Aged Care: Using landscape design to promote health & activity

18 Nov 2015 | News

Arcadia has been working on designs for a number of specialist aged care and retirement developments, using our expertise to design landscapes that help promote an active lifestyle and maintain health.

It is becoming increasingly important to find cost-effective ways to encourage activity in our aging population. Studies are showing that landscapes that promote and encourage healthy behaviour, such as walking, can be a long-term, cost-efficient investment, when compared to programmed activities which may require ongoing costs and staff support as a continued service.

When designing for aging residents, Arcadia’s plans focus on easy access to the outdoors, as time outside has been shown to provide many health benefits, including improved sleeping patterns, reduced pain, improved mental health and even increased longevity.

Landscape features which have been found to increase the time spent outdoors for residents in aged care developments include:

  • Visual link to outdoor spaces when indoors
  • Views of birds and wildlife
  • The provision of round trip walkways

Our teams are currently designing a number of landscapes and open spaces in aged care projects, including HammondCare Cardiff; Circa Norwest and SummitCare. Each development has its own set of priorities, however they share a desire to use the landscape to promote health.

 HammondCare Cardiff

This development will accommodate 99 residents and 50 on-site staff members with special treatment services for dementia care and complex medical needs. Global best practice thinking in dementia care recognises that a familiar environment will help relieve anxiety and confusion for residents, so Arcadia has designed HammondCare Cardiff to recreate a typical Australian suburban environment. Landscape elements will include:

  • Individually landscaped spaces at the front of each residential facility, evoking the feeling of neighbourhood front gardens and making it easy for residents to recognise their home.
  • A central park, including a children’s playground for visitors, and an area with a cafe, local shops and services, will provide the social hub for the community,
  • A managed bush edge will give a visual connection with nature and a calming outlook away from other human activities.
  • The planting palette will include a species selection aimed to engage the senses through use of colour, texture and scent.

 Circa Norwest

Pedestrian access and circulation is key to the landscape for the Circa Norwest retirement community. The vision for Circa Norwest will encourage walking with the following landscape elements:

  • Multiple walkway systems which will allow residents and visitors to move easily through the community to access various open spaces.
  • A range of passive and active outdoor amenity including an alfresco café precinct, private communal gardens, the Community Hub, bowling green and sunning lawn
  • A boardwalk system circulating the lake, which will encourage walking, as well as providing viewing platforms and sloping lawns for picnics and recreation.
  • The detention lake will feature planting, designed to attract birdlife and to evoke a natural lake setting.

SummitCare Baulkham Hills

A number of private and communal courtyards areas provide opportunities for social and physical activities but also a place for solitude and relaxation. A ‘grand manor’ style entrance to the facility is enhanced via avenue plantings and flowering native and exotic shrub species:

  • Range of different outdoor spaces from large communal courtyards to rooftop terrace gardens.
  • Outdoor cinema set within a lush, tranquil setting of small canopy trees and shade tolerant understory plantings.
  • Quiet pockets of seating surrounded by flowering and leafy plants provide places for families and their loved ones to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Combination of native and exotic species aiding in reducing water usage, whilst also providing vibrant colours and scents.