For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit

Retirement Village patriarchy

Retirement Village patriarchy 

Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

My daughter will be 18 years old this month. I find it hard to believe, and yet it is true. Soon she will  no longer require a lift to the beach or anywhere else, as she spreads her wings and finds her feet in  this world. A world dominated by men and in which she must learn to thrive. I have little doubt that  she will do so! 

Facing the reality of her pending adulthood has brought about a change in me too. It is a change that  has perhaps come late in my life, but I have a few years of fight left in me and I sense the need to be  less complicit in a situation that requires urgent attention. 

My work focus over the past ten years has been to understand and improve the so-called “Retirement  Village”. “Retirement” is an irksome term, but it is useful because everyone knows what you are  talking about – that stage of life when many people sense the need to gear down, take an interest in  less money-making activities and “smell the roses”. For some that stage is at age 55 and for others it  is at age 88 – or it never comes. 

It will come as a shock to nobody that many retirement villages and retirement organisations are dominated by men – especially during the early years of development. I have been comfortable in  that environment, but am becoming less and less so, as I have begun to realise the very far-reaching  impact of that male domination. 

An 88-year-old lady recently stood up rather shakily in a meeting and asked whether I did not think  that the organisation that owned the village in which she lives, should not have at least one woman  on the board of trustees. I had to agree, despite being employed by those same good gentlemen. 

Too often, houses and common facilities are designed by men, the engineering is done by men, men  run the service organisations and men run the village as trustees, directors and committee chairmen. 

This all despite the fact that the vast majority of retirement villages (if not all) are mostly populated  by ….. WOMEN! 

Women outlast men by a significant factor, and while this is an uncomfortable reality for men to face,  it is a fact. Almost from the first batch of occupants, women will be in the majority. 

Surely there is a pressing need for more women to take an interest in influencing the early  development of retirement villages. More property developers need to have women involved in the  reviews of house layouts and in the types and formats of services offered. 

It is heartening to see the level of female involvement in the management of certain villages. There  is no shortage of talent and strength, and one has to wonder why in some villages, so few women  stand for election as trustees. Perhaps they have little appetite for the power-plays within the male dominated boards of trustees – often comprising several ex-captains of industry? 

If this matter is to be remedied, women will have to step up and men will have to step back – realising  that women must shape the environment that they will live in for the longest. Their needs must thus  be placed first. 

Author: Rob Jones: MD – Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd (Shire) is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and specialises in the provision of a range of services focused exclusively on the retirement industry.

Changes coming to retirement villages

Changes coming to retirement villages

Bonnie Fourie from wrote on the 26th October 2020: CHANGES COMING TO RETIREMENT VILLAGES

“Modern villages are following the worldwide trend towards professionally managed home-based care to allow retirees to live in their own homes.

Covid-19 will prompt modifications to the way estates function, with more home-based care and a different approach to frail care, say experts.

The Covid-19 outbreak in South Africa and the lockdown that followed had a detrimental effect on the country’s retirees, changing their ways of life and the operational processes of the retirement villages they live in.

Considering the risks associated with contracting the virus – and other future viruses – for the elderly, these shifts will no doubt have to become the new normal in retirement accommodation and be factored into new village designs.

During the height of the pandemic, the number of people attending care centres across the province dwindled markedly as retirees moved into home-based care or temporary assisted living.

This is a movement that will become “more of the norm”. People are more comfortable with being treated in their own spaces where that is possible.

Access to open spaces was also appreciated during the pandemic with many retirement village residents welcoming such offerings during a time when they could not leave the estate except to purchase basic necessities.

This means common areas and green spaces within estates would become key features of differentiation. Freestanding units with their own gardens will also be a key point for new purchasers. People who found themselves in apartments with limited ability to move around clearly felt the effects of the pandemic more seriously.

The pandemic and lockdown is a difficult time for all retirement villages, with many advising that a significant number of residents suffered from anxiety and depression. Regular interaction and communication with residents were crucial and those who were suffering the most stress through not being able to have family visits, had to be closely monitored.

All communal facilities were closed, but fortunately, where units have relatively large gardens and many of them surrounded by open green areas, residents could maintain social contact.

