There are a lot of assumptions made about aged care and what entering an aged care community will look like. This often leads to many having questions or adopting a wary attitude.
Odyssey is fairly young, having been open just over a year, and there is still a lot of misconception around what Odyssey is, how it’s different from other aged care alternatives, and what the lifestyle within the community looks like.
To some, aged care can mean no longer being able to schedule their own life, missing out on family events, or feeling separated from the wider community. This is precisely why Odyssey was founded – to differ from the traditional aged care model and provide care in a nurturing and supportive community.
Created on the premise of being the best alternative to traditional aged care, Odyssey offers a lifestyle-orientated community. Couples stay together, pets are welcome, grandkids have sleepovers and most importantly, the comfort, dignity, and independence of residents is the first priority.
Odyssey Bright Futures
Odyssey is all about creating a bright future for elderly Australians, led by a consumer-centric ethos that ensures residents are listened to and heard. As Odyssey continues to inspire the industry, it’s time to address the positive aspects of ageing. Let’s myth-bust some common assumptions about what a lifestyle care community offers and how it benefits seniors, the community and the wider industry.
Myth 1: Deferred Managed Fees (DMF) are a rip-off At Odyssey, we believe the years you spend with us should be enjoyed. Our DMF option is designed with you in mind. You can defer some of the cost until you leave, so you have access to more funds now, to enjoy your retirement.
Myth 2: My partner needs care, but as I don’t, we’ll be separated Couples stay together at Odyssey. Our range of first-class care and services are fully customisable and provided to residents in their own apartment. This is according to their individual needs.
These can be adapted for each person and adjusted over time as those needs change. This is similar for people fearing they will be separated from their partner who has dementia. In most cases, couples can live together in their own apartment at Odyssey, regardless of their individual and unique care needs. And as it’s provided at cost, you’ll only ever pay for what you need.
Myth 3: I’ll need to move again if my care needs change Not true! In most cases, a move to Odyssey is the only move you’ll need to make. With our range of care options, you can increase or decrease care if and when required. As previously mentioned, it’s provided at cost, so you’ll only ever pay for what you need.
Myth 4: I’ll have to leave my pets behind We not only accommodate for small and medium pets at Odyssey, we encourage residents to bring them along! At Odyssey, your comfort and quality of life is our first priority. It’s your home, so your pets are welcome as you please. What’s more, our staff can help you give your pets a walk or bath if needed.
Myth 5: A one-bedroom apartment will be too small for me Odyssey’s apartments are spacious and far exceed the industry standards, offering between 75-90sqm. Not only is your bedroom separate from your living space, but you’ll enjoy a full-size kitchen, internal laundry, balcony, and lots of storage. And you can make your home your own, maintaining your individuality by furnishing it to your taste.
Myth 6: You have to be a millionaire to live at Odyssey False! Odyssey is upmarket, but we have financial options that will most likely allow you to live with us. In general, if you own your own home on the Gold Coast, we believe you will be able to afford the move to our community.
Myth 7: I must have an ACAT assessment to move to Odyssey Not at all! We are not a government-funded residential aged care facility, so we don’t require you to undergo an ACAT assessment. We are a retirement lifestyle community with our own 24/7 care staff.
Myth 8: I will lose my home care team At Odyssey. You can bring your care team with you, regardless of who that is, or not. It is completely up to you. It’s just a simple address change for your care team!
Putting People First
The Odyssey model has set an excellent precedent in the industry by demonstrating the power of putting people first. Transitioning into aged care, should be an exciting time where seniors meet like-minded people. They can continue their independence, receive on-site care if needed and interact with family, friends and the wider community. ■
If you would like to experience the alternative to traditional aged care, arrange a time to visit and book a tour via 07 5551 6720. Odyssey is a three-tower luxury aged care community, located at the high-profile site on the corner of Christine Avenue and The Crestway at Robina. It has set a new benchmark for the sector with an extensive offering of five-star accommodation, care services and amenities for residents.
Esprit de Vie Wellness Club is causing a stir. They have become very popular with the Gold Coast’s Silvers. The club runs weekly sessions at the Italian Club (8 Fairway Drive Clear Island Waters) with social team games and activities.
The Esprit de Vie Wellness Club also hosts regular social events like YOT Club Broadwater cruises, wine tours, brunches and so much more where friendships can be built.
Says Janice Walker, a Wellness Club Member, “It’s the best thing I’ve done since moving to the Gold Coast! I’ve made some lovely friends! I know I’m not alone in saying that!”
