Unique re­tire­ment vil­lage set to open

Rotorua Review - - MOTORING - STAFF RE­PORTER

More free­dom and a sense of nor­mal­ity is what fam­ily and res­i­dents of the new de­men­tia and aged care vil­lage in Ngongo­taha are look­ing for­ward to when doors open in a few days time.

The CARE Vil­lage is a worldlead­ing de­men­tia and aged care com­mu­nity on the shores of Lake Ro­torua, built to repli­cate a smallscale New Zealand town. It has been de­signed to allow peo­ple with de­men­tia to live as nor­mal a life as pos­si­bly by liv­ing in house­holds, thus cre­at­ing a foun­da­tion of in­de­pen­dence, home and com­mu­nity, with pro­fes­sional sup­port and car­ers nearby.

Ju­lia Free­man, daugh­ter of res­i­dents Dolly and Bruce Atkins, said the op­por­tu­nity and free­dom for her par­ents to move around in a more nor­mal and so­cial set­ting was key for them to move from Auck­land to Whare Aroha CARE last year.

‘‘My par­ents have been in care since 2010 and since then I al­ways felt the way they lived wasn’t re­ally a nor­mal way to live. Al­though they were well cared for, their usual ac­tiv­i­ties had be­come restricted such as en­joy­ment of cook­ing and gar­den­ing, and even their free­dom of move­ment was not the same any longer.

‘‘The idea of shared liv­ing in self-con­tained houses with sim­i­lar groups of peo­ple ap­pealed to me greatly, as well as giv­ing them a greater abil­ity to roam within a safe and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment with­out the re­stric­tions that more in­sti­tu­tion­alised care ne­ces­si­tates.’’

Whare Aroha CARE ini­tially started re­search­ing how to im­prove the care en­vi­ron­ment ahead of the ex­piry of the lease on its Hine­maru Street home­stead.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Therese Jeffs said that in re­cent years they had made sig­nif­i­cant changes to the way they cared for peo­ple, but that the build­ing did not match their val­ues or model.

‘‘We looked for a de­sign con- cept that matched our vi­sion to allow peo­ple with de­men­tia to live a bet­ter life.

Now set to open its doors midSeptem­ber, Jeffs said The CARE Vil­lage will con­tinue to chal­lenge tra­di­tional mod­els of care.

The CARE Vil­lage is the first of its kind to be built in the world out­side of Hol­land. The con­cept of giv­ing peo­ple with de­men­tia the op­por­tu­nity to go about their nor­mal lives is based on the renowned Dutch de­men­tia vil­lage, De Ho­geweyk.

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Bruce and Dolly Atkins are look­ing for­ward to tak­ing up res­i­dence at the new CARE vil­lage in Ro­torua.

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