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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Ever wondered when is the right time to move into a retirement village? Click here to find out.
Money Mag’s Martin Hesse wrote in the April 2022 issue: “WHEN’S THE RIGHT TIME TO MOVE INTO A RETIREMENT VILLAGE?”
“Moving into a retirement community is a big decision for retirees and their families, and there are many considerations to take into account.
Retirement villages offer the advantages of independent living in your own space, without the time-consuming maintenance of your own home and there is anecdotal evidence that such a lifestyle even boosts your life expectancy, thanks to the amenities they offer.
But how do you know the time is right to make such a move? And once this decision has been made, how do you choose the accommodation best for you? This is a very subjective decision and one that is often taken when people’s health starts to fail. The vast majority of people leave it later than they should. The increase in stress levels of moving home is directly proportional to the age of the mover. Everyone handles stress differently, so this is not a universal law, but moving at 65 is generally far less stressful than moving home at 75. One needs to be proactive and understand that age-related illnesses come upon one suddenly. The retiring baby-boomer generation is more proactive in this regard and there are more people moving into mature lifestyle villages in their late 50s early 60s, which is the ideal time, bearing in mind modern villages cater for an active lifestyle.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR MOVING
- Physical health: In later life, the importance of being able to access medical care quickly and easily while not breaking the bank, will become a priority, so having healthcare facilities and trained professionals close at hand means that you will be able to enjoy your golden years without worrying unduly about these unforeseen eventualities.
- Mental health: Loneliness, boredom and social isolation become a reality as you age, particularly if you’re stuck behind high walls in the suburbs, nursing a spouse, or no longer able to drive. Retirement villages however are home to vibrant communities of elderly people who are keen to make new friendships, to stay active, and even to learn new skills.
- Home and garden maintenance: Cooking, cleaning and gardening all get much more difficult as you age, and keeping up with home maintenance can be both onerous and costly. In modern retirement villages, professional teams take care of home maintenance, gardening, healthcare, housekeeping, laundry, and catering.
- Security: At most professionally run retirement villages, 24-hour security is part of the package. And if you do go away on holiday, you can simply lock up and go, knowing your home is safe and secure.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT VILLAGE
It is advisable for prospective purchasers to visit at least five villages to make comparisons and also to draw up a comprehensive list of questions that should be satisfactorily answered by the salesperson. The list will be long but should always start with security, which is paramount. A wall or electrified fence and gatehouse alone are not sufficient. Security should include 24/7 CCTV monitoring of the fence line in a professionally operated control room with an armed response back-up.
Other questions to ask relate to health-care provision, the monthly levy and what it covers, community life and facilities, and the financial strength of the body corporate. Buyers must obviously also check that prices and payment options suit their budgets.
INDEPENDENCE WITHIN A COMMUNITY
Many senior living communities are aware that retired people don’t want to give up their independence; they simply want a structure that is beneficial to their needs and lifestyle. Retirement neighbourhoods can use technology, expert service providers, and a wealth of options for living, eating, enjoying exercise and entertainment to ensure that residents are independent and happy. On the other hand, living in a retirement community lessens isolation, provides security, companionship and care, and this has especially been the case during Covid restrictions, which have seen older people facing intense isolation. Living in a senior community can help residents create relationships with peers, carers, and service providers, and feel less alone. Many senior living communities allow pets, or in other cases, certain types of pets such as one small dog. Some facilities may offer care for pets if residents cannot care for their pets alone.
Enjoying leisure activities with friends, such as playing bridge or participating in a book club, have been found to protect cognitive skills. Physical activity, such as walking and hiking, gardening or yoga, is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Senior living communities also reduce the incidence of falls, one of the leading causes of injury and death. The likelihood of a fall going unnoticed in a senior community is low, as well-lit and clutter-free living areas prevent falls, and exercise and physical therapy can reduce their instances and severity.
MEDICAL CARE AND AMENITIES
Before choosing a senior living community, you should assess the level and quality of healthcare the community provides. Is there a frail care section? Does it have intermediate assisted-living accommodation? You should also confirm the community’s procedures in the event of an emergency, their disaster preparedness, and which hospitals will be used if admission is necessary. This will help ensure a person receives the right level of care and can avoid revisions to their routines after they move in.”
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Retiring may be the hardest part about retirement. It’s not unusual to get cold feet. But you don’t want to work forever either, so what do you do? Here are some coping tips to get you over the hump. To read more, click here.
