When designing retirement villages, our work strikes the elusive balance between ageing in place, lifestyle and a successful financial outcome for the village developers.
Our demographic is moving towards an ageing population, and as this happens, more people are wanting a plan of care that allows them to age in place. This enables our senior population to stay near loved ones and within their known community as long as possible.
But what does this mean for how we house our ageing population? Traditionally, retirement living and aged care facilities have been located separately. When a resident needs to move to another level of care in a separate location, they become disconnected from their community of family and friends, often leaving them isolated within their new home.
What if housing were able to evolve with a resident’s needs? It could provide an avenue to transition to different stages of life as seniors as well as individual needs for care while supporting them to stay connected to their community.
Campus living for ageing in place
Suburban and city fringe sites can integrate retirement living and aged care in close proximity through early intervention in the master planning process. If we look at a campus style for ageing in place, we can provide co-located facilities that will allow residents to remain close to their community. It also provides residents with continuity of care and security knowing they can stay in the one location as their, or their loved ones’ level of care needs change. In addition to this, accompanying services such as medical, allied health, hospitality, retail and leisure services can be provided within a single location that is accessible to the needs of care on campus.
Modification before movement
Unfortunately, some people can find themselves moving to an aged care facility much sooner than intended, simply because there are not the right provisions or aids within their home to assist them as their needs change. On the other hand, residents in retirement villages don’t want to feel less independent by having noticeable aged care provisions within their home from the outset. So how do we strike the right balance? Enabling design that allows for the modification of their home within the retirement setting will ensure they can remain in a familiar environment which fosters independence until the absolute point in time that they need to move to aged care.
Lifestyle as well as connection
Yes, senior residents need a home but let’s not forget they also want lifestyle and connection. Providing mixed use buildings within the same development site could ensure a village feels and provides connectedness with the extended community. Linking housing to lifestyle services and facilities enables ease of access and social interaction needed throughout this stage of life. A community thrives on engagement, and this can be created in a space that provides opportunities for casual interaction within an environment that feels safe and connected.