Kerrisdale Gardens: A supportive living community

March 11, 2016

Feel free to check out the latest article delivered by our resident Aged Care specialist Erica Lambert. Erica explains the importance of achieving a “….highly flexible, integrated approach, focusing on wellness and life engagement….” The unique model incorporates the clients’ vision and Paynter Dixons expert team of knowledge within the Aged Care & Community living sector.

In 2010 the Board and Senior Management Team at Good Shepherd Lodge in Mackay, Queensland, began to develop their vision for a new facility on a beautiful site in North Mackay. From their vision – to align a highly flexible, integrated approach, focusing on welllness and life engagement, with their long standing organizational mission – emerged Kerrisdale Gardens. This recently completed ‘community within a community’ embodies many distinctive features to which older people in Mackay have positively responded. The facility is nearly fully occupied with planning for Stage 2 anticipated early in 2016.

The client’s healthy ageing perspective for this development project underpinned their projected model of care and service. Preliminary planning which was coordinated by the Paynter Dixon Qld (PDQ) Community, Health and Aged Care Team, was comprehensive and thorough and involved site visits to over 22 different sites, in Australia and New Zealand, facilitated by a process of broader international interrogation prior to commencing design. The project and client team have recently reflected that this initial analysis has been one of the key drivers of exceeding the desired outcomes.

The Kerrisdale Gardens Stage 1 development, completed in July 2015, consists of contemporary supported living villas and apartments, residential aged care and a beautiful wellness and medical centre . Beautiful landscaping, to enhance a high indoor – outdoor interface, use of colour and different materials’ selections and careful spatial planning mean that the immediate sense when visitng Kerrisdale Gardens is one of welcome to a world of fun, engagement and life, with this reinforced by a culture that embodies respect and dignity for older people and their families from every person within the team.

“This is not an institutional building. In fact, it is more resort like, and the fact that people from the surrounding community are actively engaging with the facilities offered, reflects the attraction of this development. Cyclists, young mothers with their infants,, the local craft group meet at the café at Kerrisdale Gardens – this is the essence of what we were trying to achieve – a social vibe with intergenerational community engagement. There are no massive grand spaces, it’s about down scaling to more intimate zones which can be used flexibly – overall the feeling is that this is an extension of ‘home’ and a wonderful place to be”, said Paynter Dixon designer, Chris Jacobson.

Care and services are delivered into all levels of accommodation by the KG Team, with the flexibility for residents in an apartment to truly age in place and receive high care as their needs increase. Subtle wayfinding cues within the building and across the site and design legibility were key considerations to support residents with physical and cognitive challenges and to enhance and retain remaining abilities.

PDQ’s multidisciplinary team which includes aged care specialists, worked with the client from the project’s inception to completion, In collaboration with the CEO, Raelene Phillips and the Board Chair, John Tait, business and service planning was comprehensively integrated with design planning guided by a Project Operational Implement Plan (OIP) This process included a Sales and Marketing Plan amongst others. The OIP tool proved a valuable management strategy to guide the complexities of commissioning the operations of the building during the construction process and facilitated the articulation and successful implementation of the service and delivery models

Paynter Dixon Qld’s approach is all inclusive and different to a traditional builder. “Kerrisdale was a unique project because it is a truly integrated aging in place community development,” said Paynter Dixon’s Erica Lambert. “Our focus was to align a construction solution with the client’s business and service model. That’s our point of difference – understanding and translating into design exactly what is needed operationally.”

The Stage 1 four level building includes a ground floor designed to be a communal space, opening into garden spaces to the rear. Across the front is the colonnade which forms a central spine for the entire master plan. The Health precinct is accessed from the main front entrance as well as the beautiful resident communal areas. The front entrance is one of welcoming contemporary sophistication, without being over whelming in terms of size, space and orientation.

The commercial kitchen and laundry on the ground floor created by Paynter Dixon’s kitchen and laundry specialist are equipped with the latest technology to provide residents with flexible and adaptable food and laundry services. Within the residential aged care units, the communal areas of living and dining spaces include a hotel like breakfast bar that supports resident choice of when to have their breakfast and what to eat. The Care Model encourages residents to access food and drinks when they want them, rather than at a pre determined time, better suited to an institutional model rather than to residents’ life style.

In the main building, the first floor consists of single bed aged care rooms, each with their own ensuites. A variety of sitting and activity areas, and beautiful generous outdoor patios, means that residents have options about how to enjoy their day. Back-of-house services such as waste management, deliveries and food and laundry services, are quite separate from the resident areas such as living rooms and bedrooms. The main building’s second level is a hybrid of traditional single aged-care rooms and another wing consisting of large one-bedroom “studio” rooms and apartments. The client will be able to provide both high and low levels of care with a diversity of accommodation options that are highly desirable. Five apartments are designated for independent or partially independent residents so that care can be delivered into something that is more their home than just a bedroom. Level three consists of one and two-bedroom apartments, which have an additional flexi-room off the lounge that can be set up as a dining space, study or spare room. The aim of level three is to provide “city style” private apartments with flexibility of spaces allowing residents to modify as their living requirement change.

The unique KG model is the result of a client having the courage of their convictions and holding close their vision, working with a project team that took carriage of their goals, and seamlessly delivered a high quality Kerrisdale Gardens under time and on budget.