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Keeping older people in our cities

Keeping older people in our cities

International day of older persons: 1 October 2015

“With rapidly growing numbers of older people living in urban areas, countries around the world are being faced with the challenge of providing sustainable living options for this significant demographic.

This is a hot topic worldwide, with a United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development for Older Persons to be held in 2016. The Conference will focus on the impact of the new urban environment on older persons, and the impact of older persons on the new urban environment.

Already, the move of people worldwide to cities is happening at a record pace, with six out of every 10 people in the world expected to reside in urban areas by 2030. Consistent with the phenomenon of urbanisation, the number of older persons is increasing most rapidly in urban areas of developing countries. The combined effect of both phenomena means that the number of people over 60 living in cities may grow to over 900 million by 2050 – making up a quarter of the total urban population in developing countries.

Metlifecare is one of New Zealand’s leading retirement living providers. The company is committed to providing quality retirement living options and is focused on developing new villages, particularly in urban areas where growth and demand is strongest.

In New Zealand, the drive towards urbanisation is felt most strongly in Auckland, where the demand for housing is outstripping supply. With Auckland’s 65-year-old plus population projected to double over the next 20 years, Metlifecare is meeting local needs with the opening of two new villages on the North Shore in 2015: The Orchards in Glenfield and Greenwich Gardens in Unsworth Heights.

Metlifecare CEO, Alan Edwards says both villages offer a quality retirement living lifestyle for residents and also offer benefits for the wider communities.

The building of the villages helps create diverse, inclusive neighbourhoods with young families moving into homes as older people sell up and move into a local retirement village. Jobs are also created with each new village, ranging from care workers to maintenance and management roles.

Both villages will offer a full continuum of care, from independent living through to hospital level care, ensuring that residents can stay in their village and access greater support if and when needed.

Metlifecare is also very aware of the environmental impact of their villages on the well-being and comfort of their residents with both villages achieving a Homestar Design Rating of 6, denoting a higher level of efficiency and sustainability than a standard New Zealand home. Design features include solar water heating, a recycling and composting system for residents, energy efficient heating and double glazing. This means residents enjoy efficiency, savings and comfort in their new homes.

“Opening these two new villages in Auckland’s North Shore is reflective of Metlifecare’s growth strategy,” says Edwards, “We’re committed to providing quality retirement care in prime locations where there is a need. The North Shore has one of the fastest growing elder populations in New Zealand; we’re responding to that need.”

The opening of The Orchards and Greenwich Gardens takes Metlifecare’s portfolio up to 25 villages. The company has two further Auckland villages in the pipeline, following conditional land acquisitions in Red Beach and Manurewa, with a total Metlifecare development pipeline of over 2,000 units and beds.

“We’re actively growing our network of villages to meet demand as we look to build desirable villages; it’s about providing attractive housing options for older people to stay in their communities, with villages designed to suit their local environment and community needs,” says Edwards.

Introduced by the United Nations 25 years ago, the purpose of the International Day of Older Persons is to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century.


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