Opening of Opal Specialist Aged Care at Kawana Waters.Ken Hipwood is the first resident to move in.
Opening of Opal Specialist Aged Care at Kawana Waters.Ken Hipwood is the first resident to move in. Warren Lynam

Australian firsts for aged care on Coast

They have unveiled a new 151-bed residential aged care home boasting features never before seen on the Coast.

The $32 million facility will operate alongside the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and will employ more than 180 staff.

Opal Aged Care managing director Gary Barnier said the facility was a gateway to a new standard of care for the elderly.

"We want Australians to see aged care as part of their communities' health care system and not a one-way street," he said.

"Our innovation in services and lifestyle activities, along with our rehabilitation and physiotherapy services, focus on keeping our residents as active and healthy as possible."

Mr Barnier said while the facility boasted hotel-like features it also offered a homely feel for residents.

"If we don't offer a homely environment, we lose," he said.

"We find as a point of pride that regardless of the diagnosis each area has the same configuration."

 

Opening of Opal Specialist Aged Care at Kawana Waters.Managing Director Gary Barnier.
Opening of Opal Specialist Aged Care at Kawana Waters.Managing Director Gary Barnier. Warren Lynam

Innovative features of the new facility include companion cars, an aged care travel agency and virtual reality goggles for those unable to leave the home due to mobility.

Through Opal's educational partnership with Alzheimer's Australia, specialist dementia care will also be available to residents.

Alzheimer's Australia national president Graeme Samuel AC said innovative services providing support for people with dementia were crucial to help these people remain connected with their community.

"We need to provide the right training for staff caring for those living with dementia, which Opal has recognised," he said.

"The building is fantastic but the people providing the care is so much more important."

To cater for those living with dementia the facility offers a dedicated memory support unit, providing specialist care within a specially designed environment.

The facility will officially start moving its new residents in from 6 March, with one resident moving in each day to reduce stress for staff.

 

As well as this world class facility, Stockland is now in the process of creating a new construction for the aging Coast community right next door.

Stockland Retirement Living CEO Stephen Bull said once complete the precinct will be "world class" for the ageing community.

"It will be 140 Apartments, with a mixture of one, two and three bedroom configuration," he said.

"Effectively, it will be a retirement village but in an apartment style.

"If someone's partner needs to go into the aged care facility they can live close by."

Mr Bull said these apartments will be specially designed for people to age while still boasting a luxurious living option.

"Apart from all the usual type stuff like a pool and gym we're also looking at putting in a wellness centre," he said.

"Those services will also be provided to the broader community."

Mr Bull said the facility is still approximately 18 months away from completion.


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