An innovative assisted living community for ageing South Australians has received international praise as an award winner at the 11th Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards ceremony.
Life Care’s Gaynes Park Suites won the Facility of the Year – Assisted Living award, recognising the best facility enabling older adults who need some assistance to live independently. Services include cleaning, cooking, home maintenance and easy accommodation of external support services through home care programs or packages.
Other Australian award winners included Ryman Healthcare (Operator of the Year – Ageing-in-place; Facility of the Year – Residential aged care), Bolton Clarke (Operator of the Year – residential aged care) and Apollo Care (Innovation of the Year – Productivity).
Opened in early 2021, Life Care Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Allen Candy said the intention from day one was to create something innovative that would stand out in the aged care industry.
“We wanted to create an environment where once you’re on that campus, no matter what your needs or aspirations are, we would have services there so you never left,” Mr Candy said. “People can age on their terms and we give them more options than the traditional options of just retirement living without services or moving into a residential age care home.”
Accommodation options are designed like a traditional apartment suite, and residents can cook for themselves and live independently. Mr Candy said many residents do use minimal support services but they can easily be ramped up to suit changing needs.
Gaynes Park is no stranger to success as the building has previously won awards for architecture thanks to the work of architects Marchese Partners and Mossop Construction and Interiors.
Designed like a five-star hotel rather than a retirement village or aged care centre, the interior and layout have impacted the way residents, families and visitors interact. There’s an attraction for visitors as they feel more comfortable within the deinstitutionalised setting. Mr Candy said it’s created a sense of pride in residents as they maintain a strong connection with the outside world.
“There was one gentleman who said to me ‘My family don’t visit me more often than they used to but they stay longer. He’s happy because his family comes twice a week and when they do come, they stay for an hour rather than 20 minutes,” he said.
Couples have also been supported in ageing together as the residential aged care home next door means there’s no travel for either person when one has to receive a higher level of care.
There are hopes that the Adelaide-based facility will inspire other providers to follow suit in the assisted living space as Australians push for more innovative ways to age independently. As one of the eight Australian award winners at the ceremony, it’s clear that the aged care sector is listening, and providers are delivering change.
“We’re challenging ourselves to work with individuals and families to keep people in the assisted living environment for longer. The fact we’re able to keep them living in a supportive community environment and delaying entry to residential aged care for as long as possible is probably the thing we’re most proud of,” Mr Candy said.