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New housing concept set to open

Retirement Living Connectedness Community Independence Positive Ageing

Jasmine Grove at IRT Kanahooka has been designed to encourage participation, sharing and a sense of community, while offering residents their own private and secure homes.

10 September 2021
Future Jasmine Grove residents (left to right) Heather Waters, Robyn Oliver, Dianne Shiels and Jenny Hodge discussing furniture options and colour schemes for Jasmine Grove’s community room.
“It’s about creating a sense of community for older, single women, in a safe and supported environment."
Myra Basic
IRT Innovation Manager

It started with a vision – to support single, older women to live together in a collaborative housing precinct – and now it’s a reality.

Construction of IRT’s collaborative retirement housing precinct for women over 55, known as Jasmine Grove, will be ready for residents to start moving in from October 2021. Deposits have now been taken for all eight villas.

Jasmine Grove is part of the new retirement village Henry Brooks Estate at IRT Kanahooka, and provides a more affordable retirement living option for a group of eight single women.

Innovation Manager Myra Basic says the collaborative housing concept has been in the pipeline for several years as IRT had identified a need for this particular demographic.

“It’s about creating a sense of community for older, single women, in a safe and supported environment,” she says. “There are currently limited opportunities for single women.”

Robyn Oliver (left), a future Jasmine Grove resident, with Innovation Manager Myra Basic in the Jasmine Grove community building, discussing different activities and furniture options.

IRT CEO Patrick Reid says since announcing Jasmine Grove in September 2020, there have been more than 200 inquiries lodged by Illawarra women. “We’ve been encouraged by the level of interest expressed by prospective Jasmine Grove residents,” he says. “Offering a new choice for retired women living on their own that is purposefully designed to encourage social connection is really important to us as a community-owned not-for-profit organisation.”

Mr Reid explains that the concept is attractive to a growing number of women approaching retirement who see the value of living in a supportive community of women.

“We understand that senior women on their own sometimes have difficulty accessing appropriate retirement living options. Our aim with Jasmine Grove is to offer a new type of retirement living for women that is not only more affordable, but sustainable and connected.”

Prospective residents have taken part in a survey, been doing group activities and meeting with IRT staff to help them decide if the community is the right fit for them. “It’s an important part of the process and it’s a two-way process,” Myra says. “The women who are looking to move in are also involved with many aspects of establishing the community – from developing and agreeing to a community charter, selecting furniture for the community room and establishing activities. The women have a say in how their community works.”

Partially funded by the Australian Government through the Building Better Regions Fund, Jasmine Grove has been designed to encourage participation, sharing and a sense of community, while offering residents their own private and secure homes.

Eight private one-bedroom fully self-contained villas are set around a community building featuring a large share kitchen, family-sized dining and lounge area. In the community building the residents can come together to prepare and share a meal or simply relax and chat. Outdoors will include a BBQ area, additional storage and shared vegetable garden and green space. Prospective residents are working together to collaborate on gardening activities, hobbies and arts and crafts.

The villas are pet-friendly and include a full kitchen, dining area, lounge room, laundry, bathroom, outdoor storage and parking space. Residents can also take full advantage of the Henry Brooks Estate amenities including the clubhouse, pizza oven, giant outdoor chessboard and extensive landscaped walkways. Jasmine Grove residents will also receive 50 hours of integrated IRT Home Care services within the first 12 months of residency.

To find out more about Jasmine Grove www.irt.org.au/jasminegrove.

A new home for Dianne

Dianne Shiels, 68, is looking forward to calling Jasmine Grove home.

Dianne, who is a retired school principal, has been considering her future living arrangements for some time now.

“I talked to a lot of my girlfriends about Jasmine Grove and they said ‘that sounds perfect for you’,” says Dianne. “It’s got the independence, connections and active lifestyle too. I think it’s a great concept and I think women socialise really well.”

Dianne is a widow and believes living in a community like Jasmine Grove helps to extend a person’s life. 

“You’re not lonely, you’ve got things to stimulate your brain and I like the fact the other ladies and I can plan stimulating activities together,” she says.

Dianne Shiels is moving into Jasmine Grove.

“Plus it’s a brand new villa.”

Dianne says in the past she has struggled to find a place to rent. “I had two dogs at the time. It’s also hard if you want to buy with body corporate rules.”

Moving in with Dianne is her 11-year-old dog Ariane. “She’s a Bichon Frise – I wanted to give her a French name to match her breed. I take her to my grandson’s school and everyone wants to pat her, she thinks she’s a queen.”

Dianne first learned about Jasmine Grove on Facebook. “I was looking at different retirement villages and there was a lot at the high end and that’s not what I’m after. What I like about Jasmine Grove is that you’ve got a modern design for one person.”

She describes herself as the type of person who is less materialistic and more practical. “It’s really important to focus on the people in your world. My home is my base, I think Jasmine Grove will be perfect for me.”

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