‘Shift needed’ in aged care design of future

A panel discussion at Australian Healthcare Week has led to calls for a shift in thinking when designing aged care homes of the future. 

The Australian Aging Agenda reported, Melissa Argent, CEO at Rockpool Aged Care, argued that the narrative needs to be changed to move away from just physical care to include mental health, independence, and enjoyment of life. 

“You don’t just come to aged care to die. We need to make people realise that they can come to live,” Melissa reportedly told the audience. 

Argent was joined on the panel by Lorraine Calder, General Manager at Australian Unity, Ian Nichols, Chief Property Officer at Southern Cross Care (WA), Greg Zieschang, Director of Property at Opal HealthCare, and Mick McHugh, National Asset Manager at Calvary Care. 

The panel agreed that providers need to align their thinking with the needs of baby boomers, who expect to stay active and connected. 

The panel discussed industry needs to think differently about how to achieve sustainability-focused outcomes, as the cost of obtaining credentials has become too high. 

Melissa said environmental credentials would be a priority for the next generation of residents. 

“They will be – not just asking about it – but expecting that we do it better,” she said. “This is something as an industry we have to do much more on now.”

National asset manager aged and community care at Calvary Care Mick McHugh said environmental elements had to be bedded into the design of a facility from the beginning.

“Quite often we have a great design but then we’re left with a legacy of maintaining those systems going forward. So that design thinking around the environment and sustainability is absolutely fantastic,” he said.

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