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Copyright Natural Habitats 2016
 

GREEN FOR THE GREY

GREEN FOR THE GREY

retire

As a general rule of thumb, if something’s happening in Hawera, it’s probably happening throughout New Zealand. So when the biggest aged care facility in Hawera gets a $1.3m expansion, as stage one of a three-stage development, it’s fairly safe to say there’s a bigger trend afoot.

30 may or may not be the new 20, but grey is definitely the new black. Put another way, as a society, we’re getting older. Yes we’re slowly but surely winning the war on all things that can hurt us, for example, polio, tuberculosis, and pirates are not the killers they once were. However this creates a problem, it’s a good problem, but a problem nonetheless. What do we do with our elderly?

As a general rule of thumb, if something’s happening in Hawera, it’s probably happening throughout New Zealand. So when the biggest aged care facility in Hawera gets a $1.3m expansion, as stage one of a three-stage development, it’s fairly safe to say there’s a bigger trend afoot.

30 may or may not be the new 20, but grey is definitely the new black. Put another way, as a society, we’re getting older. Yes we’re slowly but surely winning the war on all things that can hurt us, for example, polio, tuberculosis, and pirates are not the killers they once were. However this creates a problem, it’s a good problem, but a problem nonetheless. What do we do with our elderly?

In eastern societies, looking after the elderly in your family is a very personal matter, whereas in the west, we’ve once again shown our predisposition for outsourcing, and created the ever-popular retirement village. Naturally there are pros and cons of both, but what is important, particularly for a retirement village, is creating the right environment, where elderly people can feel safe, secure and relaxed.

In the previous post, we examined biophilia and the importance of a connection to the living world for our psychological health. As we enter the twilight years of our life, our mobility declines and subsequently, our local environment, and our immediate surrounds take on significant importance. They simply must provide us the connection to nature we so crave.

At Natural Habitats we view designing and building outdoor environments for retirement villages as both a privilege and a responsibility. Our vision is to create spaces that are easily accessible, facilitate social interaction, and bring the vibrancy of life to residents everyday. Such features include:

• Generous open green spaces
• Vibrant seasonal colour
• Shade and fruiting trees
• Easily navigated walking tracks
• Private landscaped gardens
• Seating and picnic areas
• Bowling and pétanque

With the impending retirement of the baby boomers, this work takes on even greater importance and urgency. Currently we’re working on fourteen different retirement village projects, and for each one we apply the same uncompromising design philosophy. It seems only fitting that the baby boomers – a generation who created and experienced such profound change – should be amongst the first to experience it.