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    Australia’s largest inner city retirement village by Australian Unity redefines aged care living

    Geraldine Chua

    Australia’s largest inner city retirement and aged care facility by architect Daryl Jackson features a new care model that will redefine aged care, creating unprecedented freedom and independence for residents.

    Located in Carlton, Melbourne, Australian Unity’s Rathdowne Place consists of retirement apartments, aged care living, a wellbeing centre, and home care and lifestyle services. However, it is its award-winning ‘Better Together’ model that will make the biggest impact.

    Aiming to connect with residents in a genuine way, the facility seeks to respect the rights of its residents to make decisions, while making it possible for them to achieve their goals – all while the elderly live in the middle of one of Australia’s busiest metropolises.

    This is reflected in the design of the concrete and glass building, which resembles a forward thinking inner city apartment development from the exterior. Once inside, the contemporary feel continues with displayed modern art and luxurious amenities.

    Technology will be employed to facilitate the idea of ‘positive ageing’, and include automatic light sensors that detect movement and WiFi and Smart TVs that allow residents to Skype and use social networks to interact with friends and family.

    Other features such as open plan kitchens, a hydrotherapy pool, senior’s gym, rooftop garden and cinema will also support independent living, while the site’s inner city location makes visitations from friends and family exceptionally accessible.

    “We wanted to show how the built form and service model could work together to challenge established perceptions of aged care,” says Derek McMillan, CEO of Australian Unity Retirement Living.

    “Rathdowne Place is a forward-thinking and unique aged care, retirement village and wellbeing precinct, which we believe can be a template for future inner city ageing communities in this country.”

    Locals in the Carlton community will be encouraged to use Rathdowne Place’s onsite café, participate in social activities and health and fitness programs, and connect with the residents.

    Over 200 jobs were created for construction of the aged care facility, and a further 160 people will be employed for the ongoing operation of the precinct. 

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