Village Voice: August 2019

August Update

The last couple of months have been extremely busy with the Aged Care Royal Commission creating heightened anxiety throughout the industry affecting some families and staff working in the industry. Concurrently, the Government is also introducing a range of risk and compliance processes that impact upon the accreditation standards, medication practices and governance systems all of which have created additional pressures on staff to meet the requirements of their roles.

The amount of work that has been achieved over the last few months is monumental, although largely unseen, as we do our best to ensure that the daily life of Residents is not impacted by these tasks and this is achieved by the gentle nature of the way we manage change throughout the Village whilst still meeting the often strict time frames imposed upon us.

One of the changes that was released affects the Income and Assessment forms required to be completed by those people intending to enter care. Thankfully in a slightly reduced format than the previous 146 questions. Equally, the Government has continued to try and make the MyAgedCare website more user friendly, with mixed results. On the other hand, the process used to lodge death certificates has been computerised causing all sorts of delays for families as they work through their loved one’s estates. Whilst change is intended to improve a situation or existing process, there are often consequences that were not considered.

In the last 12 months we have created 3 positions whose primary purpose is to ensure that the Resident experience of life at Village Baxter is the best we can achieve. Pam and Marianne, our Resident Services Coordinators in the Lodge and Manor spend the vast majority of their time ensuring that the Manor and Lodge Residents experience the best service we can possibly provide to meet their needs. Julia, our Retirement Living Manager is focused on ensuring that our Retirement Living Services are the best we can deliver within the resources we have available to us.

I have learnt over the years that it is impossible to please everyone, and sometimes we will have to manage issues in ways that will disappoint some groups to ensure that other groups have their needs met. We simply try and do the best we can to balance often competing objectives. The disappointing part of the process is the subsequent misinformation that travels around the Village and we would always encourage any resident who is troubled by a rumour or purported ‘fact’, to come and discuss the issue and we will sort out fact from fiction. Whilst this may be time consuming, it is far better to have peace of mind on an issue.

Village Baxter has a well established Resident Committee structure and process, which allows us to all have a say and we may agree or disagree on various issues. The Rosebud Residents Committee was so impressed by the VBRC structure that they adopting a similar process. In September at the Annual General Meeting, nominations will be called for new members and I encourage Residents to participate in this process. A robust Resident Committee that represent the collective views of all Residents at the Village is an important part of what makes Village Baxter the wonderful place that we all enjoy.

I started this column with the Royal Commission, then moved to Government and finally to the Village. The theme that is consistent across all three areas is that none of us are perfect, but we are all committed to doing the best we can with the available resources.

Stuart Shaw, General Manager

Village Voice: July 2019

Taking Control of Your Future

The seminars that we hold in the Village to share information about transitioning from independent living into community and aged care are always popular and help Residents prepare for their future needs. Recently we have seen an increase in Residents needing care who don’t have the financial and care approval paperwork in place and this has meant long delays in being able to move into the Manor or Lodge. In some cases this has meant that people from outside of the Village have been able to move in ahead of people within the Village community because their paperwork was not ready when needed.

The good news is that the “Cost of Care Forms” – the very long Centrelink Assets and Income Assessment that determines what a person pays towards their accommodation costs and their care costs is changing and the process has been made much simpler. These new forms are expected to be released by the Minister any day now. Centrelink or DVA pensioners who already have their financial assets and income known by the Government will now have one simple form to complete to provide details of their property– in our case, for most residents that will mean providing details of the equity they hold in their Village Unit. Pensioners who do not own their own home, such as renters, will not need to complete a form at all and will be able to just call Centrelink for an assessment to be sent to them. There is a separate, more detailed form for Non-pensioners to complete as Centrelink will not have their financial details on file. 

Recent history has shown that the current timeframes from posting the completed form to receiving the final ‘cost of care’ letter from Centrelink are around 6-8 weeks. Although forms are usually only valid for 3 months, it is a simple phone call process to renew them, so we are encouraging Residents who feel that they would like to be well prepared to complete their forms as a kind of “insurance policy” so if and when the need arises, they can just call for an update and this will ensure they will not have any delay for admission into an aged care facility.

As always, I would encourage anyone with assets over $49,500 to get some advice BEFORE completing the forms because it can be beneficial to fall below the asset cut off levels ($49,500 and $168,351) that are used in the formula to determine eligibility for Government support to contribute towards some, or all, of your accommodation costs.

