Australia's first dementia village

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The $25 million village is a residential aged care facility designed to be home to 96 people living with dementia in Tasmania.

 

Korongee, an innovative village pioneering a new approach to caring for people living with dementia has opened in Tasmania.

 

The village has been developed through a partnership between HESTA, not-for-profit aged care provider, Glenview, and Social Ventures Australia (SVA). HESTA has invested $19 million through its Social Impact Investment Trust to finance Korongee. Investments in the Trust aim to earn a market-based return for members and achieve a measurable social impact.

 

Joel Brennan

An architect’s drawing depicting an aerial view of the village which accommodates up to 96 residents.

 

Dementia care needs

The opening of Korongee represents a significant milestone for dementia care in Australia and will help residents maintain a sense of self, home and community. “This world class facility is a huge step forward for dementia care in this country and puts Australia and Tasmania at the forefront of a global push to improve the quality of life of those living with dementia,” says HESTA CEO Debby Blakey.

 

Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians, and there are currently approximately 459,000 Australians living with dementia.

 

"There's an estimated 250 people per day joining the dementia population, and that number is expected to increase significantly into the future, so from our point of view we see tremendous demand for solutions like Korongee," says Debby.

  

Research-led design

The Korongee village design features 12 houses in four cul-de-sacs. Each house is a different colour with a uniquely painted door. There are memory boxes to showcase familiar items located outside each resident’s bedroom door. There’s also a community centre, gardens, a general store, café and wellness centre which have all been informed by extensive research on best practice models of dementia care.

 

The 96 residents of Korongee will live in households of eight as research shows small household living is familiar and more pleasant for people with dementia than traditional large aged care homes. Residents will be matched according to their values using a typology system developed by researchers at the University of Tasmania.

 

A commitment to investing with impact

HESTA launched the Impact Investing Trust with an initial $30 million in 2015, at the time one of the biggest single commitments by a superannuation fund to the Australian market.

 

HESTA has since grown its commitment to $70 million, with the Trust aiming to catalyse the development of the Australian impact investment market. HESTA has invested in a range of projects which focus on core social issues in Australia including social, affordable and disability housing and employment for those experiencing disadvantage. The Trust looks to encourage other institutional investors to make their own impact investments by demonstrating a proven track record of scalable investments.

 

“We hope our investment in important projects like Korongee encourages other large investors to contribute to Australia’s impact investment market,” says Debby.

 

“This will make a huge difference in how we address significant social challenges like dementia and also helps create jobs and opportunities for our members who work in health and community services,” says Debby.

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