Older Queenslanders could soon be spending their golden years in integrated “retirement cities” as an increasing demand for age-appropriate housing sees a shift in the approach to retirement living options.
As reported in this weekend’s edition of the Courier Mail’s Home Magazine, Queenslanders are now enjoying some of the longest life expectancies in the world, and the question of where and how to house them is becoming an increasingly important issue for urban planners and developers.
RPS Brisbane Regional Technical Director for Economics Mark Wallace said retirement living was evolving from self-contained, low density retirement villages to integrated, high-density ageing precincts, or “retirement cities”.
“The sheer size of the potential demand coming through from Baby Boomers means the traditional eight-hectare, self-contained retirement village in outlying suburbs are not going to be sufficient for future needs,” Mr Wallace said.
“Baby Boomers want different lifestyle options to previous generations as they age, and the health status of seniors is generally better now than ever before.
“We need to start thinking in terms of retirement cities rather than retirement villages, where there are integrated, mixed-use environments with a diverse range of housing options, resident conveniences and multi-phase options for health and aged care.”
Retirement cities feature facilities designed for the whole community, such as childcare centres and education facilities, community centres, shops and cafes as well as parks, to allow older residents to easily keep in contact with younger generations.
Integration to combat isolation for older people
“Social isolation has been identified as a serious issue for older Queenslanders who stay in the family home. Ageing precincts which focus on social integration as well as resident welfare, wider housing choices and innovative uses of modern technology will go a long way to addressing this,” said Mr Wallace.
"Retirement cities are already being developed internationally and there are a growing number of high-rise retirement villages and aged care facilities being built in south-east Queensland.
“Aveo Springfield is an example of a retirement village where high density integrated living is being created from day one,” he said.
“The project includes a childcare centre, independent living units, aged care and respite facilities and is adjacent to the Mater Private Hospital Springfield. It’s a very different approach and not something that has ever been done in Australia before.”
Aveo Group CEO Geoff Grady said Aveo Springfield had already set a new standard of excellence and diversity in seniors living and was designed with the long-term needs of retirees in mind.
“Research has proven that intergenerational interaction has benefits to both the young and elderly,” Mr Grady said.
"As part of our commitment to creating a truly diverse, age-friendly community, the world class wellness centre on site will include hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, a medical centre, beauty therapies and other allied health services, with some facilities doubling as tertiary training facilities for local students."
Sophisticated Baby Boomer buyers to drive age-appropriate housing options
RPS Brisbane Planning Principal Simon Pollock said a greater range of housing options for seniors needed to be pursued as the greater range of care options now available means people are living in retirement villages for longer periods of time when compared to previous generations, and spending a shorter duration in aged care facilities.
“Seniors are enjoying a better lifestyle for an extended period of time and with the opportunity to sell their homes and scale down to unlock the cash in their assets, retirement communities present a very attractive offering,” Mr Pollock said.
“We’re currently seeing a boom in manufactured home parks which are providing an additional affordable housing option for retirees. There has been significant growth in this form of retirement living in New South Wales, which is also starting to gain momentum in Queensland. It is providing a third offering for seniors and a very interesting evolution in the seniors living sector.”
Cities in the sky - retirement living on the up and up
Mr Pollock said aged care is also evolving into high-care facilities as a result of the extended duration of stay in retirement villages. Recent projects aimed to blend aged care residences into existing residential areas to ensure people didn’t need to move away from their network of friends and family as they aged.
“Developers and aged care providers are now starting to build multi-storey aged care facilities on much smaller land areas because of the lack of land available in Brisbane,” he said.
“Regis Aged Care is embarking on this new format in aged care with a six-storey facility in Lutwyche on a block that’s nearly two-thirds of the size of the land that is traditionally used for these projects.
“It’s important for local communities to embrace these kinds of projects so that they can be integrated into the community and people can age in the places they call home.”
RPS projections indicate that more than 135,000 Queenslanders are expected to be living in retirement village accommodation by 2050.
Over the past 20 years, RPS has been directly involved in more than 80 seniors living and aged care projects across Australia.
Aveo Springfield (Left) and Regis Lutwyche (Centre and Right)
Media Enquiries: Lara Thompson or Lauren Bonser on 07 3237 8899
10 October 2016