Our Retirement Living Manager, Julia Boyd, and our Village Nurse Team Leader, Judy Alaimo, will both be at the Health Expo in the Clarke Centre on the 16th of July to answer any questions you may have on the process to move into Aged Care.

Please make the time to have these conversations with your families so you are well prepared and supported if your needs change in the future

Kim Jackson, Executive Manager

Village Voice: June 2019

Service Fees, Outages,
& the Election

Our Village Hostesses, being the front office for our ILU residents, have received a number of comments on the service fee increase for this year. As we tried to explain in the service fee letter, last year’s fees should have increased by an extra $10 per month from our increased costs, but this was offset by the receipt of the one off discount in water rates paid in previous years. This simply resulted in delaying part of last year’s increase to this year. To put this into context, our water rates in 2017/18 were around $55,000. For the last 12 months, we were charged $166,000 – a 300% increase in 2 years!   

Even with that increase, the test that we use is based on our service fees as a percentage of affordability for a person on the single aged pension. In 2017/18, our service fee increased by $10 a month, and the pension (with allowances) increased by $40 per month. Likewise, over the last 12 months, the pension has again increased by $40 per month whilst our service fee has increased this year by $28.

Whilst we take no joy in advising residents of a significant increase, the only thing we take some comfort from is that our service fee continues to be less than 30% of the pension and unlike many other Villages, our service fee includes contents insurance, Council Rates and 24 hour onsite staff.

Two weeks ago, our phone / internet / email carrier, AAPT, had a major outage from Victoria to Southern Queensland. Naturally this would occur on a Friday afternoon. The problem was finally identified on Saturday with one of their major cables being cut on a secured building site. According to the updates that were provided to us, they were trying to access the site to work on the issues and also considering relaying the cables around the site. Eventually a heavy drilling team, cable deployment team and cable splicing team were required to lay new cables and finally on Sunday around lunchtime, the service was again up and running. It would be true to say they had a lot of unhappy customers- including us!

Whilst all of the major carriers have suffered from the same or similar problem, it does make you wonder how bullet proof are these systems and what can they do to further secure their networks. 

No doubt, some residents will criticise us for not advising residents as to what was happening but all we knew was that it was down. You naturally expect something this major will be fixed in a timely manner, but it took some time for the network provider to identify the issue. On Saturday morning when we knew more, we placed a notice in our Community buildings as to what was occurring as best we knew and updated our social media pages to ensure that Residents who check our facebook and twitter pages (and there are a lot !) could see what was happening. This was the best we were able to do on a weekend with both phones and internet unavailable to us.

Then the following Friday (of course) we had another outage affecting only some residents. This time the problem was ours as one of our computer cards had burnt out. Fortunately, we were in the process of replacing that card, but it did mean that our technicians worked throughout the night to restore services to all affected residents. We are extremely grateful for their commitment to the Village to do this. I was advised on the Saturday afternoon that they believed all was now working normally.

I live in hope that the next few Fridays will be uneventful!

Finally, a couple of words on the election. An interesting outcome and certainly not the predictions that were being made beforehand. If you look back over our history, our elections are usually reasonably close – mainly in the range of 47% – 53% for each of the major parties.  This is a relatively small range so the result is always affected by the more marginal seats in every electorate as to how their constituency perceives the Government of the day. As always we will work with both our local member and the Government of the day to raise issues of importance to the Village and Aged Care. We trust that the Government will be able to look after the interest of all Australians and ensure that together we can advance the country.

Till next month

Stuart Shaw, General Manager

Village Voice: May 2019

The Federal Election

There is a lot happening in and around the Village as we move towards a federal election. Both major parties seem to be offering a variety of additional services and programs and assuring us that key services will be affordable in the future (such as energy).

From my perspective we simply need a stable Government that will focus on the long term best needs of the country rather than short term expediency to get elected. Is this possible under our current system of three year terms, maybe not. Is it possible under our adversarial parliament – not certain. We are told that the theatre of question time is not representative of the actual working of parliament, and there may be many issues where the major parties are in agreement for the direction the country should take. Whilst it is not obvious, based on the news reports, I do believe that it is not as bad as presented in the media.

