SOURCE – ABC NEWS
A town in southern New South Wales just outside Canberra is hoping to free up room in aged care facilities by developing a new type of affordable housing for older Australians.
A $4-million communal housing complex has been proposed for the town of Bungendore, which would allow people to stay in the town, freeing up spots in aged care facilities in bigger cities.
The Abbeyfield Australia house would feature up to 12 bedrooms and private bathrooms with communal living and dining areas.
Bungendore Abbeyfield committee chair Anna Goonan said there would also be room for visitors and a live-in housekeeper.
“I call it a group house for oldies, which you could say is very similar to group houses we had as students, only they’re cleaner with different type of drugs available,” she said.
“Residents have their own rooms and they have the ability to mix if they want to mix, or they have the solitude of their own rooms if that’s what they’d prefer on the day.”
Ms Goonan said the committee hoped to raise most of the money for building the house through crowd-funding.
“But once built, the house uses 70 per cent of the aged pension and it uses Commonwealth rent assistance,” she said.
“There’s not a huge upfront payment, which makes it affordable for the most vulnerable aged people in our society.”
She hopes residents can begin moving into the complex within five years.
Bungendore resident Charlie Northcroft, 71, has already put his name down for a room and said he was excited that he would not have to leave the town he calls home.
“Too often people find as they get older and have to down-size, they have to move to other centres,” he said.
“That’s pretty hard because all your social networks are where you live. You’d have to restart them all over again.”
Mr Northcroft said downsizing was already difficult, but it would be nice to retain some independence and have some of his own possessions around him.
“Living on your own is not a lot of fun at times, so it’s good to have some companionship,” he said.
“Abbeyfield also has a cook to prepare the main meals, but the residents are expected to look after their own breakfast and do their own laundry – the normal sorts of things you’d do in a house, but with that little bit of extra assistance.”