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Reimagining retirement living

Average life expectancy is increasing and so too are the options for how we choose to live in later years

6 September 2019

The next Senior Housing Think Tank focuses on the changing face of retirement living. The presentation age of men and women entering retirement villages is now between 75 and 80 years — meaning they’re living at home for longer. According to Peddle Thorp’s Senior Executive – Emerging Markets, Peter Gardiner, the best way to design for an ageing population is to apply leading edge apartment design backed by relevant research.


“In order to evolve the design of senior housing, we really need to connect with people as they age — rather than solely observing those who have already aged,” Peter says. “To be clear, we can only understand the needs of people who are ageing by considering their lives holistically.” For example, some people relish remaining in their own homes and staying connected to their communities. Therefore, they may prefer to access local amenities such as pools, libraries and churches, rather than living in a retirement village where those facilities can be accessed in-house.


For other real-estate savvy retirees, downsizing to an apartment — in a location where property prices look set to increase — may be both a financial and practical solution. Peter supports thoughtful apartment design that addresses the needs of these ageing residents. “Design details such as an en-suite easily accessed by dual bedrooms can be the ideal apartment layout for a couple who sleep separately due to disturbed sleep patterns,” Peter explains. 


Peter’s colleague, Caroline Yuen, Peddle Thorp’s Senior Executive — Interior Architecture, shares his sensitive approach to senior-housing design. “I recently attended an international dementia design course that provided me with a very good understanding of the challenges faced by these retirees,” Caroline says. “During one session, we donned vaseline-smeared glasses and were asked to navigate our way through external pathways and avoid the road. Luckily, we were partnered with a fellow workshop attendee to help us. It was a very humbling and confronting experience.”

Combined, Peter and Caroline have extensive experience in both healthcare and high-end residential design. “We are well placed to address both the needs of service providers and residents,” Peter says.   


Peddle Thorps’ next Senior Housing Think Tank, ‘Growing the Organic Urban Village’ will take place at our offices on Thursday 12 September. Peter and Caroline will be joined by a panel of experts including Heather Browne from Australian Affordable Housing Securities and George Giannes from BlueCHP.


Like to find out more about our approach to senior-housing design? Email or phone (07) 3811 9549.