Aged Care Design in the new decade.
How Australian Aged Care facilities are adapting for the new decade.
We are entering a new decade, and the call is growing for the Australian Aged Care industry to transition into a brighter age. As society becomes increasingly more educated and aware of global and local social issues, communities demand higher standards of living, particularly for the most vulnerable members of society.
So how are our Aged Care facilities adapting and improving with the times?
Creating homes, not institutions.
Leaving one’s own home or retirement living unit to enter an Aged Care environment is never an easy decision, and one that is taking place later in life.
Recent data reveals that Australians are entering Aged Care at an older age, with the most common age group for people entering permanent residential care being 85–89 years, which highlights the high level of care required in these facilities.
Despite the rapid evolution of the Retirement Living industry – as evidenced by the creation of a Code of Conduct – and seen in retirement villages increasingly offering integrated social, safety and wellbeing comforts and amenities; the transition from such retirement homes to Aged Care facilities can still come with its challenges, as not all Aged Care facilities are prepared to appropriately respond to the demands of the modern, older residents.
Leading Aged Care facilities are addressing the challenges presented by our ageing, older population and easing the transition into Aged Care by replacing the old, clinical and institutionalised model of care for a modern, home-like environment.
Design, Personalisation and Technology come into play.
The modern Aged Care facility is consciously built around the resident’s wellbeing, personal needs and overall dignity, offering lifestyle amenities and comforts not previously seen in the industry.
At the core of the modern Aged Care facility is Interior Design, Personalisation and Technology.
When it comes to design, the application of informed, evidence-based design methods transcend aesthetic comforts and promote the overall safety and wellbeing of residents, families and staff. Residents suffering from dementia and other health challenges can be supported in an environment that has been purposefully designed to support such conditions. Specialised Interior Design can prevent incidents, improve socialisation, facilitate mobility and assist navigation, fostering independence.
Personalised services are also paramount – even in the simplest things. In leading Aged Care facilities it’s the resident who decides what time they will have their meals, often choosing from a high quality, gourmet menu. A robust social calendar ensures residents can remain active and retain a sense of belonging in the community.
Technology is set to take a much more visible role in the provision of Aged Care services in Australia. Safety is ensured with the use of high-tech solutions such as sensor floors that unobtrusively notify staff of movements within suites, smart lighting that supports age related and cognitive decline in vision, variable colour, temperature and intensity in lighting to reinforce natural circadian rhythms, improving sleep patterns are only some of the solutions available in Aged Care today.
The clear need to rise above.
The 2019 Royal Commission Report was a wake up call for the industry, as it has highlighted some serious shortfalls in aged care, including heavy reliance on chemical restraints, underpaid and insufficiently trained staff, and disregard for the complaints of those receiving care. These issues can be attributed to outdated standards and inadequate funding models.
Implementing changes through the advancement of technology across the board, a focus on staff training and accountability, thoughtful design and prioritising the needs of the next generation of Aged Care residents can greatly propel the Aged Care industry into the new decade and address the issues brought forward in the Royal Commission Report.
The role that design, care and technology will play in creating safe and comfortable environments will not only answer to these challenges but allow Aged Care facilities to completely transform the industry and the care they are able to provide in the future.
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