The model of home-based nursing care is a winner in this type of situation, rather than the traditional frail-care model.

In fact, the provision of health-care facilities is the biggest change being seen – and needs to be made – in the design of retirement villages.

The traditional frail-care model has become prohibitively expensive and requires increasing financial support, either from the resident population or from an outside benefactor, to remain financially viable. Modern villages are following the worldwide trend towards professionally managed home-based care.

This model will include a clinic staffed by professional nursing staff and a small “emergency” frail-care facility, but the main care is performed by registered caregivers in the comfort of one’s own home, supervised by the professional nursing staff.

Rob Jones, retirement-living consultant to The Somerset Lifestyle and Retirement Village in the Western Cape, agrees: “Retirement villages will retain many of the same elements that they have had until today, however, those services will need to be offered in a very different way than before.

Gone are the days of regimented, institutional frail-care units, run in a hospital-like fashion.” Another change being seen is the disappearance of the “onerous compulsory levies” that require residents to take all main meals in the communal dining room.

A number of new services are also arising. “The reason for these changes relates to the modern crop of retirees – many of whom are still very active and who often do not self-identify as ‘old’, even though the corporate world no longer thinks it needs them.”

To cater for these evolutions and ensure that elderly residents still receive the care they need, the “big trend” both here and overseas is to offer various wellness features within senior living facilities.

These include fitness programmes; healthy eating plans and options; planned social activities; lifelong-learning courses; volunteer opportunities and wellness education workshops.

In addition, from a design perspective, senior living communities are now attractive, modern and appealing places to live, underpinned by the requisite operational and hospitality services.

Availability of care and support is critical as people live longer, and aspects such as dementia care need to be addressed… People also want choice as to how their care and support is delivered and senior living operators must cater for this.”

To continue reading this article, click here.

The development of retirement villages is a specialist field and Shire consultants complete the standard professional team of developers who are planning or executing new retirement developments. To view the portfolio of retirement developments that Shire Properties (Pty) Ltd are involved with, click here.

SA has only 3 psychiatrists specialising in old-age

SA has only 3 psychiatrists specialising in old-age

SA has only 3 psychiatrists specialising in old-age

This article was first published by health24 on 13 August 2018.

The WHO Global Health Observatory data estimates that there is one psychiatrist per 100 000 of the South African population, and even less (0.4%) in the State sector; this is a situation which is deemed grossly inadequate. By comparison, the United States and the United Kingdom have 12.4 and 14.6 psychiatrists per 100 000 respectively. Of South Africa’s 650 psychiatrists only three are specialist old-age psychiatrists.

Professor Felix Potocnik, of the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP), says the trend of South Africa representing one of the most rapidly ageing countries in Africa, demands an awareness of the challenges and needs facing the elderly.

“We used to have five dedicated psychogeriatric units at our South African universities, but now there is only one, which is at Stikland Hospital in Bellville, Western Cape,” he says.

“Stikland Hospital is a public hospital and has the only HPCSA-recognised geriatric psychiatry unit and training facility in South Africa. The unit consists of three wards with a bed capacity of 77 (33 male beds and 44 female beds). It is over-subscribed with a waiting list exceeding several weeks. The reason for this is that the Western Cape has some 600 000 elderly of whom an estimated 40 000 (6.6%) are suffering with dementia.”

Growing older population 

South Africa’s elderly population is growing rapidly – but state mental health care is not adequate. About 30% of adults aged 60 and older will at some stage require medication to treat mental conditions.

The most recent population Census shows an increase from 2.8 million older people in 1996 (7.1% of the total population) to 4.6 million (8.1%) in 2017. Worldwide it is expected that the number of older people will surpass the number of children by 2045, and that the global population of people older than 60 will more than double – from 900-million in 2015 to 2 billion in 2050. By the end of this century, a third of the global population will be elderly.

Challenges of advancing age

Potocnik says greater reliance is placed on family, friends, social support groups, district clinics and regional hospitals to help with providing services for the elderly. In addition, medication is costly.

But why are the elderly at such risk of mental health problems?

Potocnik says the challenges one faces with advancing age create strong emotions such as sadness, anxiety, loneliness and lowered self-esteem. Coupled with physical and/or mental disabilities, it renders the individual more vulnerable and unable to engage in many activities in daily life.

