New-style village for the elderly

An alternative aged care model with a focus on wellness, “revolutionary non-institutionalised schedules, services and lifestyle options” for Australian seniors with complex care needs, including those with younger onset dementia, was named a finalist in the recent and prestigious SilverEco and Ageing Well International Awards.

Though it was not named among the winners at the awards gala in Paris on 29 March, the Microtown, by NewDirection Care, nestled between Brisbane and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast was celebrated and recognised for being “just like any small town in Australia”, even featuring its own wellness centre, corner store, café, cinema, hair salon, barber and music room, and elegant seven-bedroom homes each with ensuite bathrooms, built-in wardrobes, open plan kitchens, family dining rooms, cosy sitting rooms and private gardens.

NewDirection Care Founder and Chief Executive Officer Natasha Chadwick says the need for residential care communities like NewDirection Care in Australia is “becoming more apparent”.

“NewDirection Care is just the beginning of an ongoing journey and innovative change in aged care,” she says.

“Our residential care community in Bellmere is pioneering and shattering the mindset of a traditional aged care facility.

“Having worked in the aged care industry for two decades I realised that incremental improvements are no longer enough.

“We need to radically rethink how we look after the elderly and those living with dementia – the current traditional aged care model is no longer relevant in the world we live in today.”

Ms Chadwick adds that the microtown supports the “freedom of home” and says each of the uniquely designed 17 houses, which will be home to 120 residents, will have House Companions which are multi skilled and trained in complex care and dementia care needs, medication administration, cleaning, laundry and personal care.

House Companions are also in charge of nutrition and preparing meals in the house kitchen in consultation with residents and are supported by a 24/7 Professional Services Team made up of registered nurses, dementia support, physiotherapists and various allied health services.

Ms Chadwick says technology is also a key feature of the new development and is employed throughout the community to enable mobile monitoring of residents – through telephony, personalised monitoring, CCTV in semi public and public spaces, and movement sensors – to ensure their safety.

“My aim and that of NewDirection Care is to change the way we care for our elderly members of society and those living with dementia, not just in Australia but worldwide,” she says.

NewDirection Care Bellmere is now operational and home to 51 residents following site completion in September 2017.