Construction of the new 46-bed building is expected to begin next month – including 15 new beds in a purpose-built dementia area and 31 new beds for the LGBTQI+ community – in Daylesford (115 kilometres north-west of Melbourne CBD).
Hepburn House (pictured) facility manager Dianne Jones told The Hepburn Advocate that the new LGBTQI+ area was not specifically reserved for that community but was created to make residents feel safe.
Hepburn became a “rainbow tick” accredited facility in 2018, and the expansion is intended to support the organisation to become a more inclusive service organisation for LGBTQI+ people.
The development was decided on after consultation with the Ageing with Pride committee – comprised of residents, community members and staff – on how best to care for LGBTQI+ older people in the area.
“It’s difficult for people in their 80s coming into care when they have had a history of discrimination when they were young. It was illegal until 1984 so it is very scary for them, so we hope this will create a culture of safety,” said Ms Jones.
The expansion will almost double the current care provision of Hepburn House, which currently has only 60 beds.