“Older adults who are suffering from depression experience symptoms that disrupt their daily lives, resulting in withdrawal from social activities, friends and family and all the things that used to bring them joy. It’s important for family members to be vigilant and recognise any changes in behaviour and to seek help from medical and allied services.”

Multiple cognitive deficits

In South Africa, about 7% of the elderly population suffer from dementia.

Potocnik says dementia is usually a slow and progressive condition that requires specialised monitoring and treatment from a psychiatrist.

“While some element of forgetfulness accompanies one’s later years, it is important to realise that it is not a disability if you can still make rational decisions and get on with your daily life. Although the key symptoms of dementia include forgetfulness, in the earlier stages it is about multiple cognitive deficits that herald a decline in one’s ability to think abstractly and logically, to use language properly and to make sensible decisions.”

“The brain’s inability to function properly starts affecting every day activities. The person may present with an inability to keep their attention and focus long enough to meaningfully read a book, an article, or follow a TV programme. An artist might fail in the standard of their art, a person might incessantly fall asleep at work, or there may be a steady increase in pathological hoarding.”

Potocnik says that aberrations of mood are a very early sign of impending dementia. There is usually an underlying current of irritability, often accompanied by emotional outbursts. The patient may also present with relapsing bouts of depression or anxiety which become increasingly difficult to treat and contain.

‘Second childhood’

“The personality may change. This may range from subtle exacerbations of existing characters traits to uncharacteristic behaviour where, for example, a clergyman is found shoplifting, or businessmen making rash decisions quite contrary to their previous behaviour.”

He says memory loss among those suffering from dementia includes the inability to learn new information, losing items of value, and becoming lost in unfamiliar surroundings. In more advanced stages of memory loss, one may forget crucial details and dates as well as not remembering or even recognising family members.

Potocnik says in very advanced stages patients may not even recognise their own reflection in a mirror.

“Overall, the duration of dementia may be as short as six months, or exceed two decades. While the patient themselves rapidly lose insight and are unaware of any problems they may be causing, this ‘second childhood’ is extremely stressful for the caregiver. Their incidence of depression and other illnesses, need for medication, or even hospital admissions is double that of their peers. The caregiver looking after a dementing spouse has a six times higher rate of dementing themselves (12 times higher for male caregivers) when compared with peers where both partners enjoy normal mental health.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Shire is proud to provide a range of quality,  independent, personalised services to the retirement market – We look forward to being of service to you. To find out more about the services we offer, click here.

The valuation of Life Right occupation in retirement villages

The valuation of Life Right occupation in retirement villages

This article was first published on the 14th of March 2016 by PPE Valuations.

Retirement village developments can generally be defined as usually including a mix of independent living units (ILUs) and serviced apartments (SAs) with community facilities providing a shared congregational area for village activities and socialising (McAuliffe, 2010).

Very little has been published in South Africa on the valuation of retirement villages. The retirement village phenomenon is fairly new in South Africa with a recent history of not more than 30 years when the first Baby Boomers reached retirement age and available amenities (old age homes run by government and other “care” societies and groups) were found to be wanting. Developers saw a market to develop schemes tailor-made to suit the needs of middle- to upper-income retirees, and so the first privately owned and operated retirement villages, as a departure from the traditional retirement homes, were constructed. Since then there was an explosion in the construction of retirement villages.

Retirement village assets differ from traditional residential assets due to their operation in accordance with statutory legislation. Before one can determine the approach and method of valuation to follow, one must have therefore an understanding of the legislation and legal structure surrounding a property type and its ownership. Following is a short discussion on the legislation governing retirement villages as well as the legal structure of ownership, as envisioned by the legislation.

