There’s a lot of them about—fit, active folk in their sixties and seventies, from the baby boom generation, who are expected to number 230,000 in New Zealand in just a few years.
And what unites them, apart from an innate love of The Beatles and a good appreciation of how much New Zealand’s wines have improved since the 70s, is a zest for life.
That’s because this is the same generation which has already lost friends, seen their parents manage and sometimes suffer the onset of old age and need no reminders about making the most of retirement. It’s the time of life when maintaining the family home, managing the garden and working around the quirks of kitchen corner cupboards are falling off the priority list.
Helen Martelli, General Manager of Rawhiti Estate, a boutique Remuera retirement village being developed by the BeGroup, says the new generation of recently retired expect a great deal more than just a change of address when considering a move from the family home.
“When you’ve worked hard, often in a demanding career, and you’ve put your heart and soul into raising your family, you see retirement as a change of pace to be savoured. It’s finally the time when you have time to travel, to take up a new hobby or perfect an existing one and increasingly people want lifestyles which meet that expectation.
“We’ve looked at retirement through that lens, designing apartments which do not compromise on design quality, fitout or fixtures, then wrapping facilities and activities around those apartments so residents can pick and choose what they want according to their needs, interests or social networks.”
Helen says experience has taught the recently retired to make the most of life because it can also deal you some wild cards.
“And that means their expectation runs beyond the lifestyle we can provide for them today, to the lifestyle they want for themselves later in life. Again, we’ve met those expectations by ensuring we have assisted care facilities to provide a continuity of lifestyle in familiar surroundings and that includes a specialist memory loss unit.”
Helen says the over 60s joke about “growing old disgracefully”, especially those who have fond memories of the ‘peace love and rock and roll’ philosophy of the 60s and early 70s, but in reality, security, dignity and above all the ability to be themselves comes first.
“Rawhiti’s apartments are designed to be a haven for their owners. A change of address should never mean a compromise in lifestyle. So, for example, our kitchens have top of the line appliances and are designed to help people live well. For example, we use drawers more than cupboards. That’s a design feature so many people appreciate as drawers do away with the need to get down on floor level to find a favourite serving dish. We’ve all done that!
“We’ve also built in the best technology. This is the generation who went from the old dial phones to the iPhone and from typewriters to tablets. They expect the best. We have a tablet-based system for communications, entertainment and even our amenities, such as booking a meal delivery from our kitchen or a place in our restaurant. From one device our residents can make calls, connect with caregivers, schedule entertainment or use apps for games or hobbies.
”Rawhiti’s Apartments are designed to provide peace, privacy and luxury for residents, but also connections to the Rawhiti and Remuera communities through cultural and social activities. The Estate’s restaurant, gym, pool and hairdresser all deliver great nutrition, health and a sense of wellbeing. Other amenities include a cinema room, private dining areas where private events can be held and beautifully landscaped grounds.
Helen says the Estate enables residents to tailor make their lifestyles, so they can engage as much as they like, when they like.
Importantly, that ability to connect and enjoy company is maintained in both the assisted living and memory loss facilities.
“Every person is very much their own person. Our care philosophy—and this includes patients with memory loss—is to put them first with dedicated caregivers they can get to know and who will enable them to keep shaping their own stories and to provide the essential human connections that come when people just take time to listen and to engage.
“Time is often the biggest barrier to providing this level of care, along with the ability of professional staff to engage on an equal footing with patients, especially the most vulnerable. Our staffing levels and the skills and qualities of those staff will ensure our facility stands out for all the right reasons.”
This philosophy extends to design features in the memory loss facilities which mitigate some of the visual difficulties experienced by dementia patients which can lead to anxiety or panic. This includes lighting design which eliminates shadows, or flooring design which ensures patterns or changes of colour are not interpreted as “holes”. It also extends to food preparation, where patients requiring soft diets enjoy restaurant quality cuisine which uses innovative moulds to shape purees to look like a conventional meal, right down to the gravy on the roast beef.
“We pride ourselves on the quality of our restaurant food and we know our residents will have enjoyed and often cooked wonderful meals over their lifetimes. We see no reason why fine dining cannot remain part of the Rawhiti lifestyle and that includes our residents on special diets.”
Rawhiti Estate is nearing completion and welcomes everyone interested in hearing more about the facilities, the philosophy and the lifestyle to book a tour of a show apartment by calling 09 522 7001.