Have you ever tried to shave your Dad?

Big name product companies are coming to their own senses by thinking more about the enormous numbers of Seniors and people with disabilities who need personal care. As society generally lives to an older age, critical demands on the health system and on carers abound as part of this equation. Products need to address doing things from the carers perspective as well being for the first-person. Here is a great example to help with what many Carers need to tackle on a daily basis.


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Let’s face it, minimum staffing ratios applied nationally for Residential Aged Care seem to now be a looming reality - despite the advantage of a more tailored and considered solution to staffing mix, and the associated cost increases are sure to hurt.  Now more than ever must we hunt down viable and long-term approaches to workforce cost reduction through other means.

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Have you ever thought that perhaps your building design might be detrimentally inefficient, or might actually support residents’ behavioural outcomes that absorb enormous amounts of time from your most beloved staff?  Grey Space Aged Care Architects Caroline, Lee and Sara have all witnessed a multitude of shocking examples of existing (and even some new) facility designs that in their very nature hinder staff efficiency and must be near impossible to operate on budget.  They have decided to collectively turn this insight and their professional training as Aged Care Planners and Architects into additional support services for their key clients.  By their dedication to designing and delivering successful Residential Aged Care solutions, they each bring a level of skill to projects that is more than just the typical architectural design process. Whilst working on a number of refurbishments, upgrades and repurposing projects the trio are applying their experience to physical environment audit services, to the benefit of all involved.

Caroline Treacy, Managing Director of Grey Space Architecture Plus, leads this initiative into audit services.  She is a Registered Architect in Qld and NSW with two degrees and a list of corporate positions as a Director, business executive, NFP Property Asset Chair, LHA assessor, board of architects examiner, project manager and creative designer – a busy yet balanced mix particularly hard to find. With a passion for financial viability, construction efficiency, customer and consumer focus and construction contracts, Caroline’s Residential Aged Care and Retirement Living design and project management experience has spanned 30 years with over 40 different industry projects prior to the establishment of Grey Space, and a balance of approximately 1,300 Beds and 1,300 separate Independent Living Units produced under Grey Space’s banner since.  She has patiently watched many challenges and various personalities come to and mostly leave the sector, and is one of the few architects who are experienced enough to make a successful difference to the progress and quality of Australia’s stock, as well as be a key advocate for the absolute need for better innovation and improved outcomes to the viability of the industry itself.

Should there be reason to query the efficiency of Care staff due to no fault of their own, a facility audit offers a way to establish avenues for further pursuit.  Fixed fee services typically include an audit, workshop and priorities recommendations, although scope can be tailored to suit specific organisational drivers such as Mission, Model of Care, Budgeting process, Committee approvals and already designated upgrade scopes or projects.

Residential Aged Care Providers are encouraged to seriously consider discussing the viability and value of an Architectural Design Audit – a great way to investigate sustainable opportunities for reduced workforce costs.

The Value of Home-like Residential Aged Care

An Australian study examining different residential aged care models revealed that ‘older people who are living in smaller home-like facilities experience better quality of life and are likely to have fewer hospital admissions’.

According to findings of this research, better quality of life for the residential aged care residents was provided without an increase in the running costs of facilities.

The research was funded by ‘the NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre (CDPC)’ and engaged 541 people living in 17 residential aged care facilities in four different states of Australia. The project engaged a high proportion of people with dementia. The findings are published in the ‘Medical Journal of Australia’, and also presented by Dr Suzanne Dyer at the ‘International Dementia Conference in Sydney’.

At Grey Space, our focus has always been on improving residents’ quality of life, health and wellbeing, while helping aged care providers to achieve better aged care models through design and planning. Providing a ‘HOME-LIKE ENVIRONMENT’ for residents, including those with Dementia, is one of the main aims we have at Grey Space when designing residential aged care facilities.

Have a look at the links below for the full article about the benefits of a ‘home-like aged care environment’ as well as some Grey Space residential aged care designs.


Design matters!!!

According to the World Health Organisation, by 2050, one fifth of the world's population will be 60 years and older.

We need to design inclusive environments for older people to support their active engagement in the society and maintain their health and wellbeing.

The design of seniors living developments play an important role in ageing well and improving the quality of life of people as they get older. Grey Space is committed to providing better living environments for older people through providing a wide range of design and consultancy services throughout Australia.

Watch out for this nice little video by WHO:


Dementia Awareness Month - what can you do?

September is Dementia Awareness Month.

Its aim is to encourage all Australians to become more aware of dementia, to gain a better understanding of what it is like to live with dementia, and how we can support people living with dementia.

This year’s theme is Small actions Big difference.

At Grey Space, we are consciously immersing some of our time and energy into learning - particularly around work that is going into tackling the Dementia epidemic - at both the cause and effect ends of this issue.  We try to truly understand our end-user, our market and the commitment and work that others are doing to help.

