Retirement living more than downsizing – capitalising on home care reform opportunities to enter into the new era of continuing care retirement living

This year’s changes to the home care package model used here in Australia has opened up new opportunities for innovation and growth. A sector in which real change is possible is retirement living. Recently we were reading a white paper published by Ansell Strategic and the Property Council of Australia which adds perspective to the conversation. Their report on home care in retirement villages highlights the relevance of retirement villages in the future landscape of our aged care sector.

Some of the key points of the report that stood out to us:

  • Surprisingly, only 17% of retirement village units receive home care support.
  • Not so surprisingly – it costs the government much more to fund residential care compared to home care packages. The overall cost vs ratio of people supported – $10.6 billion per year to provide 192,000 older Australians with residential care, as opposed to $1.3 billion for 73,000 home care packages.
  • Retirement villages are currently providing services which could be covered under home care package funding (i.e. gardening, community bus) which residents now pay for as part of a monthly service fee. If more residents had home care package funding and used the retirement village to provide these services, new funding and pricing models become possible. Not only for existing services but also for new services not traditionally provided through retirement living.
  • It’s happening overseas – think of the continuing care retirement communities in the USA. Here people buy-in to the community with an entrance fee and then pay monthly for care. People can choose a range of options for their monthly care fees – almost like health insurance i.e. pay for what you use vs premiums that cover you regardless of what you use.

It’s food for thought, isn’t it? Now that anyone can provide services to a person who has been approved for a home care package – retirement villages can position themselves to offer an extra piece of the puzzle in the continuum of care.

Retirement villages are perfectly placed to offer clustered high intensity services, in appropriate accommodation and capitalise on the benefits of community living. The changes in home care have opened up opportunities for new service and funding models for the traditional Australian retirement village.

The challenge of course, lies not in imagining this future but in creating it. How do retirement village providers take steps to capitalise on this model?   If you would like specific support to explore this idea further please get in touch, we are always happy to chat.

The full Ansell Strategic & Property Council of Australia report can be found here.