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