Voting is compulsory and there are a number of avenues to vote:

  • At the polling booth across the road at Mt Erin College on the 18th May
  • By postal ballot, and application for a postal ballot should have been received by residents over the last week.  You need to complete the application for a postal ballot and one will be sent to you.
  • By pre-poll early voting stations that will operate from 29th April. A list of these locations will be published shortly on the Australian Electoral Commission web page.
  • A polling booth will be available on site on Wednesday 8th  May for our Lodge Residents (9.00 – 11.00) and Manor residents (3.00 – 5.00). A polling booth will be available at the Clarke Centre between 12.00 – 2.00 however this should only be used by those residents who have difficulty in using any of the other options.

Voting for a Government is a privilege that many countries do not have and is a hallmark of our democracy.

There were couple of interesting topics discussed at the last Resident Meeting that are worthy of reporting.

Firstly, a question was raised on external people belonging to some of our recreational groups. Our view is that people who are on a waiting list to enter the Village or Rosebud Village residents should be invited to participate in our various groups (Bowls Club, Croquet Club, Craft Group, Snooker Group and other similar groups). The participants will pay the same fees as residents or, for those groups who do not have any fees, a donation will be made. Each of the main groups have considered the issue and seem to be very supportive of this move. Indeed, some groups would not exist if we did not invite external people to participate.

Secondly, the VBRC are interested in exploring options for those residents currently without solar panels on their roof. The initial view is that 3KW systems may be the best option costing around $4,500 before Government rebates which reduce the cost to around $2,500. Actual energy savings will be achieved depending on individual energy use and acknowledging that excess energy is fed back into our common grid to reduce power costs for common areas and help keep service fees low and not into the wider grid so individual credits do not apply (and the VBRC are trying to get a few actual examples).  At this stage it is a discussion topic only and the plan is to have a meeting of interested residents in the coming weeks to see if the issue is worth pursuing.

Till next month

Stuart Shaw, General Manager

Village Voice: April 2019

Safe Driving

Both of our Villages have experienced recent serious driving incidents. One where a resident collided with a fence and drove into a building and the other where the resident collided with a structure and other vehicles. Thankfully no one was physically injured in either incident and because both drivers were properly licenced and insured, the financial costs are covered by their insurance.  If the driver had been unlicenced, insurance would not cover them and the residents would have incurred personal costs of either $50,000 or $100,000. Driving within the Village without a valid driver’s licence is never acceptable.

Traffic Accident Commission research shows that Drivers over 75 have the highest relative risk of accidents compared to any age group – including P plater new drivers and they have produced a checklist to help older drivers assess their own driving safety and help them modify their driving behaviour.

Some of the questions to ask yourself are:

Do you-

  • Suffer from any serious health conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, a heart condition, high blood pressure or anxiety?
  • Take medication that may impair your driving?
  • Have difficulty reacting quickly to other drivers’ actions?
  • Drive at inappropriate speeds, either too fast or too slow?
  • Ignore or misinterpret traffic signs and signals?
  • Fail to judge distances between cars correctly?
  • Become easily flustered or angry?
  • Have difficulty with glare of oncoming headlights, streetlights or other bright or shiny objects, especially at dawn, dusk and at night?
  • Find it hard to turn your head, neck, shoulders or body while in traffic or parking?
  • Had one or more near accidents?
  • Have difficulty maintaining concentration while driving?
  • Have your passengers warn you about things on the road you may not have seen, or have seen too late?
  • Feel uncomfortable in heavy traffic?

If you answered yes to any of the above, the TAC offer simple tips to keep older drivers driving safely, some of which include.

  • Use public transport or drive to the closest, most convenient form of public transport.
  • Try to limit driving to off-peak periods.
  • Plan shorter driving periods, and rest along the way.
  • Try to drive only in daylight hours and avoid driving at sunset or sunrise – both are times of high glare and poor visibility.
  • Try to avoid non signalled right hand turns where possible.
  • Get a few refresher driving lessons.
  • Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking or have taken medication.
  • Have your eyes tested at least once every two years and make sure your optometrist knows that you drive.
  • Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about any effect your medication may have on your driving.
  • Choose the safest route, rather than the most direct one.

More information is available on the TAC website http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/road-safety/safe-driving/older-drivers

Deciding to stop driving is a confronting choice for anyone, however being aware of your own driving safety and being in control of when you make this choice is much better than being reported by another driver and having to undergo and subsequently fail a Vic Roads driver assessment.

