Rethinking Aged Care

We know that our population is ageing; we know that Perth could have more than a million people aged over 65 by 2050, so where will they all live?


If asked to think of a place where our ageing population live, you may conjure up images of sterile hallways stretching as far as the eye can see, gurneys in corridors and dimly lit common areas replete with jigsaw puzzles and books missing final pieces and vital pages.


It is unlikely that you would immediately think of plush carpets, wide bay windows, stylish furnishings and the sort of glamour that would attract the world’s rich and famous.



So, when we recently visited The Richardson, the latest addition to Oryx Communities‘ aged-care facilities, we had to remind ourselves that we weren’t walking through the luxury hotel that the building once was.


In our past work with Oryx Communities, they have shown a deep understanding of the importance of community engagement and the person-first approach that is so important for creating excellent aged care facilities.



You could be forgiven for expecting to turn a corner and see one of the many A-list celebrities who graced The Richardson Hotel to experience the five-star amenities and comfort. As the first hotel-to-aged care facility transformation in Australia, The Richardson sets a standard for aged care in our country and presents a new way of approaching the issue of an ageing population.



We humans have always been caring creatures. A human skeleton recently discovered by archaeologists was dated back 50,000 years and found to have belonged to an elderly and disabled man who would have had trouble just walking, let alone any other activities.


To live to old age in his condition would have required support from others in his group, suggesting the core trait of empathy for our ageing population is hardly a new development.


However, aged care facilities (or ‘nursing homes’ as they were then called) in the past tended to focus on the health and medical amenities available to residents (who seem to have been seen as patients instead of individuals living at the facility) often at the cost of a sense of community.


Whether due to budgets or philosophies of the time, the hospital-style design of many aged care facilities became the norm and, although offering a place for the elderly to retreat to in their later years, began to develop a stigma that would be hard to shake.



The design of The Richardson reflects none of this. As a hotel, the building was world-renowned. As an aged-care facility, it looks to be heading in the same direction.


Oryx invested time and money into understanding the optimal living conditions and environmental factors to ensure the wellbeing of its potential residents. The transformation of the hotel was planned, discussed and refined.


The former penthouse suite, once a temporary home to Oprah, Pink and the Rolling Stones, is now an open plan communal hub for all residents to come together, talk, watch television and eat.


The old gymnasium is now a lounge room where residents can relax with their visiting family. Where the Roles Royce’s were once parked outside, a manicured garden and contemporary outdoor entertainment venue await its future shared experiences.



The former penthouse suite, once a temporary home to Oprah, Pink and the Rolling Stones, is now an open plan communal hub for all residents to come together, talk, watch television and eat.



With widened doorways and spacious walkways, The Richardson feels open and welcoming. This inviting and elegant design stems from an educated understanding of what is needed for our society as we age.


Feelings of loneliness and isolation are increasingly reported by elderly people in our communities. Here it would be difficult to find yourself feeling anything but included as you live a life amongst friends and family in gathering spaces and communal areas.


Being part of a thriving and connected community is important to people of all ages. Oryx Communities are among a handful of aged care providers in Perth who have embraced the potential for our ageing population and are offering carefully considered solutions.


Stay tuned for more examples and stories about how aged care is changing and evolving in Australia.