Funding target nearly met: Hawthorndale Care Village on track for 2025

A decade after the idea was raised, a care village focussed on allowing dementia patients to live as normal a life as possible is rising out of the ground in Invercargill.

Work on the Hawthorndale Care Village is steaming ahead with construction of the main centre, 13 care homes and 10 retirement villas, well under way on a 2.5 hectare site fronting Tay St.

Run by its board on a not-for-profit basis, it aims to provide the most normal life possible in a comfortable and secure village for the residents, including people with dementia and people who need rest home care.

Care village project manager Helen Robinson said three companies were building the village and work was one month ahead of schedule, with the opening date expected to be June 2025.

The $35m budget had been pushed out to $37m, with fundraising ongoing and just $500,000 needed.

“We are almost there.”

There would be just one entrance into and out of the village, ensuring it would be safe and secure for the dementia residents without the need for segregation in the village.

The main centre would include a coffee shop, dairy, arts and library centre, hairdressers, chapel, playground, hangi pit, gym and theatre.

The village did not have a segregated hospital wing for dementia patients.

Instead, the residents would live in the 13 care homes, which are six and seven bedrooms each, with meals cooked for them and nurses available to help them out.

Like-minded residents would be put into the same care homes where possible.

“If a group of guys are into sport and want to watch Sky sport, get them together.”

The aim was to give the residents purpose in their lives and encourage independence, Robinson said.

The residents with dementia would be fitted with sewn-in tracking tags, “to let staff know if they are getting close to the main entrance”.

It would allow staff to ensure they are safe, but in a humane way “instead of locking them in a space”.

“It’s a much nicer way for people to live,” she said.

The 10 retirement villas on the site would be separate to the care village. They were for independent people who didn’t need care.

Anyone aged 70 or over could purchase and live in the villas. They will go on sale on Monday and be ready to move into when the village opens in mid-2025.

The community would be welcome into the village without having to visit the residents, Robinson said.

“We want to bring people in to have a coffee [in the café], let the kids play. It will be a safe place for people with kids.”

The roughly 74 residents of Calvary Hospital will be transferred to the 86 bed village when it opened, leaving space for about 12 more in the care homes.