Jewish Care’s $180 million strategy

SIX major projects mark a milestone development strategy being launched by Jewish Care Victoria, which the organisation’s president Mike Debinski described as initiatives that “will change the face” of the 167-year-old care organisation.

Billed as the most extensive capital development in the history of the Australian Jewish community, Jewish Care will invest $180 million in new buildings and services for aged care, disability support, community housing and in-home and day-visit senior living. The 10-year plan includes a comprehensive redevelopment of Jewish Care’s St Kilda Road complex with a new nine-storey senior living and community precinct.

CEO Bill Appleby told The AJN the new centre will feature 156 beds, but will be built pod-style, with no more than 16 beds to a cluster, creating a warm, intimate feel for residents and family visitors.

“If family members want to spend time, perhaps help a resident with activities like the washing, why shouldn’t they be able to?” he said of the unit-style layout, which will offer mixed levels of care throughout, so residents can remain in their unit, even if their care needs rise. “It’s not just a building but a whole model of care.”

A second stage of the St Kilda Road redevelopment will usher in an independent retirees’ village with apartment-style living close to the city’s theatres, cafes and galleries, said Appleby.

Disability respite is the focus of a new Jewish Care centre on Glen Eira Road, Caulfield North, which will cater to the needs of the disabled, their families and carers. Its architectural design will serve the requirements of children and adults in separate wings, each with five rooms housing 10 people.

Community housing will receive a major boost with the redevelopment and refurbishment of six properties in Fulton Street, St Kilda East, comprising 33 new units and upgrading 62 existing units for transitional residents.

A new centre in Wahgoo Road, Carnegie, offering many of the aged-care services to be available at St Kilda Road, will meet residential aged-care needs of those living in the south-eastern suburbs, said Appleby.

Debinski said the locations of the new Jewish Care network of facilities reflects the findings of the Gen08 report, which identified an ageing cohort in need of more in-home services and residential aged care. The plans followed close consultation with Gen08 report author Professor Andrew Markus. “As the Jewish population increasingly migrates north of Dandenong Road and out to areas such as Carnegie, Bentleigh and Oakleigh, we want to bookend our St Kilda Road resources and provide services in these locations,” he told The AJN.

Gary Smorgon House in Freeman Street, Caulfield will be expanded and daycare services, including dentistry, podiatry and GPs, currently provided at Jewish Care’s Kooyong Road, Caulfield centre, will be transferred there and to St Kilda Road.

Appleby said Jewish Care was responding to “the most transformational changes in aged care and disability policy ever” through the federal government’s Living Longer, Living Better reforms and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Jewish Care board member Susie Ivany said an extensive appeal to address a $30 million funding gap for the project has already drawn the interest of major donors to the tune of around $5 million, “but we will also need the community’s overall support and assistance for this initiative and for our regular annual fundraising”.

PETER KOHN

The design of the St Kilda Road redevelopment.