A North East health service wants to create an alternative residential model that better unites older people with their community.
Yackandandah Health’s vision for the land behind its existing buildings includes small homes built to be sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Chief executive Annette Nuck said the service didn’t want a village that was age exclusive.
“Too much is lost when we segregate the ages,” she told a Yackandandah forum last week.
“Children need the wisdom of the elders and older people need the energy and imagination of the young.”
Ms Nuck said ideas for the pilot program included no fences, shared front and back yards and shared gardening equipment and services.
“Do we all really need a lawn mower and a wheelbarrow, do we all need a built-in barbeque and pizza oven?” she asked.
“We want to move the cars aside – half a house should not be reserved for cars.
“One really good vegie garden and one really good kids’ play area.
“Trees and open spaces can be larger because they are shared. People are happier because they are talking and co-operating.”
Ms Nuck said Yackandandah Health could plan such projects because it was an independent, community-owned organisation.
“This is not a pipe dream,” she said.
Melbourne-based urban designer Andy Fergus, who also attended the forum, told The Border Mail accommodating an ageing population required creative thinking.
“If we put them out of town on blocks of land, they’re not contributing anything, they become a burden, both to themselves psychologically and to the town,” he said.
“If we put them in the town and we have them investing and spending their time in the town, they’re the most incredible asset.
“That’s people who are around during the day, walking, talking, watching our streets, spending time on our streets.
“The aged care project is all about how do we flip from a model of building retirement villages … to building villages that have people of all ages living together.”