At the beginning of July I attended the Retirement Villages Association conference in Brisbane. These conferences are usually very inspiring and cover a wide range of topics influencing the retirement market including the economy, trends within the retirement demographic etc, as well as including keynote speakers whose subjects can be quite inspirational. Held at a different NZ or Australian city each year, the conference usually includes site visits to local villages, and this year’s selection covered a range of innovative options for village configurations.
There were a few common factors among the Brisbane villages:
They all included a continuum of care options, starting with independent living, progressing to serviced apartments and all included full rest home care. This enabled a resident to stay in the same village as their needs changed.
All villages are pitched to appeal to residents in their local area and are located close to existing services, allowing residents to retain their existing social and service networks.
All villages offered a small range of activities and services, with libraries, bowling greens, gyms and theatres
St Luke’s Green
This village was built on land surrounding a Spanish Mission style church, incorporating the church building. This has helped to revitalise what was previously a rundown neighbourhood with the church having been damaged in a tornado. The use of the existing church building attracts local residents to attend church services and other community activities alongside the village residents.
The village design exemplifies the need to consider the specifics of the local environment, especially climatic considerations. With the warm winter and much warmer summer temperatures in Brisbane, features such as screened corridors open to cooling breezes outside help cool the building, and each apartment includes a large covered patio or balcony for spending time outside protected from the sun and rain.
The Village at Coorparoo
Coorparoo is one of Brisbane’s most desirable suburbs and The Village combines all the benefits of city living with the relaxed atmosphere of a familiar local area, including access to public transport, sporting clubs, hospitals, medical centres and chemists.
This award winning complex features a brand new Aged Care building with triangular balcony surrounds providing interest to the façade. The landscape design manages a sloping site to facilitate easy walking access when moving around the village and incorporates a bowling green.
The village residents are enthusiastic about their village and cited the quality of the apartments, and the provision of leisure activities and opportunities to socialize. The village provides for ‘Active Bodies’ with a gym, pool bowling green, ‘Active Minds’ with a Library, crafts groups, billiards and mahjong, and provides for residents to have an active social life with a Bistro, cinema, and purpose designed BBQ area
Aveo Newstead is Brisbane’s first 19 storey retirement complex, located in the heart of one of Brisbane’s most popular lifestyle precincts, Gasworks Newstead. It offers premium river and city views with all levels of care available within the same building. This development makes use of airspace above a shopping centre. The Common Amenities open to outdoor spaces located on a podium above the retail development and including an outdoor bowling green. Further resort style lounge facilities enjoy amazing views on the top floor while a day spa and cinema are located within the podium area, as is the two level Aged Care facility. Bridging the gap between independent living and Aged Care are the serviced apartments which allow couples to stay together and where pets are welcome.
These three developments challenge conventional ideas of what a retirement village should look like, where it should be located, and how it should be configured.