Kim Jackson, Executive Manager

Village Voice: March 2019

Scams

I have been made aware of at least 2 Residents who have had their bank accounts emptied from a telephone / computer scam. The criminals who instigate these scams are very believable, they are often female, sound Australian, appear warm and professional over the phone. They may even offer to transfer you to a Manager or have their Manager call you back just to reassure you. If anyone ever calls you and asks for the following information, you should consider that it is probably a scam.

  • Asking you to “confirm” personal information such as date of birth, driver’s licence or medicare number.
  • Asking you to access to your computer “just to check” that you haven’t been subject to suspicious activity.
  • Asking you to put a password into anything on your computer while you are on the phone to them.
  • Saying there has been ‘suspicious activity’ on your credit card and asking you to confirm the card number or expiry date.
  • Asking you to send iTunes or gift cards as payment.
  • Claiming to be the tax office about an overdue payment or refund you are due.
  • Claiming you could be arrested if you don’t pay an overdue bill or fine.

If you are worried that there may be something wrong with your credit card, there is always a proper bank telephone number on the back of the card. You should hang up from the scammer and ring the bank using their number to enquire.

A Bank, Local Council, South East Water or Telephone companies will not ever call you just to confirm your details.

If you do receive a call, just hang up. People who argue with them or yell at them have been known to experience multiple calls or calls through the night.

The NBN installation is happening in our area and we know that scammers target rollout areas. There were only 4 Residents in the Village not on the Village telephone system and they have all received letters from Cheryl. Everyone else living in the Village is not affected by the NBN rollout and should regard anyone ringing about the NBN and advising your phone is about to be cut off as a probable scammer and hang up.

If you are worried that the caller may be genuine and want to check, find out which company they are from and then hang up. Look up the company’s proper telephone number in the whitepages (this is available online or on paper) and call them directly. Do not use the number that the potential scammer gives you. If you can’t find the number, please ask your Hostess to help you look up the right number to call.

Kim Jackson, Executive Manager

Village Voice: February 2019

Marie Kondo’s book and Netflix TV show about the “life-changing magic of tidying up” has captivated households all over the country. The focus is not on finding new ways to store clutter and tidy up mess, it’s about holding onto things that ‘spark joy’ and clearing our homes and lives of things that no longer serve us by being grateful for the role the item played and then recycling things so they may bring joy to others.


This led me to reflect on the wonderful diversity of lives and interests our Village Staff and Residents have and on how we all have the Village in common as something in our lives that “sparks joy”.


There are of course times when the joy is a little harder to spark, but thankfully for most of us, this is not a common occurrence and I am always delighted by the smile that spreads across people’s faces when they hear I work at Village Baxter. It seems wherever I go in Australia, someone always knows the Village and has something positive to say about us.


As we move into February, generally our hottest month and it’s a little harder to sleep when the night is hot (and our tolerance for things that don’t spark joy is a little lower than usual) please remember to drink lots of water and try to stay cool. If you don’t have your own air-conditioning please make use of the various communal buildings we have around the Village, the Grant Centre Café and the Clarke Kiosk sell ice creams if you need a cool snack.


Please keep an eye out for your neighbours, if you are worried that a neighbour is not answering their door, or is home but unusually quiet, please let the Village Nurses know and they can pop in and check everything is ok. It is easy to become dehydrated after a couple of hot days and nights and this can leave people more vulnerable to falling and infections.


Take care in the warmer weather


Kim Jackson, Executive Manager

Village Voice: January 2019

As we say goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019, I would like to make a couple of comments about the year that has just gone.

Firstly, the good. We purchased a new village at Rosebud and, whilst it needs some work to bring it up to scratch, there is a real positive vibe down there you can ‘feel’ each time you visit the Village. We have a really great group of residents who are very positive on the future and terrific team of staff (all six of them) who enjoy the role they play in meeting the needs of our residents.

We completed more units at Baxter and bulldozed others as we continue to redevelop our Village and no matter how many new units we build, our waiting list just seems to get longer, so our potential customers must like what they see with our Village.

We successfully achieved the maximum accreditation for both the Manor and Lodge and this was the first time we were subjected to the new ‘un-announced’ accreditation process. Whilst it created havoc to the plans we had for the three days the team was on site, our processes were strong enough to simply change gears to meet the needs of the assessors. That was a great effort by our team.