Wendy Geer, another Wellness Club regular, adds, “It’s the best place on the Gold Coast to meet some friends and have some wonderful events.”
Esprit de Vie Wellness Club Activities
Esprit de Vie love to use the old Elvis line “A little less conversation, a little more action” to describe what happens in their Wellness Clubs. Sessions are busy, interactive, full of laughter and fun – but all with a purpose.
Backed by the latest science, each session also keeps a subtle focus on memory, attention, cognitive function, physical and social health to ensure each and every participant’s maximum benefit.
One of Australia’s Favourite TV personalities, Denise Drysdale, pops down regularly to participate. Denise even ran a fun Go-Go dancing session recently to complement something she first did in 1966 when she opened Australia’s first Go-Go dancing school. ■
Interested? It is open to everyone, and it is $20 per session with a light meal and beverage included. Call 1300 4218 00 to book your complimentary first session.
Being well by being social is a fantastic way to look at life. But, you can also stay on top of your health by being proactive medically too. Have you ever considered having regular full-body MRI scans? This type of full body scan, done annually, can make all the difference in a diagnosis. Click here for more information.
Retirement community choices: Aged-care expert Phil Usher of Odyssey Lifestyle Communities tells us what to look out for when choosing to right-size into a new home.
We all want to love where we live, at the end of the day, it is the place we will call home. When you start looking into a retirement community, whether this is for yourself or a senior loved one, it’s important to understand there are many factors to consider.
Think about when you moved into your first home. There were many aspects you weighed up, thought about and sought advice for that brought you to the decision of whether to purchase or keep looking. Relocating into a retirement or aged care community is similar, but the questions and considerations are a little different.
Retirement Community – WHAT TO CONSIDER
It doesn’t matter how old you are, location is still an incredibly important aspect when moving from one place to another. Most people want to remain in an area that offers familiar surroundings, places and faces. And of course, being near popular shopping hubs is a major draw card! It’s a misconception to think retiring in the outer suburbs is cheaper. And while this can be a factor, if affordable, most people want to be in the thick of it. Living near family and friends is another aspect as we all want to see our kids and grandchildren as we age.
When looking at a retirement community, it’s important to see what kind of environment and social setting is offered. We all need real social interaction, especially as we age. Find out if the location has a varied calendar of events and outings to participate in or, if you or your parent are not social butterflies, check and see if there is a good library or areas to simply sit and enjoy watching the world while engrossed in a good book. Select a community that suits your needs and profile.
A great question to consider: can you stay at your chosen community for life or will you need to move again if you or your partner’s care needs change? This point needs special consideration, as many operators claim to have a true ageing in place model, where you can live life your way without moving again, but few actually deliver this.
Ask what level of care is available on-site and not coordinated via an outsourced group or person that sets it up. Also ask if there is real 24/7 care at the community that, if needed, can be ramped up until life’s end without having to move again.
4. KNOW THE COMMUNITY RULES
Even in your senior years, you’ve got to pay attention to the rules. Common rules to look out for are, can the grandchildren stay over? Can you entertain in your new home and utilise common areas? And, can friends join you for a meal? Can you bring your pets? Can you call the shots, always? All these things really add up to ensuring you retain your independence and that you can and should have the final say.
5. IT’S ALL ABOUT FOOD
Food is such an important part of our day as we age, so it needs to be delicious and nutritious! Check to see whether the community has a chef (Odyssey has three!). And, check what their qualifications are. Peruse the menu and enquire how often it changes and whether it is à la carte. The days where you are expected to accept what you are given are over. Mealtimes are great for socialising, so the atmosphere needs to be ‘restaurant’ rather than ‘dining room.’
6. CHAT WITH STAFF
Conversing with the staff is the perfect way to find out what a place is really like. Ask questions about all the above points and be certain they are genuine answers and not just lip service. Be confident and inquire about the employees, their training and their requirements for working there. Look into whether the care staff are qualified or whether they work for the community or for a subcontracting entity. Ask about how the community is run and what services are on offer or at hand. These are all fair questions to ask, especially when it comes to nursing qualifications.
7. WHAT ABOUT SECURITY
It doesn’t need to be Fort Knox, but you want to know the place you live offers a secure community. Check to see whether there are physical security gates that close at night, 24/7 staff in case of an emergency or if care is required, CCTV to monitor common areas and whether the community offers technology aids to assist with your security. Technology is becoming commonplace, even in the aged care sector. There could be an Artificial Intelligence system designed to assist in monitoring all manner of things. Check the communication system, particularly given the pandemic, and make sure you have access to video calls and telehealth. You want to know that all these things are in place and there for you in order to feel safe and secure.
