Retirement village developer addresses needs of older women

An Elements Third Age Living managing director has been recognised for identifying the issues faced by older residents that have often been overlooked by male developers.

Managing director of the Elements Third Age Living development, Springwood (Queensland), Chiou See Anderson.

Retirement village developer, Chiou See Anderson, has been honoured with a Women in Development Excellence Award by the Urban Development Institute of Australia for her efforts to specifically address the often neglected needs of older, female residents.

The unsuspecting managing director of the Elements Third Age Living development, Springwood was presented with a Rising Star Award for Outstanding Achievement by a woman in Project Management at a recent ceremony.

The award recognised Ms Anderson’s work in the field and paid tribute to her ability to identify the design and liveability issues faced by older women that have often been overlooked by male developers.

“Statistically, 70 per cent of the people living in retirement villages are women and there are very few single men,” said Ms Anderson.

“I think we live differently to the way men do, especially the way we use the bathroom and put away our toiletries…This is something that [developers] haven’t yet addressed.”

Ms Anderson said that the most common grievance that female residents had was about the lack of space in their retirement village home, be it storage space or insufficient room in the kitchen and bathroom.

Passionate about challenging the male-inspired model of a retirement village, Ms Anderson pushed the boundaries of concept, development and design with the recent, 117-home development in Queensland.

“I believe that as a woman I am able to identify and address certain design and liveability issues that are often overlooked by men. In our design we considered all the basic features such as extra storage in the bathrooms, kitchen layout and functionality and direct access from the laundry to the washing line.”

Each home will be single-storey and feature generous bedrooms, living, dining and kitchen areas, modern bathrooms and wheelchair accessible garages.

The complex will include a Zen garden and a community centre with a games and craft room, workshop, outdoor heated pool, indoor spa, gym, tai chi deck, massage room and a beauty salon. The Springwood village will also boast an organic garden with chickens, vegetables and worm farms. With the first 16 units underway, the final product is due to be complete within four years.

Ms Anderson said that despite prevailing perceptions, the building industry does cater for females as the working hours are flexible and complement school holidays.

She reasoned that the complex funding arrangements and large amount of capital required to start a retirement living project is what deters solo women and new developers from entering the market, although it is this same fact that actually attracts men and experienced private property developers to the industry.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of industry people and no one has ever come forward and said that there are solo female developers who have taken on a retirement village project in their own right.

“It’s something that our industry needs more of and I would like to encourage more women to go into this market.”

Tags: age, aged, australia, care, development, elements, institute, living, of, retirement, third, urban, villages,

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