Janice Masencamp from Bizzcomunity.com writes:
“Here’s the good news. We’re living longer than ever before, and enjoying a better quality of life, while we do. The bad news is that less than 10% of South Africans have enough money to retire, which means many older people are working for longer just to make ends meet.
It’s part of a global trend known as ‘unretirement’, which is seeing older people across the world flooding back to the workforce to supplement their incomes or simply to stay busy – and it’s having a major impact on retirement planning, says employee benefits advisory firm NMG Benefits.
Statistics SA data suggests that between 2002 and 2020, the life expectancy of South Africans increased from 59.9 years to 64.6 years for men, and from 67.2 to 71.3 years for women. At the same time, the Pew Research centre says the number of people living to 100 years and older is expected to grow to nearly 3.7 million by 2050, from just 95,000 in 1990.
The challenge lies in funding this new-found longevity. South Africans are notoriously light on their retirement savings, and according to Sanlam’s benchmark survey report, one in five consumers say they will never be able to retire.
NMG figures show that the average replacement ratio for retirees declined from 35% in 2019 to 32% in 2021. This means the average member of a retirement fund can expect an income of 32% of their pre-retirement salary after they stop working.
Longer lives, longer planning
South Africans aren’t very good at saving or planning for their retirement at the best of times. Now, as we live for longer, we’re getting to a point where we should start planning as if we’re going to live to 100, and align our goals accordingly. This will have a major impact on the way we do financial planning. And those who don’t have enough retirement savings will keep working until they’re no longer able to.
Legally, there’s no mandatory retirement age in South Africa. However, a retirement age is often written into employment contracts, and employees need permission from their employers to keep working beyond that age.
There are clear benefits to employers of having older, more experienced employees in the workforce. They have valuable skills, knowledge, and experience which can be passed onto younger generations.
Studies suggest people who work longer retain higher levels of energy and mental alertness, reduce their chances of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and retain a continued sense of purpose and belonging. However, for most ‘unretirees’, the biggest advantage of staying in the workforce is the ability to generate additional income and having more years to save towards retirement.”
To continue reading, please click here.
Heading for retirement? Click here to read more.
The day you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. You’re retired and have plenty of free time. However, if you’ve devoted 40 or more hours a week to building a career, you might find you’re a bit bored when you have a less structured schedule. Fortunately, finding a retirement hobby or two can keep you entertained and fill the void in a fun way.
Great hobbies to try if you’re bored in retirement
Maybe you’ve never possessed the skill to draw or paint, but you have a passion for arts and crafts. Pour painting utilises acrylic paints and a floating medium to help people come up with unique abstract art.
Once you’re more familiar with the techniques, you can add pour paint to almost anything you might imagine, such as a vase, wood, cups, and even furniture. You’ll also learn about things such as creating cells and patterns. While pour painting isn’t totally predictable, part of the fun is seeing what you come up with each time.
Take up golfing
Golfing isn’t anything unique to retirees. Learning the benefits of taking up a sport later in life can help you see the many advantages of this pastime and why people spend their days on the green.
Studies show physical activity, such as walking through nine or 18 holes of golf, reduces the risk of diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart attacks. It also gives you a social outlet, which can prevent depression and improve self-esteem.
Perhaps you golfed when you were younger to network with business connections. Now, you can play the sport for fun and take your time getting through a full course.
Write your memoir
One of the best hobbies for retirement is sharing your story with future generations. Did you get a bit wild during the 1970s? Maybe you started a revolution on your college campus, helped rescue homeless dogs in your 20s, or experienced a pivotal moment in history.
Make your hobby writing about the big events of your life so your grandchildren and great-grandchildren can look back on them later. Imagine if Laura Ingalls Wilder had never written a diary about her youth on the frontier. You have a story to tell and you should share it.
Learn a new language
Since many people travel during retirement, making it a hobby to learn a new language can be practical as well as fun. With apps like Babble or local community college classes, you can easily figure out all the basics of any language.
You could even learn sign language and volunteer at a local deaf school or as an interpreter for a nonprofit organisation.
Start a vlog
What if you could combine hobbies in retirement with bringing in some extra income?
Just because you continue working for a while doesn’t mean you can’t partially retire. If your funds allow it, you can start that business venture you always wanted or create an online video blog, monetising it for residual income.