Unfortunately, legislation does not always keep up with the pace at which the social landscape changes with the result that South Africa does not have any specific laws regulating the development of retirement villages per se as opposed to Australia and the USA where every state has its own Retirement Villages Act (Towart, 2013). There exist, however, an Act in South Africa known as the Housing Development Schemes for Retired Persons, Act No 65 of 1988, which tried to address issues regarding such schemes. Unfortunately the language used in the Act is in some respects obscure and the Act’s structure is cumbersome. The word “retirement village” is nowhere mentioned in the Act. And, yet, the Act offers substantial protection against a variety of risks to retired persons who invest in retirement schemes (Kilbourn, 2008).
Some definitions as set out in the Act is important in understanding the legal structure of the property interest.
The Act defines a “retired person” as someone who is “fifty years of age or older”. The purchaser of the housing interest need not be a retired person; anyone; regardless of age, may invest in a retirement scheme. In terms of section 7 of the Act, however, no person other than a retired person or the spouse of a retired person except with the written consent of all other holders of housing interests in the scheme may reside in a retirement scheme.

Section 1 of the Act defines “housing development scheme” as follows:
“any scheme, arrangement or undertaking-

  1. in terms of which housing interests are alienated for occupation contemplated in section 7, whether the scheme, arrangement or undertaking is operated pursuant to or in connection with a development scheme (read: sectional title) or a share block scheme or membership of or participation in any club, association, organization or other body, or the issuing of shares, or otherwise, but excluding a property time-sharing scheme; or
  2. declared a housing development scheme by the Minister by notice in the Gazette for the purposes of this Act;

“Housing interest” is defined as follows in the Act:
in relation to a housing development scheme (that is a retirement scheme), means any right to claim transfer of the land to which the scheme relates, or to use or occupy that land

“Right of occupation” is defined as follows in the Act:
means the right of a purchaser of a housing interest-

  1. which is subject to the payment of a fixed or determinable sum of money by way of a loan or otherwise, payable in one amount or in instalments, in addition to or in lieu of a levy, and whether or not such a sum of money is in whole or in part refundable to the purchaser or any other person or to the estate of the purchaser or of such other person; and
  2. which confers the power to occupy a portion in a housing development scheme for the duration of the lifetime of the purchaser or, subject to section 7, any other person mentioned in the contract in terms of which the housing interest is acquired, but without conferring the power to claim transfer of the ownership of the portion to which the housing interest relates

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Shire offers development consulting – assisting developers in the planning and execution of all key elements of new retirement villages. To read more about our services, click here.

Becoming an ageing society will challenge both the country’s fiscal stability and the dream of ending poverty

Becoming an ageing society will challenge both the country’s fiscal stability and the dream of ending poverty

First published by ISS Today

The wave of global ageing that has spread across Europe and East Asia is lapping at the shores of countries in the Global South. In the next 25 years, South Africa will be the fourth country – after Mauritius, Seychelles and Cape Verde – in sub-Saharan Africa to become an ageing society. In efforts to eradicate poverty, this increase in demographic dependency can have negative consequences.

By 2045, the share of South Africa’s population that is over 60 (the qualifying age for an older person’s grant) is expected to double, from 8% to 16%. In absolute terms, the number of older adults will increase from about 4.5 million to 10.6 million, growing at an average annual rate of 2.9% compared to 0.6% in the overall population.

Responses to population ageing have differed around the world. Japan is spearheading robotics for elder care, whereas in Eastern and Central Europe responsibility lies more with the family. South Africa will offer one of the first case studies for managing ageing in Africa, and with the benefit of foresight, it is today’s policymakers who can determine whether it will be one to be emulated or avoided.

Population ageing is in its early stages in South Africa, so an examination of the issue still generates more questions than answers; however, several known issues should be considered.

First, ageing creates economic vulnerability. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, South Africans have minimal savings and on average can expect to earn only 16% of their working salaries in retirement, compared to 69.5% in Brazil and 87.4% in India. This means most South Africans will rely on family members’ financial support in retirement or risk falling into poverty.

Second, South Africa’s dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases manifests in high levels of unhealthy ageing. There is a reinforcement loop between unhealthy ageing and low incomes in South Africa, and black African women are especially vulnerable to experiencing poverty and having their care needs go unmet in older adulthood.

Third, ageing creates economic risks at a macro level. Population ageing leads to slower economic growth, and as the proportion of older adults rises, so will the size of the economically vulnerable population and demand for social grants. These trends will challenge both the country’s fiscal stability and the dream of ending poverty.

