First of its kind dementia village for Caulfield

Plans to build a $30 million dementia care village in Caulfield - a first of its kind in Victoria - have been put forward for approval by leading health and aged care charity, HammondCare.

The 90 bed aged care village - to be built in stages - would provide best practice dementia care across eight cottages in a village context complete with village centre, general store, chapel, studio, salon, workshop, memorial pavilion and extensive gardens and walkways.

The village is proposed for land leased from the Victorian government adjacent to Alfred Health’s Caulfield Hospital and will complement the existing Caulfield Nursing Home and redevelop two other facilities, all of which have been operated by HammondCare from 2014. Total beds for the site - if redevelopment proceeds - will reach about 180.

Caulfield dementia village west

World-class dementia design

State Manager of HammondCare Victoria, Seamus van der Westhuizen, said a feature of the village is HammondCare’s cottage design for dementia care, which has been developed since the 1990s and is now recognised around the world.

“Instead of the large institutional approach to aged care that has been common, residents in HammondCare’s Caulfield village will live in small cottages with a home-like feel,” Mr van der Westhuizen said.

“Each resident has their own room and ensuite with fully-functional fresh cook kitchens in each cottage, safe and private backyards and a range of design features that make the environment more familiar and navigable for a person with dementia.

“The surrounding village amenities such as village centre, general store, men's shed and salon further ensure residents have the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities of daily living which is so important to quality of life.

“We have been developing this design approach for more than 20 years and are pleased to be able to bring it to Victoria. Interestingly, we are teaching these very same design principles at schools in the UK this month.”

Special care program included

A significant inclusion in the development is two cottages and specially-designed garden areas for a Special Care Program for older people living with severe and challenging behaviours associated with dementia and related organic brain illness.

Currently a Special Care Program is housed in Namarra Home located elsewhere on the Caulfield Hospital site and would move to the new cottages as part of the development.

Overall, the village development will provide care for people with dementia, complex care requirements and aged persons’ mental health needs.

Meeting growing need

Mr van der Westhuizen said the development plans ensured that, not only would the long record of aged care provision continue on the site, but that new fit-for-purpose buildings would be delivered with increased capacity.

“We anticipate being able to care for up to 180 people across Caulfield Nursing Home and the new dementia village, at a time when Australia’s ageing population sees increasing demand for care.

“The growing rate of dementia also means that the provision of dementia specific care is a major need in Melbourne as it is across Australia.”

The proposal has the support of Alfred Health and the development application is now with Glen Eira Council. It includes car spaces in a basement car park and will involve the demolition of some buildings. One of these, Montgomery House, was previously a Red Cross Rest Home, and although extensively modified, is not suitable for adaption to ongoing dementia care. Instead the history of the site, under the plans, would be acknowledged by retaining the front façade of the building as part of the memorial pavilion, along with a poppy garden and other record of the site’s past.