A new 8-point improvement plan for retirement villages has recently been released following a meeting between more than 20 operators and retirement village resident association leaders from across Australia.
The new action plan has been agreed upon by both retirement village owners and operators and will serve to increase the standards of living as well living aim to provide clearer information about costs and contracts for service users. Additionally, an independent body will be on hand to resolve disputes. Such changes have been implemented in order to instill a greater sense of confidence in the aged care system for the 180,000 Australians currently living within retirement villages.
Increasing standards and ensuring that policies and guidelines are made transparent is now a priority for politicians and regulators who aim to enhance the industry.
Having said this, sources from surveys to resident feedback have widely suggested that the vast majority of village residents within Australia are happy at present and are enjoying village lifestyle. There are however improvements that operators in the industry need to make to ensure residents have complete certainty about their contract, including what they’re paying for and when they’re paying it.
The 8-point retirement village industry action plan includes:
1. Support nationally consistent retirement village legislation and contracts
2. Ensure there are transparent and easy-to-understand descriptions in contracts of entry pricing, ongoing service fees, reinstatement costs and fees and payments relating to departure, so residents have certainty about the costs associated with living in a retirement village
3. Encourage all potential residents to seek independent legal advice before signing a contract, and work together with the government and the legal profession to make this happen. We will also encourage potential residents to share this information with family members and trusted advisers
4. Improve training and professional support for village managers, sales people and other staff who engage directly with current and potential residents
5. Commit to improve industry village accreditation standards and coverage, and support government initiatives to make accreditations a mandatory requirement for operating a village
6. Commit to working with the Australian Retirement Village Residents Association to implement an industry Code of Conduct to set and maintain high standards about the marketing and operation of villages, as well as dispute management procedures for all operators and residents
7. Commit to the establishment of an efficient and cost-effective Ombudsman or Advocate, for disputes that are unable to be solved at a village level
8. Maintain and strengthen the relationship between the industry and the Australian Retirement Village Residents Association to make sure resident issues are clearly identified and addressed
The action plan will better equip operators to continue to improve, and help correct misconceptions that have occurred recently.