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Music makes a world of difference to the elderly

Aged Care Music Resources

CHALLENGES FACED BY A PRODUCER OF MUSIC-BASED RESOURCES

Quality Australian made resources like those we publish are a rare commodity in Australia. To this day, I am grateful to a wonderful team of professionals, both inside and outside the aged care industry, who have helped us put these unique music-based resources together. I could never have done it alone.

Producing specifically designed quality resources at a commercial level for a relatively small budget-sensitive audience in Australia, presents huge challenges. To put things in perspective, in a country like America, a company could produce ten times the resources I produce for not much more than the cost of producing 1000 units here. In the USA they have ten times more elderly in care than we do here in Australia, so for them it would be a financially viable proposition to produce them in such quantities. The more you produce commercially, the per unit cost reduces significantly. I cannot do that in Australia because my audience is too small.

Two other factors that apply upward pressure on costs is buyer resistance, largely brought about by the lack of available funds, and compliance costs (copyright and royalty costs).

The greatest challenge in running an aged care related business is competing for what relatively little funding there is available outside the basic needs of care. Many Leisure and Lifestyle staff are allocated meagre monthly budgets and therefore, end up purchasing cheaper resources with a relatively short life, or those designed for a specific activity. Many Lifestyle and Activities Coordinators end up purchasing our resources from their personal income or seek external funding because of budget constraints.

Striking the right balance between RRP of goods while covering business running expenses is a significant challenge when selling to a budget sensitive industry, where the price of your products may often be perceived as expensive. 

During the time I have been involved with the aged care industry, I have noticed a gradual retraction in funding and resourcing in Lifestyle.

If the current underfunding trend continues, the quality of Australian made music-based resources available to Leisure and Lifestyle programs will be reduced to that which is homemade, some of which are either noncompliant or are only partially compliant with copyright law. I am a stickler for compliance, and I have a good grasp of copyright requirements. It is exceedingly difficult to produce commercial quality music-based resources when competing with homemade or noncompliant cheaply produced resources.

Most businesses providing resources to support Leisure and Lifestyle programs struggle to sustain financial viability. If it were a ‘big money business’ then I can assure you big business would be in there doing it, and they are not.

As long as government and management do not consider the importance of Leisure and Lifestyle in the overall residential care plan, this will always remain a challenge for anyone providing a service in this sector. 

Heads of Leisure and Lifestyle were positions once held by highly qualified Diversional Therapists and experienced Lifestyle staff, often Degree, Diploma or CERT IV qualified and supported by a source of funding. Today, this role is more often filled by people with qualifications and background experience which is arm’s-length from the Leisure and Lifestyle department they head. By design they effectively filter what funding is available to the recreation staff based on instructions from the top.

Unless there is a significant change in attitude by those administering aged care in this country, suppliers of commercially produced, quality resources to support the Leisure and Lifestyle role will diminish through lack of incentive to provide the resources that support this sector.

PIRACY

The current underfunded state of the Leisure and Lifestyle role has led to significant amounts of piracy of music and resources.

The government, along with many aged care providers, by not ensuring adequate funds are allocated to support this role, are unwittingly indirectly supporting the illegal practice of stealing copyright material!

Pirated CD Image 1

During my travels I have gathered sufficient evidence to support this claim, however, I would never unmask those who duplicate copyright protected material. Since they are not provided with sufficient funds to acquire the quality resources, they need to support the work they do, too many are left with little choice other than to beg, borrow and steal the resources they need to facilitate their sessions. It’s not as if they are earning huge salaries to afford to buy them themselves, nor should they have to.

The industry in general turns a blind eye to this practice, while at the same time, regulators continually raise the standards these same people are expected to achieve.

Pirated CD Image 2

Continually raising standards without providing the tools needed to help achieve those standards places unfair demands on the skills of those fulfilling a Leisure and Lifestyle role.

Graeme Pope
(Founder of Aged Care Music Resources)
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