Gilbruk Place – A Dementia Village Planned For Heathcote

A dementia village planned for Heathcote

Access to better health care has long been a regular ‘call-out’ in our Redesdale community engagement forums. I know from personal experience, as a I am sure many of you can relate, how frustrating, challenging and sometimes disappointing the search for appropriate and accessible services and local facilities are for our loved ones living with dementia.


  1. Dementia is currently the single greatest disability in older people (65+ years).
  2. It is now the 2nd leading cause of death: 5.4% of all males and 10.6% of all females.
  3. In 2020, around 450,000 Australians were living with dementia. It is estimated that 25,000 suffer from ‘younger onset’ dementia.

Dementia does not discriminate.

Recently we offered our community the opportunity to hear about a world first heath care initiative: a bush inspired dementia village in Heathcote. Sherrie Coote from Advance Heathcote Incorporated shared with us the story of “Gilbruk Place”:  which means ‘place of respect’ in the language of the land’s traditional owners, the Taungurung people.

Gilbruk Place’s vision is to build a 150 bed facility, addressing the needs of dementia sufferers with assisted living through to palliative care for people living within a 1.5 hour drive of Heathcote. No more long corridors of sterile patient rooms.  Gilbruk Place envisages its residents living in ‘small houses’ of 10 with communal living areas and access to open space that allows residents continue purposeful daily living. It is hoped that a clinical research and education hub will also be realised to ensure this facility contributes to and leverages best practice research to improve dementia care. Another difference will be the relationship of the village to the community:  the vision is that residents, their friends and family will venture out into the township and enjoy local amenities. Gilbruk Place will also include a small supermarket, hairdresser, a café and library, veggie gardens, recreation areas, a lake and a farm nursery.

A 17-acre parcel of land adjacent to Heathcote Health has been earmarked for the project. There’s a long way to go yet, but Heathcote Dementia Alliance is working on plans for a dementia friendly display home to showcase innovations to support people with dementia remaining in their own homes. Advance Heathcote Inc Working Group are in discussion with a short list of aged care providers and financial backers to make Gilbruk Place become a reality.

Those Redesdalians that did attend were treated to floor plans, site maps and the opportunity to share their ideas and thoughts for how to improve this plan and discuss the potential additional growth it will bring to our region.

A big “thank you” to Sherrie for giving up her Tuesday afternoon – we all came away impressed and excited about the possibilities. Thanks also to RRRC for, on short notice, allowing us to use the newly available Pavilion.

If you want to know more about this project:


Check this Video Presentation

Heathcote Dementia Alliance: