Emmaus Village: an innovative, game-changing community for people living with dementia.

An innovative, game-changing approach to empowering and supporting people living with dementia will be the focus at Emmaus Village, currently under construction in Port Macquarie. St Agnes’ Catholic Parish secured grants from the NSW State Government and the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund to construct the innovative community.

Based on best-practice models, and inspired by the world-leading The Hogeweyk® model in the Netherlands, Emmaus Village will be a purpose-built, state-of-the-art village where people will live, meet, socialise, and share interests in a secure space that allows them to move freely while feeling at home.

Emmaus Village residents will reside in houses accommodating up to eight people. The interior and exterior design of the village has been created around residents’ specific needs. A group of twelve homes has been laid out around meandering streets, gardens, and pathways with a Community Centre at its heart including a café, corner store, cinema, and music room along with other activity areas.

St Agnes’ Catholic Parish CEO, Tony Leahy, believes those living with dementia deserve better support. “Port Macquarie has the third highest rate of dementia in Australia. So, there is a significant local need to provide people living with dementia the opportunity to be supported and enabled to maintain the normalcy of daily life” Mr. Leahy said. “We hope to create an inspiring and innovative community that delivers dignity, freedom and choice.”

Co-located with Emmaus Home on Colonel Barney Drive, the anticipated opening date for Emmaus Village is March 2024. This new service represents a paradigm shift from the traditional model of dementia care to one which focuses on fostering the everyday normalcy of life and a caring and supportive community.

Emmaus Village will be a place where every resident – known as Villagers – will continue living the way they want to live. Residents will be able to undertake a range of daily activities such as cooking meals, shopping, gardening, cleaning or creating something in the workshop. 

Paul Shields, Executive Manager - Residential Care, believes the new village will be a valuable part of St Agnes’ Catholic Parish’s ongoing commitment to providing services to the people of Port Macquarie. “St Agnes’ is a diverse organisation. We touch the lives of lots of people in Port Macquarie every day, and the new village is an extension of that,” Mr. Shields said. “In 2018, one of the many recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care was for the sector to move to a small-household model. Emmaus Village is based on the The Hogeweyk®  model in the Netherlands where they’ve had a successful village for over 20 years.”

Staff will play a pivotal role in shaping the day-to-day experiences of Villagers; Care staff, known as ‘Home Companions’, will support Villagers and have the flexibility to accommodate the natural rhythm of each day. St Agnes’ Catholic Parish is aiming to recruit around 100 people to work across a range of roles at the village.

A new marketing campaign will soon kick off with the theme ‘Your Life in Your Hands’ and Paul Shields embraces the idea of hands as a symbol of activity. “The use of hands in the symbolism for the village really creates a great image of how people will live their lives there. They'll be active; they'll be doing the things that they love doing, be it gardening, be it helping cook the dinner, playing a game of cards, living through their faith, knitting, all those experiences that we hope people continue to do on their journey in life."

Emmaus Village Port Macquarie interior

Emmaus Village Port Macquarie interior

Emmaus Village Port Macquarie

Emmaus Village Port Macquarie