Impact investing in best-practise aged care for residents of dementia

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Superannuation giant HESTA wants other major investors to follow its lead and fund aged care as an impact investment, declaring more backing for the sector will help alleviate some of Australia’s critical social challenges.

Following last month’s opening of the $19 million Korongee dementia-specific aged care home in Tasmania, the industry super fund for health and community services workers has outlined its challenge to other large investors.

HESTA’s Head of Impact, Mary Delahunty told Inside Ageing the investment was in addition to the $200m HESTA Healthcare Property Trust, which will fund private hospitals, general medical and residential aged care.

“We hope our investment in Korongee encourages other large investors to contribute to Australia’s impact investment market,” she said.

“More investors joining us in this area will help address big social challenges like dementia. And importantly, also create jobs and opportunities for our members who work in health and community services.”

The 12-house purpose-built aged care village for people with dementia was developed with funds from HESTA’s Social Impact Investment Trust and managed by Social Ventures Australia. It can accommodate 96 residents.

The village offers the homes in four cul-de-sacs, with a community centre, café and wellness centre and other amenities onsite.

It is constructed as a “home” with the same look and feel so residents can readily find their way around the centre.

Ms Delahunty said they chose the aged care project due to the commitment of the local team to create a best-practice dementia care home, and to address the looming need for expansion.

“Australia’s ageing population will see the need for a significant expansion in services and facilities in the coming years,” she said.

“The ability to access high quality aged care will impact the quality of life of our members as they age, as well as millions of working Australians and their families.

“Our investments will generate strong, long-term returns for members, encourage innovation and improvements in models of care while supporting jobs and growth in the sector where they work.”

The fund’s Social Impact Investment Trust kicked off in 2015 with $30m. The trust now has $70m in investments.

Ms Delahunty said investments in the trusts were aimed at earning “a market-based return for members” and achieving “a measurable social impact”.

“As the industry super fund for health and community services, at HESTA we are very conscious of the incredible work our members in aged care do to look after some of the most vulnerable people in our community – even more so with the COVID pandemic,” she said.

There are about 450,000 Australians living with dementia, a figure tipped to double over the next generation.

An estimated 250 Australians each day are diagnosed with a form of dementia.

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