8. RETIREMENT COMMUNITY: SPEND TIME THERE
To get a real sense of the place, you need to experience it beforehand. Make some enquiries to see if you can come along for morning tea and chat with the residents. This way, you’ll get the scoop on what life is really like in the community firsthand. Take a stroll around the grounds and make sure they are in good condition, that way you know your community is well kept by people who care.
9. RETIREMENT COMMUNITY CULTURE
This is a really important point – the community needs to ‘feel’ right for you. Does it give you a sense of home and can you see yourself there? Listen to your heart and make sure you tick this box, because it will make all the difference. Chatting with staff and residents will help you with this point and you can also jump online and read reviews.
10. ASK ABOUT THE FINANCIAL OPTIONS
Another important aspect of retirement is understanding how the financials work. It’s best to compare apples with apples. Make sure you take into account what quality of life you want, as it has a value that should not be ignored. Make sure you compare what you want across all prospects and then determine what you are prepared to pay.
PHIL USHER – RETIREMENT COMMUNITY CARE EXPERT
Phil Usher has been part of the aged care sector for almost 20 years. He has a keen understanding of what seniors want when it comes to living out their twilight years on their own terms.
Phil’s Mum, who passed away from dementia-related complications, was the driving force behind why he’s created an alternative to traditional aged care. When considering aged care for her, Phil couldn’t find a place that offered her the kind of life she wanted. So he made improving aged care his odyssey. If it’s not good enough for the people Phil loves, it’s simply not good enough.
Phil’s determination to create the best alternative to aged-care led to a fresh, heart-centred approach known as a Lifestyle Care Community. At Odyssey the power is given back to residents. People are put first, they have their own home in a lifestyle-orientated community, couples stay together, pets are welcome, grandkids have sleepovers and most importantly – comfort, dignity and independence are the first priorities.
Ballycara: Have you got a parent who needs a little extra help to stay in their home? Or do you yourself want some “home friends” to help you stay independent? In our cover story, we investigate the services that Ballycara are offering to add extra support to people in their later years.
BallyCara want people to live fulfilling lives regardless of age. And at Silver Magazine, we are all about the living-well mantra. So it is no surprise that we are really impressed with this not-for-profit! Their Wellness Program has been developed and delivered by qualified health professionals. It promotes optimal physical, mental and emotional wellbeing at every age.
John has had a couple of falls. He has been told he can’t play tennis anymore because he’s lost his balance a little.
Craig James, Health and Wellness Manager at BallyCara: I’d like to see if there was a way that we could modify or adapt the “no tennis” rule. For example, we could try standing tennis – somebody could hit the ball back and forth to him. Tennis is a great way to keep up your strength and your balance.
John says he is very passionate about playing tennis. If you want to mitigate risk and minimise having falls, you need to improve balance. The way you do that is to challenge your balance, in a safe way. If tennis is what he wants to continue to do, we could have conversations around ways he could still be involved in tennis. This could be in a safer setting with softer tennis rackets and tennis balls and working it into a program. And ideally, if his main goal is to return to tennis, we would try to support that. You can take small steps along the way. It might not get to the point of fully playing tennis again, but it’s the journey that counts. If you can keep moving forward with your passion, then that’s a result in itself.
CASE STUDY 2
Meena felt like she had lost her balance and didn’t have the stability to be able to stand for any period of time. She lost her confidence to cook.
Craig James, Health and Wellness Manager at BallyCara: When Meena came to see us, her main goal was to get back to cooking a curry in the kitchen. So we tailored the exercise program around that goal for her. We adapted the program and brought exercise into play. If it’s related to what the person wants, the motivation kicks in. As you get older you can improve your muscle strength, and you can improve your balance.
We went into the kitchen with Meena while she was cooking the curry. We supported her and advised her on how to move around while keeping her balance. She can now bend down and pick up pots and maintain her safety. The message that we want to get out there is you can improve no matter where you are on the aging timeline.
BALLYCARA EXERCISE SESSIONS
Many people find it difficult to start an activity program without the support and guidance of an experienced health professional. Ballycara’s exercise sessions give people the confidence to continue their fitness journey.
