DESIGNS FOR LIFE: Retirement living designer Marcia James Robertson.
DESIGNS FOR LIFE: Retirement living designer Marcia James Robertson.

Retirement living designed with boomers in mind

RETIREMENT living providers have been building the same offering for so long they don't realise baby boomers want something completely different, experienced designer 78-year-old Marcia James Robertson says.

"Retirees want so much more than a room," Ms James Robertson said.

"They want a library, a coffee shop, somewhere to exercise and stylish communal areas to entertain and socialise."

As a designer for Lutheran Services, which recently launched the $30million Swiss-inspired retirement living project Alondra Residences at Nundah, Ms James Robertson is well suited to designing the perfect development for fellow retirees.

"The main thing I've noticed is that no matter the walk of life, retirees are still prone to loneliness," she said.

"Developments that fail to include community spaces in their designs can have a profound impact on residents and contribute to feelings of isolation. Alondra is designed for social connectedness and warm communication with residents."

The 52-apartment Alondra Residences retirement living community has been designed around the key retirement trends of 2019, including nature-inspired design, pet-friendly accommodation and a focus on lifestyle.

"Some architects design buildings without understanding the markets they are building for and without thinking about whether it is practical," Ms James Robertson said.

"However many architects are specialising in aged care design and are doing an excellent job.

"Alondra was designed by BVN Architects, who are very in tune and forward-thinking for the sector. We worked with them closely to create the ideal community for future residents."

Lutheran Services interim chief executive John De Angelis said they had conducted extensive research into what baby boomers wanted from retirement living and combined the findings with inspiration from award-winning communities across Switzerland.

"Every element of the design has been chosen with our future residents in mind, from the 3400 plants, which will promote natural airflow and generate stress-relieving effects, to the concierge service that will curate a daily calendar of activity around our residents' interests," Mr De Angelis said.

Along with a warm community feel, shops nearby, transport and an affordable price, which essentials does Ms James Robertson look for in retirement living?

"Personally, I look for quality, style, nice high ceiling, space to garden, somewhere close to amenities and a good book club," she said.


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