Not sure how to shoot a video, upload it or monetise it? Ask any of your grandchildren or younger friends. They can help you get up and running quickly and explain the ins and outs of the latest tech. Most of the work is intuitive once you have a basic understanding.
Eat through South Africa
Do you adore food? Make it your goal to eat throughout South Africa. If possible, travel to each province and eat the dish that the place is famous for.
If you don’t have the budget to travel but you love to cook, you can still try each dish from each province on the map. Get a taste of the country and all its regional specialties while improving your skills in the kitchen.
Start a fairy garden
One idea that comes up over and over on retirement hobbies lists is gardening. However, why not embrace something truly whimsical and create a fairy garden for your grandchildren? If you live at the edge of a forest, you can create a really fun woodland-themed garden. However, any corner of your garden will do.
You can spend time creating miniature houses and pathways and adding figures as you find them. Buy fairy houses or make it your hobby to go to thrift stores and flea markets to find things you can repurpose for the fairies.
Participate in goat yoga
You already know staying physically active is good for your well-being. However, the way you work out changes as you get older. Rather than taking another walk in the same neighborhood, look for unique workout challenges such as goat or puppy yoga.
As you try to complete the poses, baby goats or cute dogs pounce all around and make it impossible to concentrate. We dare you not to laugh during a session. Laughter is good for the soul, so go ahead and find a class near you.
Does the sky lighting up with fingers of electricity excite you? Perhaps tornadoes are your penchant. If you love nothing more than a bit of excitement, storm chasing might be an excellent hobby for you after retirement.
The National Weather Service (NWS) estimates there are around 10,000 severe storms, half as many floods, and about 1,000 tornado events each year in the United States. NWS offers classes around the country as part of its SKYWARD Storm Spotter Program. Most classes are free and last around two hours. While not every graduate of SKYWARN becomes storm chasers, some do.
Perhaps you aren’t scared of a crowd and love a good story. Stand-up comedy might be the perfect outlet for you. Start by performing for family and friends. Once you feel comfortable with your routine, look for comedy clubs with an open mic night and sign up to test your spiel.
Whether or not you become the next Trevor Noah, you can make the people around you laugh and add a bit of joy to their lives. It will give you something to focus on that makes the world a better place through a smile or two.
Good retirement hobbies for people who have fierce competitive spirits involve some form of competition. Think about the things you enjoyed doing before retirement and how you might join a group or contest to showcase your talents.
Have you loved a particular video game for a while? There’s probably a competition for it. Do you enjoy fitness? Enter a senior bodybuilding competition.
Gaze at the stars
Have the night skies always fascinated you? Spend time behind a telescope and learn to spot the different systems in the galaxy. If you live near a university, they might have a planetarium so you can take in the sky up close.
Learn about the myths and legends surrounding the different stars, particularly those named after Greek mythology.
Forage for plants
Do you want to get back to the practices of your ancestors? Learn how to forage in your local forests and come up with edible mushrooms and medicinal plants. Knowing what is poisonous and what isn’t can become useful in a food shortage.
Survival skills are often a thing of the past in the highly technological world we live in. Learning about living off the land benefits your budget and gives you a useful skill to pass down to your descendants.
Listen to others and consider their interests!
Ask other people what their hobbies are and listen to what they’re passionate about. You never know what you might fall in love with.
In retirement, hobbies not only help you keep your physical and mental health in check, but they also allow you to learn new things.
Will Craig, Founder and CEO of ELDR, wrote the following article, published on 19 March 2023, on the Travel Awaits website:
10 Tips For Structuring Your Day In Retirement
“The idea of kicking back with “nothin’ to do” in retirement sounds fabulous in young adulthood or middle age when life can feel overloaded, so it comes as something of a surprise that a major complaint about retirement is having “nothin’ to do.” To be fair, the contradictory complaint of “too many options” remains a common grumble among retirees as well, leaving us with the classic insight every kindergarten teacher, clergy member, and cruise director will offer: People need structure.
Freedom from choices or prioritization is appealing, but all it takes is one frustrated late afternoon wondering where the day went for most of us to recognize we needed a little more design. The blessing and the curse of our jobs have been they told us who we were, where to go, and what to do most of any given week. Exiting that phase of life is mostly a boon; each of us just has to make it so with some forethought. The need to have a plan is no less true at home than when we travel.
