As many in our community are aware, aged care in Australia is moving towards a model that enables more people to ‘age in place’ through the provision of Independent Living Units (ILUs) and ‘Home Care’. This change means that people are spending less time in nursing homes, and more time in their own home as they age and their care and support needs increase.
Scalabrini is responding to this by planning to internally reconfigure and refurbish the existing buildings on site. Rather than providing mostly nursing home beds, as the site did previously, the buildings will instead focus on Independent Living Units including the provision of support services, as required by its residents as they age in place.
This project will mean that Scalabrini can deliver a genuine ‘continuum of care’ in a more contemporary and integrated way resulting in a situation that once a person moves in, they do not need to leave in order to receive the care and support that they may require. The delivery of ILUs meets the lifestyle preferences of older residents who may have retired and are looking for a smaller home but want to stay within their existing community.
There are no plans to change the overall size of these two buildings. The changes to the buildings involve internal alterations and minor changes and improvements to the external facades.
More than one in five residents in the City of Canada Bay are aged 60 years or older. Forecasts indicate that in the 10 years between 2021 and 2031, the proportion of the population at retirement age will increase by 27.5%.
At the same time, research by the Royal Commission into Aged Quality and Safety demonstrated that 92% of older Australians (not currently receiving support and care) indicated a preference to remain in their current home or move into a smaller place when the time came to receive support.
Older Australians are receiving more care at home, rather than entering traditional RAC facilities (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022).
A higher proportion of ILUs will enable residents to be more independent and will therefore help residents stay active and engaged. Scalabrini believes that these changes will enhance wellbeing and a sense of security and confidence for residents of Scalabrini Village.
Furthermore, the site’s proximity to public transport, shops, services, Balmain Hospital and other important social infrastructure will mean that our residents will be able to maintain their independence as they age.
Transitioning away from the traditional nursing home operational model means the proposal will accommodate significantly less staff, as well as less residents, than existed on the site in its original operation.
As the proposed changes to buildings are mostly internal, Scalabrini anticipates that any impacts associated with the proposed changes will be minimal.
Once the works and refurbishment are complete and the site is again operational, there will be less traffic. This is because ILUs require fewer staff members to attend the site, resulting in less traffic and parking impacts on neighbours. The proposal also includes an additional 32 parking spaces for residents, staff and visitors (meaning a total of over 60 parking spaces on site will be provided) which more than meets Council’s requirements. The removal of the nursing home also means that there will no longer be large scale deliveries to provide food and material to the site.
The site was first developed by The Little Sisters of the Poor in 1956. The site originally comprised a church building, with nursing home accommodation built in two wings around 1956.
After being acquired by Scalabrini in 1999, further additions were made to the buildings, above the church, in order to join the floors above.
The ‘Piacenza’ building was constructed in the 1970s as a 50-bed hostel. In 2007, Scalabrini converted it to 25 ILUs including underground carparking.