Apartments open with a message

It’s the conversation no-one wants to have – moving into a rest home – but having it with family sooner rather than later makes life better for everyone.

Cambridge Resthaven chief executive David Hall has been in the retirement industry for more than two decades and has seen some epic family fall outs through lack of communication.

“It becomes a tough talk for families,” he told The News at the karakia for the charitable trust’s new $18.5 million supportive living apartments on Monday.

Open for business, one of the apartments has a stunning view of Maungatautari. In front of it, from left Livingstone Building project manager Samantha Blanken, Resthaven chair Greg Liddy, Chibnall Buckell Team Architects’ Dominic Buckell, Octa project manager Scott McVicar-Lukey and Resthaven CEO David Hall on the balcony. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

Ngāti Koroki Kahukura’s Harry Wilson banished the bad spirits from the building during the karakia. New residents start moving in later this week.

“I’ve developed a feeling that the people who do it earlier and have quite open and meaningful conversations with their families, do that much better because they’re not coming (to us) in crisis,” said Hall.

“The ones who come in in crisis, invariably don’t work out.”

They feel they are being forced, by life and their families, into a rest home when they want to stay in their own homes.

And that is never a good experience for anyone, he said.

Planning for the supportive living apartments began seven years ago but Covid thwarted progress on the extensive project.

People viewing the apartments have asked about car parking space.

“But as we point out to them, if you’re still driving, you may not be the clientele we’re after.”

It is for people who do not need rest home care yet but are just starting to need support.

“That is our target audience.”

Three balloons made an unscripted fly over Cambridge Resthaven during the karakia. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

The apartments are ready for adaptions, such as the installation of hoists.

“They’re not there now but they’re there for down the track.

“They (residents) will come in to their own homes and stay. We’re not going to move them into a care centre. We were always adamant about their model of care and keep that independence as much as we can.”

Access to two electric cars for those that still do drive and to mobility scooters for others is built into the service fee.

Most of the enquiries for the apartments have come from within Cambridge which Hall said was good for the community given Resthaven’s 52-year history.

Stage one includes 33 apartments, a café, dining room, lounge and a corner shop.

The first building is named the Hanlin Building, recognising the generous contribution by the Hanlin sisters in the late 1960s which helped establish Resthaven.

The Resthaven board decided to include two rental studios in the design. The News understands they have already attracted interest from residents whose tenancy at the nearby Swedish-owned retirement giant Metlifecare’s St Andrew’s Village is ending.

See: Four residents find new homes

After the karakia on one of the apartment balconies looking towards Maungatautari. Back row, from left: Jeff Simpson, Independent Living Manager, Cambridge Resthaven, Harry Wilson, Ngāti Koroki Kahukura , Jon Broadley, Strategy+ Ltd, Dean Burdett, Chibnall Buckell Team Architects, Dominic Buckell, Chibnall Buckell Team Architects, Samantha Blanken, Project Manager, Livingstone Building Ltd, Mia Sonntag, OCTA Project Management.
Front row: Fabian Neuhauser, Senior Quantity Surveyor, ECS Group, Greg Liddy, Chair Cambridge Resthaven Trust Board, Scott McVicar-Lukey, OCTA Project Management. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

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