What follows are 10 recommendations for structuring your day in retirement to create the right balance of freedom and goal orientation. You’ll notice that some inter-relate, such as adding novelty through your nourishment. If 10 is too many for you or some of them aren’t your cup of tea, pick the top three that resonate for you and put them to use!
- Start With A Plan
Your first hour is when you craft the narrative for what the day will be like. Whether you wake up grumbling or radiating light, carve out a moment for yourself to decide the theme of the day. What do you want it to feel like? Any specific outcomes in mind? You can accomplish this in many ways, such as jotting a phrase on the kitchen eraser board or journaling for half an hour, but prescribe what winning means for this particular day.
Pro Tip: “I’m ‘Off Duty’ and deeply relaxed” is a perfectly good option.
Bonus: Pick a theme song for the day.
- Create Daily Rituals
The root of the word “ritual” is rite, a sacred act. Rituals are moments in our lives we consciously devote to expressing our values or our gratitude and feeling tuned in to something greater than ourselves. Some people conduct rituals through contact with the natural world, others through religious customs. Identify where this already exists in your day and can be enhanced, or if it needs to be introduced.
Pro Tip: The difference between a ritual and a routine is the consciousness we devote to it. This is about presence of mind.
Bonus: Ask someone you respect what their rituals are.
- Establish Routines, Then Repeat
Routines are no less important than rituals. Functional habits are an asset to our longevity because of what they accomplish for us on a streamlined, unconscious basis. Are the nightly “sweet dreams” texts to your sibling or the daily clearing of your emails sacred acts? Maybe not, but it’s the very predictability and effectiveness of our routines that provide the canvas onto which we can add a splash of color to our lives.
Pro Tip: Drop a routine you should have stopped ages ago (Still paying for a newspaper?) and add a new one that’s overdue (How about a ripe piece of fruit before lunch?).
Bonus: Copy someone else’s routine that seems to work for them.
- Experience Something New
You heard it here first! Okay, maybe not, but you should still add a little novelty to your day. Even driving different routes gets our brains firing, and following our curiosity either spontaneously or with more sophisticated planning not only makes life more interesting; it makes us more interesting. Researching your next travel plans counts — the learning and the anticipation are just as essential to the fun as the travel itself.
Pro Tip: Museums change their exhibitions periodically — same site, new museum. Get back in there!
Bonus: Try a new healthy food every week. The worst-case scenario is you get to complain about how bad it was.
- Keep Moving
Every single day. Every day. Get out for a walk at the least, and running errands on foot counts. If you’re more interested in sports and achieving personal bests, build that into your day, or do your screen time on a treadmill or stationary bike. Fitness and movement practices now are the defining behavior of the quality and ease of your longevity later. Bring your water thermos and drink up!
Pro Tip: The enemy is sarcopenia (loss of muscle as we age). A little exertion goes a long way.
Bonus: If you’re a solo exerciser, more power to you, but get a buddy and combine your routines to add a little novelty and a lot of support in follow-through.
- Make Social Connections
No, not social media. Do that to whatever extent it interests you, but be sure to build into each day some meaningful voice-to-voice social contact. That could mean lunch with a friend, a regular phone call or video meet-up, or routinely convening with acquaintances to play a game and shoot the breeze.
Pro Tip: Every other human being needs social contact, too. Plan to make some invitations, and also be ready to discuss changes if a stale social routine needs re-design work.
Bonus: People like to help. An easy way to convert acquaintances into friends is by asking them to pitch in on a volunteer action with you.
- Enjoy Quiet Time
Even the most extroverted of us need some balance of “blessed solitude” to turn within for reflection or to have the feeling of “nothing going on” that we need. This is especially critical in the transition into retirement when we might discover a commute to and from work was giving us digestive time that we can no longer rely upon, or we suddenly have triple the time with a spouse or community members. Sometimes less is more.
Pro Tip: This is a proverbial Band-Aid removal conversation. It might be awkward to say “I need more time to myself,” but people get it and things will work so much better having had the dialogue.
Bonus: Caregivers absolutely must design the recharge of their own batteries, whether they gravitate to the role by personality or are thrust into it by circumstance.”
To read the rest of the article covering: Discover Your Purpose, Establish Good Eating Habits, and Reassess At The End Of The Day, click here.
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. To contact us, click here.
Jason Appel wrote on Moneyweb on 21 Oct 2022: “Should I move into a retirement village? The factors to consider, and what to know about the ownership deals you will be faced with.” (Jason Appel is a financial planner at Chartered Wealth Solutions.)
“One of the most difficult choices to make in life’s journey is whether or not to move into a retirement village, and on what terms.
Weighing up the pros and cons is hugely personal, and circumstances vary from person to person. You might, for example, be a single older person with no children, or married and with adult children who have left the nest, or married and now looking after grandchildren, or still supporting adult children.
Whatever the case, many people get to a point where they’re quietly thinking about whether or not they should or could move into a retirement village. And one of the most important things to wrap your head around, if you do make the move, is what sort of property contract you should enter into.
There are three possibilities offered in retirement villages:
- life rights,
- freehold and
- sectional title.
Life rights essentially mean that once you pass away and your unit is resold, your estate gets back the amount you paid for the property, minus some costs, but not any profit made on the sale. However, it does come with other benefits; which I will explain later in the article.
Most retirement complexes no longer offer outright ownership. Internationally, it’s mostly life rights, but we’re still getting used to it in South Africa.
Ownership versus life rights
I did an exercise for my parents comparing ownership to life rights, and was surprised by what I found.
You can generally get a life rights unit at a lower cost than outright ownership. You do pay levies, but these cover all external maintenance, security, perhaps a meal a day, and the fact that there’s a maintenance team on the property to respond quickly to any problems. Levies also cover the care of the garden, a swimming pool if there is one, and all communal areas.
I looked at:
|Cost of property
|R2 000 000
|R2 500 000
|Transfer cost and taxes
|Rates and taxes
|R2 000-R3 000pm (estimate)
Life rights costs R500 000 less in this example; there are no transfer costs and there are no ongoing rates and taxes every month.
With an outright purchase, if you add the rates and taxes to the levies, you will be paying R6 500 to R7 500pm as opposed to R4 000pm.
The saving of R500 000 on capital outlay should, of course, be invested.
If it was placed in a diversified investment strategy (targeting a return of 10% per annum), it could create an additional R2 000 in income per month while still experiencing growth. If this extra income is not needed on a monthly basis, it will just compound in the investment portfolio.
The saving on monthly levies/rates and taxes, would of course also result in needing less monthly income out of your current investments. A reduction in expense of R3 000pm would add five to six years on to the longevity of your assets. The best way to improve the longevity of a retired person’s plan is to reduce their expenses – a little goes a long way.
If you go for life rights, you forgo the capital appreciation in the property’s value. This growth is hard to estimate, as residential property valuations vary quite drastically. I would suggest that people consult their financial planners before making the decision.
One of the main benefits of life rights is that if you live to a really old age, and you run out of money, you will not lose your home.
What happens is that the cost of your continued care is deducted from the capital amount you paid upfront. For example, if you paid R1.5 million for a flat, and the village cares for you for an extra few years after your money runs out, after selling the unit your estate will get the R1.5 million minus the care costs. (There may well be other deductions too, such as a sales commission and/or an amount to refurbish the unit for the next purchaser.)
People sometimes avoid life rights because the feeling is that their heirs will lose out on the initial investment. However, I would rather know my parents were being well cared for and that there is no risk of having to put in extra money down the line. It really helps me knowing that’s taken care of.
From a pure numbers point of view, it’s better to invest in a retirement village earlier rather than later.
A person buying in at 50 or 72 gets the same value over time, so the younger person will ultimately get a better deal. However, most people are not ready to even talk about it in their 50s.
An added consideration, though, is that most places have a waiting list. You’ll pay a small amount to be placed on it, but if you get the call before you’re ready, you can decline and you’ll be pushed down a spot on the list. But some places have a maximum age restriction while some will say you’re restricted to a smaller unit if you’re at an advanced age.
So it is better to move in before your age becomes a problem, but only you will know at what point you are ready.
The three contracts explained
As Rob Jones, managing director of Shire Retirement Properties, explains: “You own the land and building, it’s your responsibility, you pay rates and taxes and there is a registered title deed in your name. You can leave it to your heirs and any gains in value would be for you. There may be some exit levy to pay to the complex, but it differs from place to place.”
With this option, says Jones: “You own a portion of the building, say an apartment or townhouse. You will have a title deed and you can leave it to your estate. You are responsible for internal maintenance, while the body corporate takes responsibility for outside maintenance as a general rule. You pay for that in your levies of course. There may be some exit levy to pay to the complex, but it differs from place to place.”