Craig James, the Health and Wellness Manager at BallyCara, says their health and wellness program on the Gold Coast is going from strength to strength. “It is a mobile program, and our main goal is to prevent chronic conditions. We support that in a reablement way. We work with our exercise physiologists across the community at a number of different locations, from Northern Gold Coast all the way down into Northern New South Wales. Our clients come to us through a range of referrals including General Practitioners, The Heart Foundation, walking groups and various other health fields that align closely with us. We also take on people privately.”
“People might call us for a variety of different reasons. It might be recovery from injury or illness, rehabilitation, post surgeries, or prior to going into something in the hospital. Sometimes they have to lose weight or be fitter for a medical appointment. They might call us because they want to increase their ability to keep their strength to play with their grandkids. They might want to do things around the home, and just feel a bit better in themselves when they’re doing things.
“If you want to join up, you can get a referral from your doctor. The first step is to have a conversation with us and get an initial assessment. We’ll measure your strength and work out how you are coping in your day-to-day life. But we’ll also get to know you as a person – what your likes and dislikes are. We want to make sure what we prescribe is safe. But we want it to be enjoyable too, so that you’ll want to participate and stick with it.”
You can do your program on a one-to-one basis or participate in exercise classes. If you want to attend with a couple of friends, that’s also possible.
Says Craig, “I have clients that are still living at home and driving a vehicle at the age of 99. And they are coming in for exercise. They are feeling confident and living independently at home. I think a lot of people want to stay independent in their own homes. And they want to keep doing the things that they love. And exercise is just the tool in ways in which you can achieve that.
“We love to answer general enquiries! But if you have more detailed questions around specific reasons for wanting to attend, we can refer you on to our senior exercise physiologists on the Gold Coast. They can work out whether an individual session or maybe a group class in a community centre might be best suited for you. We want people to enjoy what they’re doing. It’s about coming along and having fun while getting the benefit out of the sessions.”
BALLYCARA: JOINING UP
Alongside their Wellness offering BallyCara is an accredited Home Care provider. BallyCara has a flexible approach to the delivery of services ensuring a package is tailored to what you require in order to support you to achieve and maintain your individual goals well into the future. The local BallyCara Gold Coast Home Care team will help you through the journey by listening and exploring with you, your background, needs and preference to ensure your independence and continued enjoyment of community living.
It is important to note that Veterans Affairs and Home Care package subsidies are available for your Wellness and exercise journey. You can also get a Chronic Disease Management Plan referral from your GP. If you are eligible for a Home Care package or would like to find out more along the lines of funding and payment options, the BallyCara team are on hand to help navigate and support you through this journey.
You know that guy. He earns the same as you, but he has two houses and you only have one. What’s his secret? GOOD FINANCIAL ADVICE. He has people working for him who know how to get the best from the existing system. And you can too. You just need to know how to make the system work for you.
I need to stress to the Over 50s that it is just so important to have a clear strategy for retirement. I work with a lot of clients in this space. The way you approach your planning at this stage of life can make all the difference to how you live in your later years. And it’s easy, legal, and very, very smart. Everybody needs to know this.
For those of you with an outstanding home loan debt on your home, there is good news. You are generally sitting on a lot of equity from the uplift in property values. It may seem to be just an imaginary amount of money or simply theoretical, but it is actually an important tool that you can use to free yourself from money worries in your later years.
You probably currently have no passive income sources and are going to be reliant in retirement on your superannuation generating a small amount, and then likely the Age Pension. But you could change that, depending on how you are currently set up financially.
You need to use the equity in your home to increase your wealth. We meet with people to understand the structure of their home lending, and work out how much equity they have. And then we can work out how they can put that equity to work, rather than having it sitting there doing nothing.
The good news is that anyone with equity building up, can use that equity to buy a second property. The second properties our business associates suggest you buy, they suggest for a reason.
The second property can help you reduce your existing tax base. Our associated registered accountants provide the advice here.
The second property is expected to increase in value over time, providing capital growth and make life easier at retirement. Again I will refer you to our partnered advisors who will guide you through that.
Clients will only have to contribute $20 to $50 a week themselves to actually secure the property in the current environment.
You will pay down your mortgage five to 10 years faster.
You’ll have an extra asset at retirement. With this, you can sell it, take the capital growth or keep collecting the rent.
The second properties our business associates suggest are all across Australia. They identify suitable properties in specific areas of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. These properties have been selected according to population trends, infrastructure, investment, and what is going on from various levels of government.
