Ryman Healthcare has added a five level apartment complex to the Nellie Melba Retirement Village, in Melbourne’s south east Wheelers Hill.
With the new structure, Mimi, the facility becomes the largest in Australia to adopt the continuum of care model, which mixes independent retirement living units, assisted living serviced apartments and a low, high and specialist care complex.
Premier Daniel Andrews, also the member for Mulgrave, with Ryman’s local chief executive officer, Cameron Holland, cut the ribbon to open the latest building, with 41 apartments, last Friday.
The New Zealand listed aged care provider paid $47.5 million for the 5.6 hectare block which made way for the village in 2014; it was formerly the Brandon Park Secondary College.
Elsewhere in the suburb, on Jells Road, Ryman operates the Weary Dunlop Retirement Village, which replaced a Best Western hotel and crayfish restaurant, Joseph’s, in 2014.
In the wider south east the group is also constructing a village at Highett – which will be named after later entertainer Bert Newton, and is set to start building one at Mulgrave, replacing the ex-St Mary’s Seminary opposite the old VFL Park.
Continuum of care
Ryman, which turns 40 next year, entered the Australian market 12 years ago – to date only investing in Victoria.
All its products adopt the continuum of care model, a relatively new concept here.
Following the opening of Mimi, the four year old Nellie Melba complex contains 256 independent living apartments, 85 assisted living units and a 190-bed aged care complex.
“It is a point of pride for us [in Victoria] to have such an innovation model – this ageing in place reimagined, the continuum of care – a stunning example of what’s possible if you support people in their local community and meet their needs and provide a pathway so that their needs, as they change, can be met,” Mr Andrews said.
“This business provides the most stunning example of that model of care and it only operates in the great state of Victoria,’” he added (story continues below).
“It is a stunning example of what can be achieved if you run a good business and at the centre of that business is a sense of purpose, good values and sense that your clients are part of your family,” according to the politician.
“The continuum of care model has been commonplace in New Zealand since it was pioneered by Ryman in the 1980s but is only in its infancy in Australia”.
The expansion of the Nellie Melba facility comes as Ryman partners with the University of Technology in Sydney for a study into the benefits of the model.
“Embracing an integrated approach to the delivery of aged care was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety,” UTS Professor David Brown said.
“Older people in Australia and their carers have great difficulty navigating their way along the care and ageing journey,” he added.
“This is mostly due to the highly fragmented nature of the aged care system and the complexity of the aged care transition points such as retirement living to residential aged care, which often occur in a time of crisis,” according to the executive.
“This situation makes for an often costly and traumatic experience”.
Mr Holland added Ryman residents “have the peace of mind knowing that if their health needs change they can be looked after right where they are”.
“While the benefits of the continuum of care villages are obvious, we’re really excited that UTS will be doing a rigorous analysis of how they can positively impact an individual’s health and wellbeing,” he said.
The next project on the aged care provider’s book is Mt Eliza’s Moondah estate, set to be repurposed with 104 apartments, 27 assisted living units and a 60 bed care complex.
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