Probably my best highlight for the year was having Christmas dinner with some families in the Manor. It was impromptu as there was simply a vacant seat at one of the tables and I asked the families if I could join them for lunch. As we were talking, both family members related what life was like for their parent in the years prior to relocating in the Manor. Due to declining health life in the unit had become a struggle and it was simply a reality to withdraw from a lot of social interactions they had enjoyed in the Village. For one of them, it was often easier to simply stay in bed. When they were able to talk about the positive benefits both had experienced through relocating to the Manor, and the re-engagement with people and the happiness both the family members and our residents had experienced during this time, it reminds you of what a special place we have and what a great team of staff we have to create such an environment.

This sentiment was also expressed to me at the Day Centre Christmas lunch when a family member took me aside to say that her husband looks forward every week to his time attending the Day Centre and the enjoyment and happiness that he achieves from the interaction with our clients and staff is a joy to the family .This is what we try and deliver every day to every person and it touched my heart to listen to the stories of our achievements. One of the things we struggle to do well is to capture those stories so we can show the others, especially Government, the positive impacts and changes we can make in the lives of older people.

Looking to 2019, the great uncertainty is the Royal Commission into aged care. There is no doubt that this will be a bruising process for the industry and there will be many stories of poor care and neglect amongst some providers. Whilst we do not believe that we will be called to appear before the Commission, the ultimate result will affect all providers and Government and the scary thing is that no-one knows what the final outcome will be. That alone should worry Government about the possible impact on their financial outlays. Interesting times as we head to the New Year.

Notwithstanding this potential cloud, there is much to look forward to next year and the years beyond for all of us. 

Happy New Year

Stuart Shaw, General Manager

Village Voice: December 2018

December 2018

Giving Frankston residents a greater voice in community safety

The Community Safety Networks project provides Victorian communities with a direct platform to discuss local crime issues and policing priorities.

Frankston municipality is one of 12 communities where a Community Safety Network is being established, giving residents a greater voice in Victoria Police’s ongoing efforts to combat crime. Residents will have the opportunity to be involved in the project, including this short survey for people to share their insights about community safety.

The Village has been provided with three large white survey boxes with attached survey forms for Residents to share their feedback on community safety priorities. There is one located in Administration reception, Clarke reception and Robinsons reception. Frankston Police have asked the Village to encourage Residents to complete the survey and have their say about the safety issues in our community.

The community safety survey is a good reminder for when the warm weather does arrive, that we all ensure that doors are kept locked and windows are closed securely at night. As I write this article, it is 13 degrees, wet and cold and summer feels a long way away, however I am certain that very quickly the days will warm up and we will all be wishing for more rain and cooler nights.

It has been a wonderful year in the Village; on behalf of all of the staff and residents I would like to wish you all the blessings of the season,  a very merry Christmas and happy and safe New Year.

til next month

Kim Jackson, Executive Manager


Download Village Voice

Village Voice: November 2018

November 2018

Developments Update

With Open day adding another 10 names to our waiting list, and consumer demand to move into the Village healthy and strong, I was delighted to open my email this morning and see that Frankston Council has issued final approval for building the 4 remaining units in the 900’s.

Site works may have already commenced by the time this newsletter is received. The redevelopment works near the Manning Centre continue with a planning permit expected to be lodged shortly for the next stage of units on the area where we recently demolished vacated units.

The planning permit for the first stage of the Grant Centre redevelopment is expected to be submitted in early November. We anticipate that this will take some months to work through the Council approval process before moving into the detailed drawing and service planning process that comes after Council approval and in itself takes months of preparation. I hope that by this time next year we can begin to set timeframes for the demolition of the remaining North area apartments and when site works will commence.

There are also some minor works to be done in the Lodge music room / kitchen area to improve the quality of the space there. Although these works are very minor, the Lodge is an Aged Care Home so they will require a building permit and the drawings required as part of this process have been requested.

Refurbishment works both at Village Baxter and Rosebud Village continue with neither Village having any unsold completely refurbished units, which is very pleasing. There was a large backlog of unit refurbishments that had to be completed for the 15 vacant units at Rosebud Village when it was purchased in April and this process is near completion with additional Units being vacated since then.

Units at Rosebud are selling as they are nearing completion and it is pleasing to see community interest in the Village building, in both Villages, units do take approximately 6 months from final key hand back to new resident occupation, so please be assured that even when it looks like not much is happening, the sales / refurbishment process is not currently impacted by any of the negative property market media attention.

Enjoy spring in the Village with the warmer days, sunshine and gardens with their beautiful blooms.

til next month

Kim Jackson, Executive Manager


Download Village Voice