Given the dual relationship between health and income, there is however also an opportunity to make the future of ageing brighter. Since it is an emerging trend, there is time to invest in healthy ageing, which is best supported by enhancing well-being along the life course. The roll-out of a national health scheme, in particular, offers an opportunity to start making routine medical care more forward-thinking.

In addition, demographic pressure in high-income countries is accelerating research into healthy ageing, and resulting technological advances could help bring down its cost. Importantly, South Africa will need to consider whether and how medical technologies that ease the financial and physical costs of ageing will be able to be equitably accessed.

To continue reading this article by Daily Maverick (written by Alanna Markle), published on the 25th of November 2019, click here.

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd, offers assistance to Owners and Operators on all aspects of modern, efficient retirement village operations. Click here to speak to one of our consultants.


1 October is the International Day of Older People

1 October is the International Day of Older People

International Day of Older Persons – 1 October

Older people have always played a significant role in society as leaders, caretakers and custodians of tradition. Yet they are also highly vulnerable, with many falling into poverty, becoming disabled or facing discrimination. As health care improves, the population of older people is growing. Their needs are also growing, as are their contributions to the world.

The International Day of Older Persons is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges of ageing in today’s world.

The 2019 theme aims to:
1. Draw attention to the existence of old age inequalities and how this often results from a cumulation of disadvantages throughout life, and highlight intergenerational risk of increased old age inequalities.
2. Bring awareness to the urgency of coping with existing — and preventing future — old age inequalities.
3. Explore societal and structural changes in view of life course policies: life-long learning, proactive and adaptive labour policies, social protection and universal health coverage.
4. Reflect on best practices, lessons and progress on the journey to ending older age inequalities and changing negative narratives and stereotypes involving “old age.”
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool.

To read more click here.

Trends affecting the retirement industry and how to address them

Trends affecting the retirement industry and how to address them

The retirement industry is a growing industry.  As with any growing industry it is vital to take stock of what is happening, what are the potential problem areas and brainstorm how these problematic areas could be ironed out.  It is important to study the trends that affect that specific industry.

At this year’s Retirement Village Managers Summit, taking place from 31 July to 3 August 2018, many of these issues will be discussed. MC and first speaker of the day – Rob Jones: MD of Shire Retirement Properties, will be presenting the following case:


 This presentation seeks to highlight and discuss a number of perceived international and local Retirement Industry trend drivers and resultant trends. In keeping with the focus and theme of this conference, a number of practical approaches to deal with each of the trends from a retirement village management perspective will be covered.

Whilst many of the significant international trends are well known and understood within the retirement village management industry, there are some trends that are less obvious and which may have far-reaching implications, especially for the management of villages and perhaps more specifically, the care service facilities within those villages.

Amongst the well-known drivers are the baby-boomer generation and longevity, which are causing a number of significant trends. Factors that are less often presented at retirement conferences are matters such as:

  • democratisation,
  • culture shift,
  • immigration,
  • gender equality,
  • sexual orientation,
  • artificial intelligence,
  • personal rights,
  • connectivity and
  • information technology.

While some of these affect some countries more than others (e.g. the European immigration from North Africa and the Middle-East), the local retirement industry has some very specific challenges to face in the coming years. These include:

  • having to prepare for the future demand from previously disadvantaged retirees,
  • adapting to the dementia challenge and
  • bringing a practical and affordable reality to the goals of holistic and person-centred care.

All of this whilst the government is focusing on other, perhaps more pressing challenges (from their perspective).

The potential impacts on the international and local retirement industry will be considered, together with the specific impacts on the management of retirement villages. Some mitigating approaches and solutions will be suggested for consideration by the delegates.

Other topics that will be covered on the summit are:

  • A day in the life of a Manager and what skills and resources are required for optimal performance and management
  • Future designs of architecture focusing on Dementia
  • How to skill up non-skilled workers to become caring successful care partners
  • Eden Alternative
  • Do Age-in-place solutions compete or compliment retirement villages?
  • How effective accounting systems can drive profitability
  • Tips on using Lean to optimize operations and savings

A retirement village is as good as its’ Management but how well the facility is managed, is what attracts people to live there.

To sign up for this years Retirement Village Managers Summit, click here.

To read more about services on offer by Shire, click here.