Aug 23, 2021

How this model of living is providing affordable and safe accommodation for seniors

Seasons Living hero

For seniors from a lower socio-economic background or who don’t own their own home, it can be difficult to afford a village’s entry payment or purchasing price, let alone the additional fees involved.

This leads to housing dilemma, as those who aren’t ready to move to a residential aged care facility face the arduous task of trying to find suitable and secure accommodation in the rental market – at a price that suits their budget.

Queensland retirement village Seasons Living is addressing this problem with a new tenancy model that allows over 65s to affordably rent a unit in their supportive community.

Currently, five of the company’s eight villages offer homes for rent under a 6 or 12-month lease as opposed to a traditional retirement village leasehold or purchase arrangement. Called Seasons Flexi Lease Communities, these villages feature self-contained units, shared facilities, meals and care services with staff on-site 24/7 and an on-call registered nurse.

Seasons Living CEO Tracey Silvester said moving towards a rental model in March was part of a “deliberate strategy” to provide affordable homes for seniors living in regional Queensland.

“We’re getting very positive feedback. A lot of our residents had really significant issues with housing security and were really quite fearful for what their future held. Living with us now, they know [their home is] secure. And also, we’ve got some awesome staff that do some amazing activities with them.”

Seasons Living CEO Tracey Silvester.

Independent living meets hands-on care

Seasons Living has self-contained units for rent within gated villages in Caloundra, Bribie Island, Kallangur, Redbank Plains and Eastern Heights.

Each community has 24-hour onsite emergency response from a registered nurse; a compulsory fresh meal service; access to shared amenities such as libraries, dining and lounge areas; and home care services – although residents have the option of using their own provider.

“Our point of difference [from] retirement living is that we do have a human on-site 24/7 [who] is at least Cert III qualified,” said Tracey.

“We also operate a registered nurse on-call system so that if somebody does have a fall at two o’clock in the morning, the resident activates their emergency call buzzer, and it’s a human being that responds.”

Seasons Living also allows renters to move into on-site residential care as a person’s health deteriorates.

“They can still stay socially connected to their friends [in the community]. Our model of care is very integrated between the retirement village in the residential aged care section.”

Caring for the body and soul

Seasons Living partially subsidises a compulsory food service for renters, providing three nutritious meals a day for only $80 a week.

Freshly cooked meals are served in a communal dining room, with an option of preparing some of your food in your own kitchen if preferred. Tracey said the service is well received and helps ensure residents are thriving and eating well.

“It gives an opportunity for the residents to socialise with each other, and for us to say hello to them. If they’re not looking well, that’s a bit of a trigger for us to go and visit and see what’s going on for them,” she added.

Each community also provides opportunities for seniors to develop interests and engage with the community. In one village, for example, the carers bake muffins and run a coffee and cake stall for residents. In another, the men have started a Friday club as a way to socialise amongst themselves.

“They’ve decided now that they would like to build a men’s sheds. [They] need to fundraise for half of it, and we’ll pay the other half. It’s really giving them some ownership over [the project] and it’ll also generate a bit of energy in that village as well,” Tracey told HelloCare.

“One of the men’s families contacted the manager this week to say how they’ve never seen their father so happy.”

For more information on Seasons Flexi, visit: https://seasonsflexi.com.au/

For more information on Seasons Living, visit: https://seasonsliving.com.au/

 

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  1. Although I acknowledge this initiative is great for seniors renting, forcing out existing residents who own their unit in these facilities is poor practice and quite insensitive.

    They should have a more sophisticated transition period for those who own their unit.

    Notifying existing residents they MUST sell their unit to rent under this new business model is quite appalling.

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