The Tasmanian suburb of Glenorchy in Hobart’s north is set to be home to Korongee village, a residential facility designed to recreate real-life experiences for people with dementia.
The new facility will have 15 six-bedroom homes set within a small town design featuring streets, a supermarket, cinema, café and gardens, where residents can wander freely within a safe and supported environment.
The development of Korongee village is a partnership between not-for-profit aged care provider Glenview, industry superannuation fund HESTA, social financing organisation Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and the Commonwealth Government.
The village concept draws on several international best-practice models and particularly the dementia village of De Hogeweyk in the Netherlands while offering a Tasmanian experience, said Glenview CEO Lucy O’Flaherty.
“It has been shown that residents at the De Hogeweyk dementia village live longer, eat better and take fewer medications and we hope to see similar transformative health benefits at Korongee,” Ms O’Flaherty said.
The design makes it possible for residents to walk around the village and participate in everyday life activities, such as going to the café to buy a coffee or to the supermarket to pick up groceries for dinner, she said.
Korongee’s houses will be staffed by casually-dressed health professionals while residents in each house will be matched by their backgrounds, experiences, interests and skills.
“A person who has worked as a tradesman all their life will most likely have a routine involving an early start and knocking off at 3pm,” said Ms O’Flaherty.
“Alternatively, at the other end of the spectrum artists or creative folk who may rise later and have later evenings and weekends that are highly social – two lifestyles not necessarily conducive to each other.”
The homes will free of institutional routines with residents free to wake up and move about in their own time or make themselves a piece of toast in the middle of the night if they wish, Ms O’Flaherty said.
A pilot for aged care investment
HESTA has contributed $19 million to the project through its $30 million Social Impact Investment Trust, which is managed by SVA and aims to invest in projects that deliver both a financial and social return.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said this investment would help provide a world-class facility for the local community and benefit members by earning a return.
It also pilots a model for investing in aged care that could attract other large investors, she said.
“We heard about the great work Glenview was doing and because HESTA has a specific focus on identifying investment opportunities in our sector we were able to explore how we could support this fantastic project,” Ms Blakey said.
SVA CEO Rob Koczkar said partnerships like Korongee showed what could be achieved when the skills and experience of different sectors came together.
He said a transaction of this scale was exciting for the impact investment market in Australia and showed there were significant opportunities to put institutional capital towards social sector projects.
Construction is planned to commence in early 2018 and be completed mid to late 2019.
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