Jim Hazel: Retirement villages will be offering residential care within five years

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Continuum of care models will become standard for village operators over the next three to five years – and boards and CEOs need to be working on their strategies now, says village veteran Jim Hazel.

In the latest issue of SATURDAY, the Ingenia Chairman and Adelaide & Bendigo Bank board director argued that the Aged Care Royal Commission has set the scene for retirement villages to become offer a new integrated care and seniors’ housing option.

“Now we have the Royal Commission done, we have a very clear understanding of where we are going with seniors housing and care, and that is around a consumer care focused model, where I would say in five years’ time, retirement villages will be able to offer residential care in their units.”

Jim acknowledged that not all village operators are enthusiastic about the model, which will require them to be more ‘hands on’.

But he points out that the village customer wants to age in place – residents give him a standing ovation at his village Christmas parties when he announces ‘Our job is to keep you out of residential care’.

“They [operators]might not want to make money, but they won’t want to lose money,” he said.

“People do not want to go into aged care, as it exists today. It is just a matter of retirement village operators figuring out the best way to do it.”

The banks report they are already seeing a pick-up in interest from potential village investors – a number likely to increase as new care models emerge.

But management and directors need to be planning now to compete in this new marketplace.

“I am interested to see the models that develop, because the industry will innovate and hopefully, we will see four or five different ways of going about it, and we will hone in on what works,” said Jim.

“It’s going to be a good place to be for the next 10 years.”

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