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Elevating retirement village health care

Published Jun 1, 2021


As demand within the retirement property market increases, so does the competition.

Retirees are prioritising independent living which supports their evolving needs as they grow older, and this was evident to Helen Seaman and her team at

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in Constantia.

“While our clients seek a retirement village that matches their needs and budget, it is ultimately the health-care services on offer that drives a purchase. Frail care, home-based care and memory care are three different, but equally important and complementary, services within a retirement village setting.”

The team, therefore, always encourages retirees to do a “deep-dive” into the facilities on their shortlists. “After all, the design elements and health-care principles that support these three levels of care have a direct impact on a resident’s long-term well-being.”

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Great Oaks has been designed to “do more than just tick all the basic health-care boxes”, and Seaman believes that the inclusion of finer details in all areas of retirement village life has been “crucial” to converting an interested party into a buyer.

Other primary medical-care services include on-site doctors’ and nurses’ consulting rooms for day-to-day medical needs and physio and hydrotherapy facilities with advanced features like hoists for residents with mobility issues.

In addition, the Great Oaks care team facilitates medical aid authorisations on behalf of residents.

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“Our clients want to spend their valuable time on the things they want and like to do, and not on humdrum daily chores and maintenance,” says Seaman, adding: “That is why our multi-disciplinary approach in caring for our residents, regardless of their medical needs, is within the Great Oaks DNA.”

Great Oaks Retirement Village is scheduled for occupancy in mid-2023. Limited cottages and apartments are still available. Visit

or call 073 119 9999 for more information.

Thoughtfully designed frail care

Great Oaks elevates its on-site frail-care facilities by offering private and furnished en suite bedrooms, including

• A central nurse’s station that is conveniently close to all patients.

• Garden access from some of the rooms.

• Easy and limitless access for spouses to their loved ones in frail care.

Customisable home-based care

The Great Oaks “Age-in-Place” philosophy supports independent living and home-based care while continuously adapting to residents’ needs, with features including

• Removable counter panels and modules for better wheelchair fit under counters, sinks and work areas.

• Ample wheelchair space next to toilets, doors and inside garages to enable accessibility.

• Screens that allow carers to assist residents in the shower without getting wet.

• Lower door handles and light switches and higher plug points

• Level access throughout the unit

• Wheelchair turning circles throughout, including bathrooms. Great Oak’s Helen Seaman notes: “Our design elements go further than the standard grip rails and every design and fitting enables you to lead an independent life.”

Holistic memory care

Memory care is offered by many retirement villages but it is the unique design of Great Oaks’s memory care facility, coupled with the development team’s collaboration with a respected neuro-architect who understands the finer nuances of effective and sustainable therapeutic interventions, that makes the retirement village unique.

Interventions include:

• Ensuring a resident can see the toilet from their bedroom to make a visual connection without having to remember where the bathroom is.

• Strategic positioning of bathroom mirrors to not confuse residents living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

• Memory boards, bright colours, names and photographs at room entrances for easy recognition by residents.

• Colourful plates to improve a resident’s appetite and ability to recognise food

• The elimination of dark colours or patterns in flooring and furniture which can be seen as holes or obstacles.

• Elements that improve mental stimulation, including “caring” for dolls in prams, stroking stuffed animals, picking flowers, planting herbs and feeding birds.

• Walkways designed to ensure residents don’t get lost.

• A Snoezelen multi-sensory room to calm and reduce patient agitation through the use of soothing sound and fibre-optic light.

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