Jason Marriott shares key new directions in aged care facilities

“A strong focus on providing the best standard of living for retirees is more important than ever.”

Jason Marriott, RAIA MAICD, Director of the Sydney studio shares key new directions in aged care facilities from the Property Council of Australia's 'National Retirement Living Summit' that he took part in recently in Queensland.

I was privileged to be talking on a panel on best practice in retirement living communities, and to talk about the world-leading innovations Ignite has been making in community integrated aged care. Ignite’s reputation for forward-thinking aged care design is firmly established in New Zealand (such as Killarney Residences in Takapuna), and I’m really excited about taking aged care in Australia in new directions in 2018.

Rather than building at the fringes of the city, future aged care is all about bringing the elderly into mainstream, inner city communities. At the core of Ignite’s aged care design is creating mixed use residential / aged care models that allow residents to enjoy the same active lifestyles and engagement with the community that they would prior to retirement.

The key is adding services like a spa or wellness centre accessible to all, but with special focus on services for aged care residents. Services that add value such as medical practices, wellness, retail and fitness should be an integral part of 21st century retirement living builds, encouraging healthy lifestyles and breaking down the factors that can lead to isolation among elderly people.

It is crucial in Ignite’s view that facilities like these are of a calibre that attracts external non-residents too, allowing the wider community to interact naturally with the people who live there Ignite’s own Country Club in Huapai, West Auckland, will exemplify these qualities on completion.

The Retirement Living Summit also reinforced the importance of continued access to knowledge in retirement.

People are working longer and therefore it is more important than ever for them to still have access to information. 

For this reason, libraries will be just as central to future retirement living developments as childcare and student facilities. Multi-generational communities have a positive effect on residents’ quality of life, as a mix of people helps to keep minds active.

A strong focus on providing the best standard of living for retirees is more important than ever. Every minute seven people turn 65 in Australia, with a total population of 3.5 million over-65’s in Australia alone. This number will swell to 8.6 million by 2050 while at the same time we see birth rates decreasing.

This provides retirement living planners in Australia with enormous opportunities, and it’s important we get things right.

In New Zealand, there has traditionally been a greater focus on ageing in place, allowing residents to continue living in the same facility even after their care requirements change. Facilities that cater to a wide range of care needs allow residents to feel settled, and ensure couples are not separated if one of them needs extra care. In 2018, Ignite will be working on bringing this concept to Australia, helping elderly Australians enjoy a better standard of living well into the future. 

We have an exciting year ahead on both sides of the Tasman, continuing to build on our existing retirement living offerings with our partners. Multi-generational communities with value added services that will be enjoyed by external guests and residents alike, will be the new norm.

This can only be good for the entire community, and I look forward to further exciting developments in aged care in 2018.