RE­TIRE­MENT LIV­ING

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Re­tirees are no longer happy to set­tle for bland aged-care homes.

In­stead, they are seek­ing out re­sort-style life­style com­mu­ni­ties with ev­ery­thing from in-house chefs and high-speed data tech­nol­ogy to fully-equipped gyms and so­cial ameni­ties.

And the trend is re­flected in new de­vel­op­ments across Aus­tralia.

Re­cently, the Aged Care Ser­vices Aus­tralia Group pub­lished what it con­sid­ered to be the four key trends set to shake up the sec­tor over the next decade.

De­mand for ser­vices and the like­li­hood of high costs for care were flagged, but the ad­vo­cacy group also fore­shad­owed an in­creas­ing move­ment to­wards life­style ameni­ties and im­proved tech­nol­ogy.

“With the Baby Boomer gen­er­a­tion typ­i­cally as­set-rich thanks to the value of their res­i­den­tial prop­erty and su­per­an­nu­a­tion funds, they’ll both ex­pect and be able to fund a stan­dard of liv­ing not dis­sim­i­lar to their younger, in­de­pen­dent years,” the re­port said.

“This can be seen in ev­ery­thing from the in­creas­ingly ar­chi­tect-de­signed na­ture of aged-care fa­cil­i­ties, which fea­ture am­ple nat­u­ral light and pol­ished sur­faces, to concierge ser­vices and in-house chefs pre­par­ing gourmet meals on a daily ba­sis.”

The trend is al­ready be­ing em­braced by Queens­land developers, with res­i­dents of the Liv­ing Gems com­mu­ni­ties en­joy­ing fa­cil­i­ties such as lounge bars, games rooms, li­braries with com­put­ers, fully-equipped gyms and work­shops, and even a golf sim­u­la­tor.

It is a sim­i­lar story at the newer Aveo de­vel­op­ments, where re­tire­ment com­plexes are go­ing ver­ti­cal. At one of the de­vel­oper’s new­est projects,

Aveo New­stead, res­i­dents will be able to re­lax at the rooftop lounge, over­look­ing the iconic Gas­works precinct.

The devel­op­ment, which opens mid-next year, boasts stun­ning city views and is within walk­ing dis­tance of cafes, bars and restau­rants. It is hardly the ster­ile sur­rounds of the not-so-dis­tant past.

So­cial de­mog­ra­pher Bernard Salt said any­one us­ing the word “re­tire­ment” to sell their prod­uct needed to get with the times.

“Re­tire­ment is for old and ob­so­lete peo­ple – life­style is what peo­ple want,” Mr Salt said.

RPS Bris­bane plan­ning prin­ci­pal Si­mon Pol­lock said a greater range of hous­ing op­tions for se­niors was, and needed to be, pur­sued, with re­tirees health­ier and liv­ing longer.

“The de­in­sti­tu­tion­al­i­sa­tion of aged care has seen a trend to­wards mul­ti­storey liv­ing, an evo­lu­tion in ser­vices and how the aged care sec­tor pitches to­wards po­ten­tial cus­tomers,” he said. “We now have a wide band of peo­ple rang­ing from those liv­ing in their own homes and ac­cess­ing out­side ser­vices, or liv­ing in man­u­fac­tured home es­tates, those in lux­ury re­tire­ment liv­ing with a range of life­style ameni­ties, to those, and they are an in­creas­ingly small num­ber, who re­quire more in­ten­sive care.”

An­other trend, iden­ti­fied by RPS, was see­ing aged-care fa­cil­i­ties be­com­ing more con­nected to their lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Mr Pol­lock pointed to a re­tire­ment vil­lage at Nun­dah which had in­te­grated a cafe that was open to the pub­lic.

“They still pro­vide that se­cure en­vi­ron­ment but are ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing more in­ter­ac­tion with the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“There is that push to­wards pro­vid­ing op­tions within the cus­tomers’ com­mu­nity, rather than the pre­vi­ous model which saw many older peo­ple moved in to fa­cil­i­ties un­til their lives ended.”

Even the de­scrip­tive names have changed, with many aged-care fa­cil­i­ties and re­tire­ment vil­lages now called, for ex­am­ple, over-50s life­style re­sorts.

Pets are play­ing a big­ger part in the pitch of developers, as are the in­clu­sion of tech­nol­ogy and re­sort-style fa­cil­i­ties. So what next? Mr Pol­lock said the aged-care sec­tor was evolv­ing quickly, and the de­mo­graph­ics chang­ing.

“I would say, given the ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy, that will be the big­gest player in terms of of­fer­ings over the next decade,” he said.

“You will be able to visit the doc­tor via a tablet, or have your vi­tals mon­i­tored re­motely and sent di­rectly, in real time, to a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional.

“There will likely be health hubs and a whole host of wear­ables (such as the Ap­ple watch).”

Aveo New­stead res­i­dents will be able to re­lax on the rooftop lounge, over­look­ing the iconic Gas­works precinct.

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