“Essentially it’s a lease for the rest of your life,” says Jones. “You’re paying upfront for the occupation of the building for you and your spouse for the remainder of your lives.”
Details differ from village to village, but usually it means that if you pass away and your unit is sold, your estate will get back the amount you paid, but not any portion of the increase in value (gain).
“In some estates a share of the profit will be paid to your estate, in others you will get back a bit less than you originally paid,” says Jones.
The levies cover all external maintenance, rates and taxes and common service costs such as security and common garden maintenance. Additional services are often included such as meals, cleaning and laundry.
Life rights can be a bit cheaper as a capital investment, says Jones, because the developer knows he can make profit over and over again, as he resells the unit over the years. “In essence, the life rights village owner wants to look after the building because he wants to resell it.”
To read the rest of the article on Moneyweb’s website, click here.
Shire offers development consulting to Property Developers in the planning and the execution of all key elements of new retirement villages. To contact us, click here.
Founded, sponsored and hosted by Rob Jones from Shire Retirement Properties and Lynda Smith from Refirement Network, Red Wine & Blue Jeans, is a 6-part series of podcasts that explores how to live the second half of life in the best way possible. Listen to the stories of people who, like red wine and blue jeans, just get better as they age.
To listen to a short conversation between Rob and Lynda about why they wanted to do this series, click here.
Executive Director, Board member and volunteer: Karen Borochowitz from Dementia SA, discusses her journey with her mother who was diagnosed in the early 90’s with dementia at the age of 62. She passed away at 83 after living with dementia for 21 years, a time which had a profound impact on Karen’s life. To listen to the conversation with Karen, click here.
Arthur Case has had a variety of careers. Firstly he worked as a human resources executive. He became a CEO in the pharmaceutical industry and then worked as a consultant. He eventually moved into the retirement industry which he left at the age of 66. Arthur has reinvented himself as an entrepreneur and has more time now to pursue his hobbies, one of them is to explore the world on a motorbike. Listen to Arthur’s story over here.
Dr Jim Leatt had a prestigious career in academia. His fields of interests were religious studies, industrial relations and applied ethics. In 1985 he was Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Principle at UCT and in the early 90’s was appointed Vice Chancellor at the University of Natal. In 2008 he was asked to help turn around the University of Venda. In 2021 he published his book: ‘Conjectures – Living With Questions’, which is a written legacy to his lifelong exploration of the meaning of life. Click here to listen to Jim.
Jennifer Webster was diagnosed with Stargardts disease at the age of 10, a juvenile onset form of Macular Degeneration. She managed to complete mainstream schooling and has a BA Honours from Rhodes University. Married with grown up children she now spends her time helping to find solutions and encouraging others along the journey of vision loss.
Simone Le Hane has come a long way from growing up under apartheid. She attributes her strength and determination to get on in life, to the older women in her family who were wise and feisty roll models. Simone studied at UCT which was the start of her lifelong learning. Her first job was at Shell and she was eventually recruited by the Department of Finance under the new democratic government and in 2000 was instrumental in the creation of the modern national treasury. She has had an illustrious career in the corporate and government sector. Now at 67, she is reinventing the next chapter of her life. Click here to listen to Simone.
As todays’ retiree’s lifestyle preferences continue to change, retirement offerings will have to adapt. The major difference between the former traditional retirement properties and those being developed today boils down to these lifestyle changes.
One of many amenities that constitute a successful lifestyle and retirement village, is a clubhouse. The clubhouse is not a luxury, but it summarises how a happy and healthy lifestyle should be.
A clubhouse is, in fact, the hub of all recreational activities under one roof. It is a place where each member of the family can find their space. It usually consists of a library, restaurant, chapel, gym, conference room and possibly a heated swimming pool and a hair & beauty salon. Apart from this, in many of the modern designs, there are outdoor courts. A one-roof solution for all recreation and fitness activities of a community.
Clubhouses are a great way to socialise. Since these clubhouses provide a common area to gather and engage in activities, it often brings people together. Moreover, it makes socialising pretty much easier without even going out of the gates of the community where you live.
For fitness enthusiasts, clubhouses are a great deal. This is where the gyms usually fit in. Most lifestyle and retirement villages come with a world-class gymnasium. With modern and good pieces of equipment, it helps in remaining fit and healthy.
Yet another advantage of having a spacious clubhouse is that it contains event holding spaces. Usually, there will be large open areas in a clubhouse which is used for gatherings and various social events.
