The Plug-in worked with a leading active ageing service provider to explore the things that people are looking for in local active ageing services such as recreation and fitness, allied health, nursing and social experiences.

The provider is currently scoping a redevelopment of a residential facility located in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, featuring an on-site health studio and community hub with allied health options.

The findings of this project will assist the provider to make an informed decision about offering access to the facilities to non-residents and clearly articulate what changes or improvements should be factored into a major redevelopment of the facility.

Research objectives

Specifically, the research aimed to understand the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of the public and current customers of the provider towards a planned redevelopment of the facility, as well as an indication of likelihood to use.

  • Understand attitudes and behaviours relating to visiting the local area for medical, allied health, nursing, pathology, aged care and fitness services.
  • Explore attitudes and behaviours relating to exercise, formal fitness programs and gym usage.
  • Explore interest in a community hub model that incorporates the above services.
  • Identify any barriers, drivers and/or behaviours regarding use of service provider’s fitness services (for current users).
  • Establish awareness and perceptions about the service provider’s brand and existing facility.
  • Explore attitudes to mixed use of the facility.
  • Identify a profile of most likely customers for an on-site gym.
  • Explore likelihood to consider independent or assisted living at the facility in the future, including subject to community hub development.
  • Identify influential factors in considering and selecting independent or assisted living.

Project methodology

The research was carried out over two stages, which comprised of focus groups and a survey.

Complete: Stage 1 — Focus Groups

During May, participants were recruited for a series of focus groups that explored the things that people look for in active ageing services — for example recreation and fitness, allied health, nursing services and social experiences.

The Plug-in held three focus groups in May 2021 each with a different target audience. All participants were aged 50 years or older and were either residents of or regular visitors to the local area.

Two of the focus groups were recruited from The Plug-in’s influencer community using a short qualifying survey — all were living independently in the community.

The third group was recruited internally by the service provider.

A total of 16 people participated in the focus groups which included six local residents, five current customers of the aged care provider and five prospective customers.

Focus group participants discussed their experiences of accessing active ageing services around their local area to help inform the design and location of active ageing and community services that meet the needs of over 50s in the local City of Onkaparinga area.

Focus group participants received a $40 gift card as a thank you for their time.

Complete: Stage 2 — Online Survey

Participants were recruited from The Plug-in’s community of influencers to complete an online survey. The survey was open for a period of two weeks in June 2021. A total of 225 people responded to the survey with 180 completing the survey in full.

All respondents were aged 50 years or over and represented a diverse range of demographics with 32 identifying as living local to the aged care facility and proposed community hub.

The online survey component of this project gathered insights and feedback about a proposed new community hub concept and redevelopment of aged care living services. The survey took less than ten minutes to complete and answers remain confidential in accordance with Australian Privacy Principles.


Overall, the research findings delivered on the project objects and supported four key principles or community needs that should underpin the design of a community hub:

  • Social connections — an inviting culture that encourages social engagement across groups in the community. This will keep users attending the facility.
  • Over 50s understanding — focus on the needs of the ageing body and appropriate health approaches.
  • Accessibility — physical accessibility for those with mobility issues, accessible by public transport and adequate parking. Also, an understanding of how access may be affected by public health schemes such as My Aged Care.
  • Affordability — costs must be appropriate for those on lower incomes.

We thank everyone for their participation in this important research project, and for so generously sharing insights to help the redevelopment of a community hub to ensure that it is accessible and meets the needs of the local community.

Participation in this project was voluntary. Personal information is not used or shared without express consent — read more about our privacy policy here.

For further information please contact The Plug-in on (08) 8224 5526 or email