DutchCare, a well-established, not for profit provider of aged and home care services in Victoria, has promoted 741, a project comprising 40 luxury retirement apartments in Kilsyth.
Possessing vast experience in running residential aged care facilities and in providing residential care, DutchCare conceptualised 741 back in 2005. At that time, a plot of land was purchased in Kilsyth and it was decided that it would provide services different in nature to what DutchCare had been involved in till then.
As part of this strategy, the plan was to build luxury residential apartments for elders of the broader community, and not restrict it to people of Dutch descent. Subsequently, a great deal of time and effort went into researching, planning and designing the proposed apartments.
Negotiations were held with local government officials and work on the project was commenced after receiving all the required approvals. The target audience for 741 is retired people who are young at heart and who enjoy the freedom of living independently in a certain style.
They like to have their peace of mind when it comes to their care related issues but they very much enjoy their independence right now.
The project is at its final stages and a number of potential buyers are in the pipeline. Over a period of time, several focus groups had been constituted with the purpose of finalising the design of the apartments and the amenities to be provided in them.
As a result of these brainstorming sessions, the project has incorporated many features that were suggested by potential customers. This process illustrates a basic philosophy of DutchCare, which is to hear what the customer wants. These requirements are then conveyed to the designers and architects so that the apartments and the project provide exactly what the customer requires.
In designing this project, DutchCare has responded to the problem of increasing isolation being faced by elderly people as they become less mobile and often get stuck in their homes on the Australian quarter acre block in the suburbs.
741 is DutchCare’s initiative to help residents create new and meaningful relationships. Modern research indicates that this is the best cure for loneliness and keeps people young longer. While it is intended that some of the residents of 741 will be of Dutch origin, it is expected that the project will become a true reflection of Australian society and have a vibrant multicultural composition.
Facilities at 741
The apartments at 741, Mount Dandenong Road, Kilsyth, Victoria, have been designed in a manner that ensures occupants great comfort and convenience. Priced from $397,000 to $561,000 on a life lease basis, each apartment has two bedrooms and a modern kitchen with Bosch Stainless Steel appliances.
Some of the apartments will also have additional space for a study. Thoughtfully designed bathrooms that are wheelchair accessible have been provided. Additionally, each unit has plenty of storage space and a private courtyard. A fully equipped, European style laundry and a secure car park make up the comprehensive list of amenities.
DutchCare has provided special facilities for early purchasers. In addition to getting the current sales price, which has been lowered by 5% as an incentive, those booking now can get a choice of colour scheme for their apartment. More importantly, some of the units have a view of the Yarra Valley, making them highly desirable.
Residents will have access to a whole host of amenities at 741. There is a community centre, a sports bar and a craft room giving occupants plenty of opportunity to make new friends. The project also has a wellness centre as well as a dining area and a library.
The large dining area and adjoining commercial kitchen are available for private functions as well as get-togethers with the community. A private consulting room has been provided for the use of health practitioners, hairdressers and other service providers.
Visits to the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges can be organised for the residents of 741 on the shared community bus available. Public transport is easily accessible, with a bus stop located just outside.
Residents do not have to worry about issues like home maintenance, security and all the other matters associated with living on one’s own. At 741, while the apartments are built keeping independent living in mind, every possible service is available.
Nursing care, laundry, home care and additional services can be arranged upon request. To ensure security, each unit is fitted with an emergency call system, which is supported by a help desk, which operates 24 hours per day, seven days a week. This can be particularly helpful in times of emergency.
Partnerships with various agencies
DutchCare has established partnerships with a large number of service providers and agencies in its quest to provide the best facilities to its residents. This has enabled it to ensure that the occupants of apartments at 741 will have access to best-in-class amenities and services.
Petra Neeleman, CEO at DutchCare says, “The people that we deal with are mostly those with whom we have long-term relationships. We had a number of partnerships with organisations that provide similar services where they complement each other.
“We tend to stick to the same suppliers and build on those relationships as we grow ourselves. If we have an idea for a software, where we see an opportunity to improve, we actually call the people that we deal with and ask what their possibilities are and whether they could to provide us with a suitable design.
“There are certain nursing agencies and maintenance contractors that we deal with who have been providing us with excellent service. There are also other community services or service providers within the aged care industry that we deal with on a regular basis.”
A critical factor for aged care service providers and retirement homes is the quality of its workforce. In this respect, DutchCare has invested great efforts and as a result has a stable and highly competent set of staff members.
A large number of its employees have been with the organisation for many years. One factor which encourages staff to stay with the organisation is the stated policy of promoting employees to the position of managers from within the organisation. DutchCare also has a strong family focus, encouraging staff to bring their kids to work so that they become a part of the community.
There is also an extensive educational programme for staff members and they are expected to continually expand their skills and keep developing themselves. The focus on staff, and the results that this has shown, is a key differentiator for DutchCare, establishing it as one of the very well-managed organisations in the aged care industry.
Petra Neeleman says, “We consider it very important to keep in mind that every decision that we make should result in a benefit to our client and that is a mind-set that has been built throughout the company, regardless of which department you are in, whether it is IT or maintenance or direct care.
“We have adopted the Eden Alternative many years ago, which is a philosophy based on the principle of listening to the elder and doing what they want. It is knowing that how you treat your staff is the way they treat our elders. It’s all about fairness towards each other and treating each other the way you would want to be treated or the way you want our elders to be treated.”
The Eden Alternative is a powerful philosophy that is dedicated to improving the experience of ageing. It is based on the finding that many elders suffer from loneliness, boredom and helplessness. The Eden Alternative serves to eliminate these ills by transforming the communities in which elders, and those who care for them, live and work.
The philosophy is based on 10 principles and DutchCare is the first residential service in Australia and New Zealand to be endorsed in all 10 principles.
DutchCare diligently implements the Eden Alternative and encourages elders to make their own decisions and remain involved in daily activities, such as personal care, home or garden care, looking after pets or joining community activities.
“Our focus when it comes to investing is in retirement living,” says Petra Neeleman. “Certainly with the way that demographics are developing that is the way of the future, so more people will be living independently and receiving services within their apartments.
“741 is one such project. Once we have moved on from there we will be redeveloping at Carnegie as well. When it comes to residential aged care, we are renewing and upgrading some of our current buildings to keep up with the occupational requirements that we have within a residential aged care facility.
“We are also continuing to develop services for other ethnic groups. We used to provide services just for the Dutch, but we are now partnering with other groups to provide facilities to the Indian community with possibilities of other ethnic groups.”
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: DutchCare is an industry leader in aged care, and continues to make significant contribution to the health and well being of all older Australians.
WHERE: VIC 3201, Australia