For residents who enjoy reading, a library eliminates the need to go out of the estate in search of public reading spaces.
A clubhouse in a retirement village is a place which fosters community living. It brings people out of their homes and enables them to form part of a greater community.
These days people are more selective when it comes to buying a retirement home. Buyers are on the lookout for many factors and of course all of these factors together contribute to the value of their purchase. One such factor is the availability of a clubhouse. It has turned from a luxury to a necessity and thus an elementary part of retirement village living.
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. To view the villages that Shire is involved with, click here.
“If you’re working from home during the pandemic, and the “new normal” becomes permanent, you should contemplate how this change could affect your retirement strategy.
First, it’s important to consider the difference between working from home (WFH) and working from anywhere (WFA). In a WFH arrangement, employers may still expect workers to come to the office from time to time. But in a WFA arrangement, employees have the flexibility to live and work from wherever they choose.
A WFA scenario offers maximum freedom and may allow a worker to relocate to another part of the country (or even outside of it altogether) to take advantage of a lower cost of living.
WFA is not nearly as common as WFH. In 2019, few companies based in the U.S. offered WFA arrangements, with about 95% of remote employees required to work from a set location. However, Household Pulse Survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that more than 35% of U.S. households have engaged in more frequent telework than prior to the COVID-19 crisis.
Remote Work Can Be a Retirement Game-Changer
Working anywhere other than the office may reap significant cost savings for employees in a variety of areas, including:
- Cheaper housing
- Lower transportation costs
- Fewer socializing and entertaining expenses
- Reduced purchases and upkeep for work attire
- Greater ability to handle child and adult caregiving duties
Retire sooner. With a substantial drop in housing or caregiving costs, you may find that you can retire sooner than you’d hoped. Taking advantage of a lower cost of living can bend the retirement timeline significantly. You may not have to move very far for this to make a big difference, particularly if your job requires you to reside in a major city, where the cost of just about everything is often much more expensive.
Work Longer. On the other hand, WFH may give some the flexibility and desire to continue working past retirement age. For example, if an employee has health or mobility limitations, working from home may make it easier to stay in the workforce longer. Additionally, employees nearing retirement may have parents who require assistance, and having the kind of flexibility that WFH or WFA affords them may allow them to fulfill their family obligations while remaining on the job.
The pandemic has created significant hardships and burdens for many families. The possibilities for continuing remote work may constitute a bright spot in the darkness.”
If sitting around just isn’t your thing, then retirement is the perfect time to live out the dreams you may have put on hold. Simply filling empty hours with pointless recreation may feel like the opposite of freedom for many of the 72 million U.S. baby boomers, who have worked their entire lives. Launching your own business may be your ideal “retirement lifestyle.” Here are some good reasons to start a business in retirement.
Heading for retirement?
A psychiatrist’s advice for maintaining wellbeing
Netcare Akeso – Media Release
Taking an active interest in maintaining general health and wellbeing in one’s golden years should include paying close attention to the connection between mental and physical health, memory and social connectedness.
This is according to Dr Ryan Fuller, a psychiatrist specialising in geriatric mental health – or mental health of the aged – and practising at the Memory Care units at Netcare Akeso Alberton and Netcare Akeso Parktown, who says that while retirement is intended to be a period of relaxation, this major life change can in fact be an enormous stressor, possibly triggering a decline in one’s mental as well as physical health.
“When people retire they often experience what we call existential angst, feeling a sense of dread brought on by what they may view as a loss of identity. It is also unfortunately the case that few people plan adequately for retirement, which contributes towards stress levels,” Dr Fuller says.
“We see a significant increase in the mortality rate amongst retired men in particular, who tend to experience weakened immune systems and whose physical health may deteriorate when they stop working. It is often recommended that men should not retire fully for this reason.”
Dr Fuller notes that physical factors such as chronic diseases including high blood pressure or diabetes can also contribute towards mental health concerns by placing individuals at risk of vascular dementia, brought on by damage to the brain’s blood vessels caused by a stroke, for example.
“The best thing you can do for yourself in your golden years is to commit to making consistent daily efforts in maintaining a lifestyle which supports overall health and wellbeing,” he says.
What’s good for the heart is good for the brain
Fuller’s advice is to keep it simple and stick to the basics of good health.
