A Village for Life

Tulich Family Communities

Tulich Family Communities was formed to provide a lasting community for seniors. “My vision was to build a retirement community with a continuum of care component so it was a village for life,” recalls co-founder Maurice Tulich.

The company’s unique vision sets it apart from the traditional aged care model – and has been a huge hit with residents, families, and staff. “We are very innovative in the way that we build our villages,” Mr. Tulich explains. “In the past, most people wouldn’t put aged care and retirement together on the one site. And, if they did, they would hide the aged care. Whereas we don’t hide it. We dignify it so that people will then feel comfortable.”

Many, if not most, residents of retirement villages will eventually need to move into an aged care facility, Mr Tulich explains. Therefore, it just makes more sense to offer both on the same site. This ‘age in place’ model accommodates residents at every stage of life, so they never have to move away from their home and community, even after they need round the clock care. And, spouses can continue living together in the same village, even after one has to move into an aged care facility.

Tulich Family Communities’ motto, “Retire to Live,” summarises the company’s commitment to providing a high quality of life as residents age in place. The team does not see settling into a retirement village as the end of the road; instead they see this transition as a new beginning. As a result, the team works hard to ensure that residents have everything they need to live a fulfilling and satisfying life, no matter what level of care they need.

Tulich Family Communities currently owns and operates two independent retirement and aged care villages. Residents choose to move into the villages for a variety of reasons. It may have become too much work for them to try and keep up the family home. Or, navigating the stairs might have become too great a burden. Others simply want to become part of a supportive, inclusive community of fellow seniors.

Blue Hills Village, located in Sydney, has 152 self-care villas available in three different designs. Floor plans may include two or three bedrooms, garages, bay windows, covered patios, and up to three bathrooms. Durham Green Village, located an hour’s drive from Sydney in Menangle, NSW, offers two and three bedroom homes in eight different designs, all of which feature large living and entertaining areas and either single or double garages.

Both retirement villages provide a range of services and extras to make residents’ golden years as easy and enjoyable as possible. There is a doctor and podiatrist on-site, as well as a 24-hour emergency call facility. Medication can be delivered to residents from the pharmacy and dispensed under supervision. The villages will also take care of cleaning and household chores such as ironing and washing up, as well as garden maintenance and a handyman service to take care of odd jobs around the house, from minor repairs to changing a light bulb. There are also on-site hair care salons, banking, and postal services.

Both villages also boast a range of facilities and activities for residents’ enjoyment. The Country Club at Durham Green is the heart of the community and provides an ideal setting for socializing and dining. Blue Hills Village has lounge and dining facilities as well, so residents can enjoy lunches, dinner, or afternoon tea out with friends. The villages also have a fitness centre and gym, heated indoor swimming pool, library and internet café, billiards, darts, outdoor barbecue areas, bowling green, licensed bar, and theatre. Social and recreational opportunities include everything from dinner dances, line dancing, singing groups, and raffle nights to arts and crafts, board games, and cards.

The onsite aged care facilities are known as manors – not nursing homes. Dementia wings are called memory lodges. “We don’t use the old dementia specific terminology and we don’t use aged care terminology,” Mr Tulich explains. “We call our aged care facilities manors so that people don’t feel stigmatised by the name. By changing the name to The Manor it takes that [negative] connotation away. It makes people more comfortable to move in.”

Blue Hills Manor offers a diverse range of floor plans, from roomy studio apartments to spacious 1-bedroom apartments at either ground or upper floor level (accessible by lift). All apartments have a private ensuite bathroom and a kitchenette. They are also all designed to provide a warm, relaxing space that residents will feel comfortable calling home. The Manor at Darren Green has 46 apartments – 23 low care and 23 high care – which are also designed to have a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. “We have just commenced what we call a memory lodge,” Mr Tulich adds. The 52 bed facility “will be state of the art for people with dementia and will enable the residents to live in a dignified situation.”

Tulich Family Communities is also behind the innovative Nurses2U program. The home nursing business provides a variety of services to help people aged 55 and older maintain their independence across the greater South West Sydney region. “We can provide care [for] all the different needs that people require in their home,” Mr. Tulich reports. This support includes companionship, nursing care, meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, errand running, driving, personal grooming, and even pet care. Care givers also interact with clients through a variety of activities including games, memory books, and light exercise.

Nurses2U also offers Community Aged Care Packages funded by the Australian government. The company’s ability to care for people in their own homes fits current government goals, Mr Tulich explains. “The government is pushing to keep people at home longer and we have the capability to assist those people to stay at home longer, whether it is at our retirement villages or in their homes.”

Tulich Family Communities got its official start in 1995, but the vision reaches all the way back to 1940, when Mr Tulich’s grandfather purchased a market garden in the Sydney area. “When he used to talk about the property, my grandfather always said that if we could do something for the older population, he would like that,” Mr Tulich shares. “Because he was retired and it was difficult for him to find places to socialise and find things to do with other people of like mind.” Mr Tulich eventually bought the property and stayed true to his grandfather’s wishes by building Blue Hills Village on the site. “I believed that we could do it better than what was being done out in the community,” Mr Tulich recalls. “I had the land, I had the vision, and we started from there.”

Tulich Family Communities remains family owned today, a fact that sets the company apart. “It is not a corporate,” Mr Tulich points out. “Even though it is growing, the residents still have contact with the owners.” The company also stands out for doing virtually everything in-house. The team is in charge of building the communities, as well as operating and marketing them. It isn’t an easy business to be in, Mr Tulich admits, and the company has to stay one step ahead to remain on top. “It is difficult because you are dealing with the state government for the retirement village side, the federal government for the aged care side, and the buildings have to go through the local government,” he explains. “It is definitely complex.” The team’s ability to adapt to ever-changing government regulations has been crucial. “The reason for our success is the fact that we have the flexibility in the business to overcome all the issues that state, federal or local government [create].”

The team is eager to continue realising their vision – and utilise their flexibility – as they build new facilities. “We have a number of projects on hand which we will be commencing towards the end of this year,” Mr. Tulich reports. This includes two joint ventures responsible for the creation of two new developments: a community in Dubbo called Kintyre, and another in Figtree called Hillside. Both sites will continue to build upon the concept that Tulich Family Communities is founded on – providing a village for life where residents can enjoy their golden years.

For more information about Tulich Family Communities, please visit http://www.bluehillsvillage.com.au/tulich.html.

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