Melville - the city where an elder life is a better life

rethink sustainability

Melville - the city where an elder life is a better life

Melville in Australia is a city of the elderly. One in every four people is over the age of 60 and it has the second highest level of dementia in Western Australia. By 2020, the older population is expected to rise to 29,400, almost one third of all residents.

For the last 10 years, the local authorities have worked to enhance the care of the elderly and in 2007, it became one of the first cities in Western Australia to adopt the principles of the World Health Organisation's Age Friendly Cities Project, which focuses on 'healthy ageing' and the idea that older adults need to feel they play a central part in their community. To achieve this, according to the project, older people should have transport and housing suitable for them, be able to make their own decisions, be mobile and contribute to the society around them. By developing this sustainable infrastructure, Melville is ensuring that they create an environment that this demographic will thrive in.

Melville became one of the first cities in Western Australia to adopt the principles of the World Health Organisation's Age Friendly Cities Project, which focuses on 'healthy ageing' and the idea that older adults need to feel they play a central part in their community.

Today, Melville is in its fourth stage of its Age Friendly Strategic Plan, where the city has used surveys, online forums, and workshops to connect with their ageing residents and learn what needs to be done to make it a comfortable place to live in. Amongst the numerous initiatives has been the creation of the Age Friendly Melville Services Directory, which provides elderly residents with an easy to use tool to navigate through the hundreds of programs and resources available to them.


Building blocks

Maintaining the fitness of older residents formed the genesis of the Fit for Life initiative which was developed to promote a healthy, active lifestyle for those over 65, connecting them with activities that are available throughout the community - dance classes, tai chi, lawn bowling, swimming, tennis, and Prime Movers, a low impact aerobic class, amongst many others.

Housing had been a recurring problem for many of those over the age of 65. Although there was both financial support and housing alternatives available, many said the various options were confusing. As a result, the local government developed the Housing Decision ToolKit for Older People, a step-by-step guide that helps residents write and review the pros and cons of the options available to them. In addition, the residents expressed a need for innovative housing and accommodation solutions for those over the age of 55 - presenting an opportunity for investors who are looking at expanding their real estate portfolio.

[Some older people] expressed a need for innovative housing and accommodation solutions for those over the age of 55 - presenting an opportunity for investors who are looking at expanding their real estate portfolio.

Making shopping simpler

One of the most remarkable changes was to everyday shopping. Many said that shops did not have the tools to help them with what they needed - concerns which resulted in the conversion of the Garden City Shopping Centre to the Age Friendly Garden Centre Shopping Centre. The shopping centre installed large print customer directories, wheelchair and scooter rental and additional seating so the shoppers could rest their legs. The Melville Age Friendly Accessible Business Network was also formed to provide training to retailers on the needs of the elderly, including those that are disabled and with dementia.

Making Memories

The Memory Café was inspired by the story of Ardoss couple Keith and Wendy Glaze, who told of their difficulties of shopping with dementia. Euro Lumb, the owner of Coffea Fine Espresso, aimed to create a safe, welcoming space and trained his front-line staff on how to interact with those living with dementia. The Memory Cafe, a monthly gathering for families and carers with dementia, was created to provide a place where those with dementia would feel welcome.

Now celebrating its second anniversary, the café has influenced others in Western Australia to roll out their own 'Memory Cafes' in their community. A total of 13 now exist across Western Australia. The demand for these types of cafes continues to grow both nationally and internationally presenting an investment opportunity for entrepreneurs.

The Memory Cafe, a monthly gathering for families and carers with dementia, was created to provide a place where those with dementia would feel welcome…The demand for these types of cafes continues to grow both nationally and internationally presenting an investment opportunity for entrepreneurs.

An investor's opportunity

With ample time on their hands, retirees are seeking opportunities to remain socially and financially engaged. “They want an environment where there is no stigmatisation around age, and there is the ability to reinvent oneself through leisure," say Deanne Simpson, author of Young-Old: Urban Utopias of an Aging Society. For investors, this presents opportunities - this is a demographic that is actively spending its money.

With ample time on their hands, retirees are seeking opportunities to remain socially and financially engaged…For investors, this presents opportunities - this is a demographic that is actively spending its money.

Leisure activities loved by the older generation - golf and yoga amongst others - as well as wellness-based pursuits such as going to the spa are the most obvious avenues for growth in areas such as Melville. Another growing area attracting investment in recent years has been in the technologies associated with elderly care. As populations grow in age, technology has been quick to come up with solutions to help them deal with their changes in health, from apps such as Pillbox, which remains people when to take their medication, to investing in pharma companies developing drugs specifically to deal with the ailments associated with that market.

As populations grow in age; technology has been quick to come up with solutions…such as Pillbox, which reminds people when to take their medication, to investing in pharma companies developing drugs specifically to deal with the ailments associated with that market.

In Melville, investors have also seen opportunities in commercial developments planned to deal with the shifting demographics. A plan for the development of the city highlights the need for higher density residential developments for older people, which would have facilities specifically for their needs.

Over the coming years, the city expects to continue to develop into a place where the elderly are not perceived as a burden, but instead are active, valued members of their community.

Input leads to results

It is the continued input and engagement from elderly residents that means Melville continues to be a model in how to develop a society for older people. Over the coming years, the city expects to continue to develop into a place where the elderly are not perceived as a burden, but instead are active, valued members of their community.

And with that, the sustainable business framework of Melville presents an opportunity for investors who are seeking a stable, reliable, demographic they can grow with.


Wichtige Hinweise.

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