Last week Grey Space team visited the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research (CJCADR) at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), located in the University of Queensland, Saint Lucia Campus. Dr Fred Menier and his impressive team seek to best understand the neural circuits in the brain at an extremely detailed level. They investigate how the function of brain neural circuits results in behavioural outcomes, and how dysfunction of these circuits leads to disorders like dementia. The Centre at QBI was established in 2012 and is specially focused on research about dementia prevention and treatment.

Grey Space team’s constant engagement in learning and researching about dementia has a direct effect on our designs and our real value in innovation and evidence-centred advisory services. We are working to best understand the great work that is going on around us in relation to Dementia and people with Dementia, whilst seeking to then share and educate for a better outcome accordingly. 

Small actions, big difference - what can you do?



We read with tremendous support and concern, these well compiled and researched papers, led by the Australian Association of Gerontology. We are heartened by the recent focus on this issue given the demand and the lack of appropriate housing product designed for women in need. Australia needs to act quickly on this one, hidden well the many other plights of both homelessness and ageing.

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Please read, care and share - we particularly note the following Recommendations 5, 7 and 8 in relation to the responsibility of the Aged Care system in this process:

Recommendation 5: Include questions addressing housing and the risk of, or experience of, homelessness in the aged care assessment processes and provide appropriate pathways to Assistance with Care and Housing services for older people, as well as home care and residential aged care services tailored for people who have experienced homelessness.

Recommendation 7: Establish a capital pool to enable specialist aged care providers to build residential aged care facilities for older people who have experienced homelessness that is appropriate for their financial, wellness and health needs.

Recommendation 8: Review, increase and index the Homeless Supplement for residential aged care providers to meet the costs incurred by facilities in providing specialised services for older people who have experienced homelessness.

We then recommend developers and NFPs work together with us to present Government with development models that are worth backing, and we offer our informed design services accordingly.


Nothing comes easy in this space!

ACAR Applications Closing Soon

Grey Space have provided some of our most valued clients with Site Master Plan and Concept Designs for ACAR applications in the past with 100% funding success.  The 2018 round closes on 10th August.  Are you ready?

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Your funding application page could do with concept design planning background & detailed design input

Let Grey Space help

Symes Grove RACF Anglicare SQ - Project Update

A big thankyou to McNab Constructions for the tour of the soon-to-be released to market project that Grey Space have contributed to and collaborated with Anglicare and RPS project managers on at a detailed level.  It is a fantastic time to visit any new development but this one is very close to our hearts.  Anglicare SQ have been a fantastic client to work with and their commitment to care and innovation comes from the top.

Check out our sneak peek photos on our website project pages https://greyspace.com.au/taigum-1/



What Retirees Want

Grey Space is often called upon to recommend to our clients how best to position their product to reflect their brand to improve sales and be competitive in market in the future. So it was interesting when we came across the results of a recent survey by DoComeMonday. 

Source:  DoComeMonday (https://www.theweeklysource.com.au/the-village-consumer-is-changed-forever/#prettyPhoto)  "In January we (Stockland)  commissioned the villages.com.au National Residents Survey delivering 19,600 residents, plus a survey of 1,100 potential residents. We then extracted the residents who had purchased a village home in the past 24 months (new residents).  The chart above displays what was ‘extremely important’ to new residents (dark orange bar) and potential residents (light orange bar)."

Source:  DoComeMonday (https://www.theweeklysource.com.au/the-village-consumer-is-changed-forever/#prettyPhoto)

"In January we (Stockland)  commissioned the villages.com.au National Residents Survey delivering 19,600 residents, plus a survey of 1,100 potential residents. We then extracted the residents who had purchased a village home in the past 24 months (new residents).
The chart above displays what was ‘extremely important’ to new residents (dark orange bar) and potential residents (light orange bar)."

From our perspective as designers of villages, the chart also shows that product appeal, security features, accessibility, planning and quality/price are more important than Retirement Village operators and developers realise.  It is also obvious the "perceived" importance to potential residents of these features is even greater than that of the existing residents - therefore attention to these features is a clear sales point for Developments.  Consequently be being at the forefront of these critical differentiators are crucial to the success of Developments.

We also interpret the information in the graph as meaning the importance of developments which allow for ageing in place and are a safe environment (particularly for potential residents) are a sought after feature.  Both of these features can be delivered via good design, and if considered early in the development process should be able to be incorporated without overly impacting the development costs.

For Developers their site and the site context is the starting point, but the right master plan is key and drives which attributes can be included at a price point the locality can support.    

We keep in touch with what the market is demanding and who is developing what type of product; often more thoroughly than our clients can or have the time to do because we are truely focused on this sector. 

It is this commitment and insight that drives Grey Space's design recommendations.