“What is good for the heart is also good for the brain, so if you are eating healthily, being physically active, getting enough sleep, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding smoking, you are working from a good baseline. Simply going for a 20 minute walk each day has been shown to benefit every aspect of your health, provided you are walking somewhere safe.
“When it comes to nutrition, eating a Mediterranean diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and very little red meat is by far the most sensible way to look after your heart. Regular hydration is essential and is often a problem area amongst elderly individuals, who may have mobility issues and therefore avoid drinking to limit visits to the bathroom. This is not a good idea, as it is vital to drink at least 1.5L to 2L of hydrating fluid daily. This also means avoiding too much caffeine as this is a diuretic.
Stay busy, keep learning and be social
For boosting the mind, Dr Fuller advises keeping a hand written diary, as the process of writing is good for memory. “Engaging in activities such as knitting or needlework, adult colouring books, listening to your favourite music, doing puzzles, sudoku and word searches are all good for cognition. It is very important to try new things such as learning a language or skill to continue cognitive development,” he says.
“Keep things short and sweet – you need spend no more than 15 to 20 minutes on such tasks. It is important that you enjoy what you are doing and that you don’t find it stressful. Playing Bridge is one of the best things you can do for your mind as this includes a social element as well. Getting out into the world and socialising in person is an important form of cognitive stimulation and highly beneficial for mental health.
“For those who enjoy short bursts of digital interaction there are some useful apps available, such as Lumosity for cognitive exercise and Calm for helping with stress and sleeping, though too much screen time is not advisable, as an excess of blue light can cause insomnia.
“On that note, it is important to get enough uninterrupted sleep without the use of sleeping pills, as long term use of this type of medication is a risk factor for dementia. Exercise and cognitive activity during the day are important for becoming naturally tired and ready to sleep at night.
“Freud said that to be happy, humans need someone to love, to be loved and something to do. Jung took this one step further by saying that what we do must be meaningful – whether this is in a spiritual or personal sense, it must generate some kind of personal satisfaction.
“Paying attention to mental health should be a part of daily life, no matter your age, and it is certainly an important aspect of ageing well. Just as you practice habits like flossing your teeth, you should do daily mental exercises. And just as you would visit your GP for any physical concerns, it is important to be proactive and reach out for mental help when going through a stressful time or a major life change, such as retirement,” concludes Dr Fuller.
IOL’s Palesa Tlholoe, wrote the following article in the April 2022 edition of Money Mag. Palesa wrote:
“Retirement villages are governed by the Housing Development Scheme for Retired Persons Act, which imposes certain conditions on developers and residents. There are four types of ownership, with some developments based on one type and others offering a choice between two or more types:
- Freehold title
This is essentially the same as owning a freestanding home, with the same rights, expenses and responsibilities, except that, because the home is within a gated community setting, there will be a monthly levy to cover services such as maintenance of the common areas, security, catering and healthcare. Some developments will retain a certain portion of the profits on resale, as a way of subsidising the levies owners pay.
- Sectional title
This is similar to sectional title in a non-retirement development, where rates, insurance and maintenance of the complex is funded by a monthly levy. The scheme will have a board of trustees and a body corporate, through which all owners have a say in decision-making. As with a freehold title scheme, the developer carries no responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and cost management aspects once the development has been built; the onus falls on the owners or residents to do so.
- Life right
You buy the right to live in a dwelling for your life and that of your spouse – you don’t actually own physical property. There are no legal costs, transfer duties or other taxes payable. You may dispose of your life right or it will be sold on your death, in which case you or your estate will, depending on the contract, receive the purchase price plus a percentage (say, 30%) of the profit. When a life right transfers to a spouse on the death of the firstdying spouse, it does not form part of the firstdying spouse’s estate. Residents, who pay a monthly levy to cover running costs, enjoy similar privileges to those in sectional title homes; the developer, however, remains the sole owner and is responsible for the upkeep of the village.
- Share block.
Under this structure, which is now less common, the complex is registered in the name of a shareblock company, and each unit is allotted a certain number of shares in the company. You purchase shares, which give you the right to use a flat, cottage or townhouse and the complex’s facilities, but you do not own your dwelling. There is typically an AGM at which shareholders elect directors to the board. Directors meet throughout the year to discuss how the property is to be managed. Shareholders pay levies that cover operating costs, including maintenance and insurance. If you decide to sell, you need to sell your shares in the property and cede your rights to occupy the unit.”
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