Kerikeri Retirement Village launches bequests appeal to help fund more care beds

Kerikeri Retirement Village has launched a Kerikeri bequests appeal to help raise $8.5 million needed to expand and upgrade its care facility. It wants to increase the number of care beds it can offer from 66 to 100 and place them in spacious en suite rooms which can accommodate an increasing level of care as patients age.

Chief executive Hilary Sumpter said the Village’s income streams supported current care facility operations, while borrowing facilities were being channeled into meeting a growing demand for independent living retirement accommodation. As well as the apartments it is building on Kerikeri Road it wants to build 150 more independent living units for about 200 retirees.

Ms Sumpter has previously described the looming demand for retirement accommodation as a ‘silver tsunami’.

She said the income the Village received from selling the rights to occupy planned and existing retirement accommodation could not cover all the costs of building the associated care facilities within the required time-frame and at current construction costs.

“It’s no secret that care beds are like hens’ teeth here in the Mid North. Hard to find. Existing and looming demand means that we need to upgrade our existing but aging care unit, and expand it to accommodate an additional 34 beds for the elderly of our community who can no longer live independently,” she said.

“For this we would like to ask the support of our community for our Kerikeri bequests appeal.”

A bequest is the process of leaving money in one’s will to an organisation or cause. Ms Sumpter said bequests were vital for community-based organisations like Kerikeri Retirement Village, that were charitable in purpose.

“We are not like the big, multinational retirement living developers. We are a community organisation, run by our community for our community. All the money we earn, or are given, goes into running our Village, maintaining it, operating our increasingly important but stretched care facilities, and growing to meet future need,” she said.

Kerikeri Retirement Village is working with The Northland Community Foundation to help manage the Kerikeri bequests appeal process. Bequests can be ear-marked specifically for the Village’s care facilities.

The care suites that the Village wants to build represent the latest thinking in aged-care accommodation. They are en suite rooms with access to the outdoors and large enough to accommodate an increasing level of care as the patient ages. These allow the appropriate level of care to come to the patient’s bedside, rather than constantly shifting the patient.

“This is so much better for the patient’s comfort, peace of mind and, importantly, dignity,” Ms Sumpter said.

“But it’s not cheap, so I hope our community won’t mind us being so up-front with our appeal for bequests. As with many difficult topics, we believe that being candid and direct is probably the most respectful way forward.”