Starts early ideally around February or March
  • Takes into account whether multiple meetings are required
  • Caters for time needed for stakeholder feedback, approvals and sign off
  • Understands legislative and contractual requirements
  • Has a sound communication strategy

I’ve always found the following points helpful in budget planning:

  • Develop a budget worksheet (organisation is key, so make sure you keep tabs for line items and assumption details for full transparency)
  • Be proactive in checking increases from utilities, service contracts
  • Consider contract expiry plans/renewal costs
  • Consult the continuous improvement program
  • Consider cash flow management
  • See if larger service contracts can be smoothed over a year
  • Have a policy for recovering and/or apportioning deficits/surpluses
  • Make sure you’re following legislative steps
  • Understand contractual/policy obligations
  • Make allowances for legislation changes (not just the RV Act)
  • Keep up with market trends and consumer expectations
  • Have a firm checking process in place

The key thing to remember as a village professional is most residents are on fixed incomes, regardless of whether they are pensioners or self-funded retirees.

This means their capacity to increase income or assets, match inflation or large village budget increase is diminished.

Planning and good processes are the best way to minimise nasty surprises.

DCMI Institute has developed a Budget Planning Guide to help village professionals manage their budgets.

You can download your guide here.

Key things to help you everyday

Understanding the peak bodies that represent the sector

Three major peak bodies play an important role in our sector.

They are:

Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA)

A national association for aged services providers across residential care, home care and retirement living.

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA)

A leading national peak body supporting Not For Profit church, charitable and for purpose providers of retirement living, community, home and residential care.

The Retirement Living Council (RLC)

A dedicated national division of the Property Council of Australia, focused on retirement villages and senior housing.

Through their collective membership, they represent more than 50 per cent of retirement communities across the private and Not For Profit sectors.

So what do they do?

While LASA, ACSA and the RLC represent different sector groups and operators, they each provide a valuable service to their members and the retirement living sector as a whole.

This includes:

Representation and advocacy to Government for their members and the sector, to influence policy and legislation.

Member services, which do differ for each body but include advice on specific elements of the sector, reports and briefings, events, and operational service support.

Industry promotion through media campaigns and public facing initiatives like the A Wise Move website currently hosted by the RLC.

Research and partnerships to support innovation, best practice and insight into all aspects of our sector, and the services we provide.

Collaboration, coalition and alliance to drive better outcomes. Collaboration between the bodies is strong, as evidenced by the Retirement Living Code of Conduct and more recently the Australian Aged Care Collaboration.

These organisations can add real value to our villages, teams and residents, so it’s worth checking each peak body out and seeing how they might be able to suit your needs.

For more information on these peaks, contact the DCM Institute here.

Latest industry developments

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.

Latest industry developments

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.