Vicki is caring for her partner, Michael, who is living with younger onset dementia. Life has changed considerably for them over the past 7 years with a significant loss in income and increasing social isolation. The future is unpredictable and further complicated by the rollout of the NDIS and changes to My Aged Care, as well as the difficulty in accessing respite care. Moreover, findings arising for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety are concerning. Their challenge: to make the most of the living years that remain with the least impact.
The search for affordable care and living options to meet their changing needs over time has led to the concept of a small scale ‘pocket neighbourhood’ to enable people living with dementia to be supported by and stay connected to their peers and community for as long as possible. A place where deliberate design creates built form, shared spaces and the social infrastructure to balance freedom and security as well as stimulating and nurturing experiences. With the inclusion of an onsite support coordinator, this concept seeks to create the optimal environment to deliver and receive personalised care, thus avoiding the prospect of institutional care. It provides an innovative and dignified lifestyle option with the added social, economic and environmental benefits.