Banksia Villages Limited, is a single site organisation providing aged care, retirement living and community care services at Broulee on the NSW South Coast. Banksia is a not-for-profit, charitable organisation with members of the company drawn from the local population. Not surprisingly, the directors, staff and residents value community and have a genuine sense of ownership.
Edmiston Jones GBB is currently working with Banksia planning new Independent Living Units exploring a variety of housing types that are accessible and adaptable. The development will also provide shops and professional offices so that services are readily available to Banksia residents and there will be greater integration into the wider community. (Refer to Mark’s recent blog putting a case for blurring the boundaries between the village and the community.)
Aged accommodation providers, architects and developers are obligated to rethink the traditional ‘retirement village’ model. There is an imperative to create engaging, safe, secure and attractive environments so that our seniors are enticed to move on from the family home as this will relieve existing housing stock for the next generations. Australia has the largest homes in the world – three times the size of the 85m2 average UK house. 87% of houses in the Illawarra have more than 2 bedrooms yet 50% of dwellings are occupied by singles or couples. (source: MacroPlan Dimasi)
Modifying homes for ageing owners and alternative family structures is also part of the solution. Homes of the future must be designed for both accessibility and adaptability. The changing profile of families and the ageing population will drive a demand for dwellings that are multi-generational, wheelchair accessible and sustainable – in the fullest sense of that loaded term.
In my opinion, accessibility and social cohesion are two of the most important factors for a positive experience of community. The opportunity for people of all ages to live healthy and fulfilled lives requires suitable physical environments and regular social interaction.
(Main Image Source: Banksia Bugle)