There are the usual risks. There’s always the potential of interest rates increasing. If the rents don’t increase as well, you’ll have to pay the difference. Our associates take some of that risk away from the actual rent side of things. Properties that carry a five-year rental guarantee provide support. Our associates work with property managers so that if the tenant doesn’t pay the rent, or if there’s a delay in being able to find a tenant, the property manager will actually cover the rent for five years at an agreed rate.
The other key risk is that there cannot ever be a guarantee that property prices are going to rise. But, if looking at historical data in Australia, property generally has only really done one thing over the long-term. Gone up over time. Over the decades, as population growth occurs, urbanisation happens and infrastructure goes in. Areas that weren’t once ideal to live in then become very sought-after areas. Inner city areas in Melbourne like Carlton, Richmond, Collingwood are examples. In Sydney, you have Surry Hills and Redfern. At some point in time they were very undesirable places to live. Redfern only 10 years ago was still undesirable, but thanks to urbanisation and population growth, those areas have become sought after because of their close proximity to the city.
This gentrification and subsequent increase in property values is expected to happen all through Brisbane and through to the Gold Coast. It’s these areas of stable increases in capital growth that we our associates focus on.
The Covid crisis has ultimately started to change our culture. Regional areas propertywise have experienced such a boost because of people realising that they’re never going to have to go back to the office five days a week in the city. Personally, I don’t believe it’ll ever go back to what it was with large corporations in Australia reducing commercial leasing capacity and assisting employees with flexible working arrangements.
A CASE STUDY
Alison (48) and Paul (53) have a combined income of $200k. They are both self-employed and have a house which they live in. The house they bought last year for $655k has just been valued at $850k now. They paid $300k as a deposit. What should they do before they retire?
Advice: Firstly, I would work out what the borrowing capacity is and I’d suggest property-wise, Alison and Paul can probably secure a second property around about $470k over a 30 year term. A second property is a saleable asset, if you need to sell it, you are not going to be without anywhere to live.
Alison and Paul also need to have an exit strategy at retirement.
On the other side of this process, Alison and Paul would build ownership in the property that has a renter in it and the rent is paying it off. They are only approximately paying $20 to $50 per week to get into this situation. The lending is structured so that direct mortgage exposure against the primary home is limited.
THE SECOND PROPERTY
No emotion should be attached to an investment property. Think of it like purchasing a share in a company. What you’re looking for is an asset that’s going to be generating demand.
There are other ways to increase your retirement pot. An example is salary sacrificing a part of your salary, into superannuation and at the same time access a part-pension from your superannuation. That round-robin transaction results in you firstly ending up with the same net salary each pay period that you would have otherwise, but you end vvsuperannuation’s a lower tax environment than your personal status, in your marginal tax rate.
Any superannuation strategy will be guided by our associated financial planners who are engaged to advise on the suitability of acquiring property in the fund.
So why isn’t everyone doing this? Mostly they don’t know they can. This is why financial advisors are so valuable. They understand areas in which you can quite lawfully utilise the tax laws to your advantage.
People who build up large property portfolios – all they’re doing is utilising knowledge and applying it. It’s sitting within the parameters of the tax law. Knowledge is power, and then applying it, that’s when it becomes apparent.
Property is just one asset class, and there’s many asset classes you can access. But property is one which you can utilise with the tax system to help you pay down that asset faster.
Superannuation is the other key area we can assist with. If people have built up a good base of superannuation over their careers, we can help clients navigate purchasing property through their superannuation.
How do I know how all this works? Because I’ve been a career banker. I started in 2005 and spent most of that time in the lending environment.
Up until 2018 I worked in two of the major banks, before I started NMC Finance. I started my own brokerage because I saw a gap in the bank offering. One of the reasons why I really enjoyed being a commercial banker was being able to go out and build relationships with clients and provide that personalised experience. So setting up my own firm really allows me to do that.
I’m not limited to one set of credit policies with one bank, one set of products that probably doesn’t fit all clients. I’ve got about 38 lenders in my panel, and I’ve also got the ability to go offpanel where there’s an alternative scenario that’s suitable for a client. And so when you’ve got the power of that behind you, you can build strong relationships with clients that you can keep for life. I really enjoy working in this space and it’s thrived through the pandemic.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW
It’s been a really great time for clients to be able to secure extraordinary discounts on their finance which are in place for the whole of the 30-year terms. It’s also the perfect time to be refinancing, securing very cheap money. It is the lowest environment, interest-rate-wise, in the history of Australia. This is your window, jump through it.