Keyton – The New Buzz in Retirement Villages

Keyton is a leading owner and operator of over-55’s living communities in Australia with more than 75 villages with 17,000 residents across the country. Keyton has over 30 years’ experience in the market and an ongoing commitment to creating communities and caring for residents. It is proudly owned by Aware Super, APG Asset Management and Lendlease. Keyton has big plans to lift the retirement living sector to a higher level of service, confidence and choice for residents. We talked to CEO Nathan Cockerill about his vision for Keyton.

Q. Please tell us about your vision going forward. What will make Keyton stand out from a prospective resident’s point of view?

The focus for Keyton is on much more than just accommodation and quality resort-style living. These aspects are a given. People crave social connectivity and at Keyton we pioneer programs that deliver more personalised, innovative, and sustainable retirement living solutions to residents.

Each Keyton village reflects its unique location – exuding a sense of place and importantly a sense of belonging and connection. We have always been about providing a deep sense of community spirit and care for residents, and that will only strengthen further.

Our team embody the Keyton values and genuinely Lead with Heart. I was thrilled that we were recognised at last year’s National Retirement Living Awards run by the Property Council. It’s a clear signal that we are on the right path, putting customer and community care and the health and well-being of residents at the core of everything we do.

The retirement living experience extends far beyond the provision of housing. It encompasses the broader quality of life that residents can enjoy in their later years. This is the holistic perspective we bring to ensure residents can lead active, fulfilling, and vibrant lives.

I am passionate about this, and as a personal commitment, I will ensure that Keyton goes ‘above and beyond’ to ensure the health and wellbeing of residents.

Q. What is special about the community feel and vibe in Keyton villages?

Residents shape the communities within our villages, so each community has a different feel and vibe about it. This is not just centred on the clubhouses and arranged activities but also on the friendships and relationships that are formed amongst residents of the village.

We ensure that residents have the resources to build a positive sense of belonging. Our village managers make it their responsibility to support a social and active lifestyle for residents and to make sure there are plenty of opportunities to have fun and make new friends.

Ultimately, residents feel safe and secure. They have the freedom to be independent knowing support is available when they need it. In short, residents have the opportunity to participate in social activities, build meaningful friendships, and find support among their peers.

In fact, when we ask residents about the benefits of living in a Keyton retirement village, one of the most common answers is ‘the sense of belonging.’ Even when the circumstances of coming to a retirement village may have been difficult, such as starting over after the death of a partner or escaping the maintenance of a large family home, resident stories have one thing in common – living in a community provides support and the opportunity to live the lifestyle you want.

Q. Please tell us more about your passion point and focus on the health and wellness of residents.

The commitment to health and wellness is not just an option; it’s a fundamental aspect of Keyton’s vision and we have many dedicated wellness co-ordinators working across our portfolio.

One of our core tenets for health and wellness is to promote an active lifestyle among residents. Research consistently demonstrates that staying physically active contributes to improved overall health, increased vitality, and enhanced mental well-being. By encouraging regular physical activity, Keyton empowers its residents to make the most of each day.

Good nutrition is another cornerstone of health and wellness. We take this very seriously and engage top-rated chefs to craft menus that not only tantalise the taste buds but also prioritise nutrition. Residents can savour a variety of delicious and healthy dining options at selected villages, ensuring that their dietary needs are met, and their bodies are well-nourished.

Keyton recognises that social interaction is paramount to promoting mental and emotional well-being. People can sometimes feel isolated. Our villages foster a strong sense of community which contributes to residents’ overall happiness and contentment.

We understand that as individuals age, access to healthcare becomes increasingly important and with this in mind, Keyton has made a commitment to co-locating with leading aged care operators where possible. This strategic choice helps enable easier access to healthcare services whenever people may need them, supporting both physical needs and providing peace of mind for residents and their families.

In essence, our focus on health and wellness is driven by the aspiration to offer people more than just a place to live; it’s about providing them with the ingredients they need to thrive.

Q. Can you talk to us about the range of properties that Keyton offers?

We have over 75 properties located in both urban and regional areas, ranging from premium resort-style accommodation to standalone units and serviced apartments. Each place has community curated for comfort, safety and enjoyment. Each village reflects its location, providing a unique sense of place and a sense of belonging and connection for more than 17,000 residents across Australia.

Down the track, we are bringing in a whole raft of improvements and new developments. Many of these were already planned under our legacy brand, and others have been made possible because of the new joint venture. Residents will see an accelerated rate of new builds and renovations. We expect to increase our 13,500 units to around 20,000 and we currently have ten developments on the go in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Last year, the first residents moved into Ardency Kennedy Place, a flagship development in Victoria. Once complete, Brisbane’s Bernborough Ascot’s second apartment building, Poinciana House, will deliver community facilities including a wellness centre and community lounge and dining. There are also exciting developments on the Sunshine Coast and in NSW, with each of the new spaces designed to enable connection and well-being for residents.

Q. Tell us about some of the eco-friendliness and sustainability of Keyton villages.

From the pure property angle, it is an exciting time for the industry because of the many sustainability innovations that are being incorporated into new developments.

For instance, the Green Building Council of Australia has recognised Bernborough Ascot’s sustainability credentials, awarding it Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star Communities Rating for a retirement living village.

Demand is growing for retirement living options that deliver greater resilience, efficiencies, and value for residents while at the same time protecting and regenerating the environment for future generations.

One of the most important eco-friendly moves we have made is to trial designs that will allow houses to be both self-cooling in summer and self-heating in winter. The materials used and managed airflows will allow a constant temperature to be maintained without air-conditioning and without heating equipment. This is only at pilot stage, but you can imagine the overall impact down the track if the concept is successful.

Other areas of innovation for Keyton include intergenerational communities. We had already started a unique intergenerational living concept prior to the rebranding, in collaboration with The University of Wollongong. This precinct will be Australia’s first intergenerational university community – integrating research, clinical practice, retirement living and care.

Our ongoing commitment to sustainability throughout the business was recognised with Keyton ranking first in the 2023 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark’s (GRESB) non listed residential category for the Oceania region – for the fifth year running! The future is exciting and at Keyton we are keeping sustainability and innovation top of mind.

Q. What drives your people at Keyton?

We consulted with staff, residents, and other stakeholders to develop a set of values that are the foundation of our culture at Keyton. We all work and live by these values each day and I can already see the huge value they bring to the culture of our teams and communities. I am particularly happy we have been able to include input from residents.

I have always believed that retirement villages are more than the buildings. They’re about the community and the individuals that live there. I expect that I’ll be living in a retirement village in the not-too-distant future, and I would want to be somewhere that shares two of our Keyton values: “‘make room for kindness’ and ‘find the fun’.” These are obviously not out of the standard corporate playbook and really do set us apart as caring and human. Our ethos is to “Lead with Heart.”

O50s
Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide

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