Summerset wins national award for innovative memory care

7 September 2017

Summerset by the Ranges memory care centre, for people living with dementia, has won the Aged Care Association’s Built and Grown Environment Award, which highlights exceptional design in the aged care sector.

The Levin centre opened last November and is modelled on international design standards for dementia care. It is the first dementia facility in New Zealand to offer one bedroom apartment living for residents in a secure environment.  


“We wanted to replicate this model for our first memory care centre so people with dementia could receive care in their own purpose designed home rather than living in an institution,” says Mr Cook.


“It’s fantastic to be recognised by the Aged Care Association judging panel for such a superb facility. We’ll be including memory care centres at all our future villages. There are six in the planning currently and the next one will be built at our Casebrook village in Christchurch, which is currently under construction.


The Memory Care Centre has cutting edge technology systems to promote independence for residents while allowing staff to monitor their movements and safety. Key features include:

  • Silent nurse call paging system - all staff carry a pager – this promotes calmness not confusion
  • Sensory lighting - staff know when a resident does something out of the ordinary, such as moving around in their apartment at night. Sensory lighting will direct residents back to their bed after using the bathroom
  • Sensor bed mat – these let staff know when a resident gets out of bed
  • During the night if a resident does not return to bed within a certain time, staff are notified by pager
  • Doorframe sensor activates a silent call bell if a resident leaves their room at night or during the day


The system tracks each resident’s behavioural patterns and provides a customised programme based on those patterns.
Dave Metcalfe says the memory care centre has done wonders for his 86 year old mum Lila. “She was living at another retirement village that she said felt like a prison. She was always asking me when I would take her home.”

Dave heard about Summerset’s memory care centre and was impressed with the apartment living option. “The apartment gives mum more freedom and privacy. She has her own lounge and can sit outside in the garden. I’ve heard her say to visitors ‘come into my apartment. It is all mine’.”

David says the centre’s staff are a “passionate bunch” who are really interested in the residents. “I’ve come across people elsewhere who just seem to be there for their wages. It is very obvious they have a passion for what they do. Mum is happy and content.”
Smart use of technology in the centre frees up staff, allowing them to focus on the important stuff, like offering more personalised care and interaction for the residents.

Summerset by the Ranges Care Centre Manager Monique Hayes, who oversees the operation of the memory care centre, says the residents have a real sense of ownership and pride in the centre.

“The design means residents can roam indoors and outdoors, which gives them a feeling of freedom. You wouldn’t know they are in a secure environment.”