Lynda Smith is the CEO of 50+ Skills and Refirement Network – a business involved in helping organisations and Individuals 50+ to understand the opportunities and challenges that the future holds for this demographic group. She is an accredited retirement coach in South Africa through Retirement Options USA.
“Longevity gifts us with more years and choices that need to be made around life, work, and family. In our parents’ generation the establishment of “old age” homes and nursing facilities were a choice many made as part of their plan beyond their working life. The next generation, known to many as the baby boomers are now aged 56 to 74. They have many more options and choices. Let’s look at what these may be. In many cases, two generations will be living side by side, but may have quite different needs.
- Current Old Age homes that have large numbers of residents 75-100
- New Life Rights type villages with cottages and apartments.
- New Sectional Title Villages for an Over 50 Market.
- Choosing to stay in an inter-generational community close to family.
- Remaining in your own home and bringing in services as you need them.
- Downsizing from your larger home into something smaller.
This new generation is larger in size and is currently being bombarded with many choices. This generational group has seen the world change greatly over their 56-74 years of life. Each shared cultural moment affected their values, beliefs, and mindsets—creating new generational ideals different from their parents in the Silent Generation. Values like individualism, independence, control, and value define their thinking. Many in this generation are familiar with the concept of “old age” homes as they helped their parents make these decisions and have engaged over the past 20 years in what this model offers. Some of these perceptions may be positive, but many may not be. This can have an impact on sales into this style of living looking to market to the next generation.
Some of the marketing messages that are key for this generation can include the following:
- Health and Wellness facilities
- Reliable Fibre Network Solutions
- Choices around equity and growth of property
- Customized services and personalisation.
- Care services in their homes on demand
- Business services
- Close location to great shopping centres and medical facilities
- Remaining an active part of the larger community
Within this cohort of baby boomers, the needs will differ. The older group may align more easily with some of the current status quo, but the younger group will demand much more as they enter this market. Managing agents and developers need to be prepared for this potential market.
The challenges from the market are also varied and causing other challenges that need to be addressed. The sale of primary homes is taking longer, and prices have dropped. Sadly, this is the most divorced generation ever to enter this season of life and many cannot afford that current offering. Many have not managed to complete work to the age of 65 for a variety of reasons and this presents less money to invest for this season. High levies could also be impacting a sale.
There are challenges on both sides of this opportunity and developers and owners of retirement homes, need to do deep research to ensure that there are a range of possibilities that meet the needs of the current market. Please also ensure that your sales teams are equipped and ready to deal with this new generation coming your way. Individuals need to understand the different opportunities, ask the right questions, and make sound decisions to ensure that this season of life is filled with the best that life has to offer for them.”
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. Click here for details of projects that Shire has contributed to.
“As the socio-demographic group most at risk of falling severely ill or even dying after contracting COVID-19, there’s no doubt that the over-60’s has been the worst affected by the pandemic. However, the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the older generation reaches beyond the risks to their physical health.
“To make matters worse, the elderly are not only battling the physical health effects of the virus, they’re also facing the toll that the virus has taken on their mental health – thanks to COVID-imposed isolation”, explains Gus van der Spek (property developer and owner of a life rights company).
“Many elderly people across South Africa live alone and had already been struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness before the pandemic began, but with the very real threat of COVID-19, these issues only worsened.”
How an existing threat to elderly wellbeing was exacerbated by COVID-19
Loneliness and social isolation for those not living in retirement communities is a well-documented issue facing the older generation, brought on by factors such as the loss of a partner, having family emigrate, losing touch with friends and withdrawing from community activities.
“The physical and mental health risks to elderly people living in isolation are numerous: it increases the risk of premature death, dementia and is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide,” explains van der Spek.
The threat of COVID-19 forced even elderly people with community ties and family nearby to go into isolation. Government communication urged over-60’s to stay home as much as possible and family members and friends needed to stay away to reduce the risk of infecting the more vulnerable older generation. Churches and other community centres (which formed the basis of many of these individuals’ social lives) had to close their doors.
“To add to this, while the rest of the world turned to technology as a tool to keep them connected to loved ones, many elderly people struggled to adapt to these tools, especially those who lived alone with no one around to walk them through it,” adds van der Spek.
Community living as a lifeline
Thankfully, not all over-60’s were left to grapple with the physical and mental challenges of COVID-19 on their own. “Those residing in retirement communities were able to interact with their friends and friendly staff members on a daily basis,” he says.
While it is true that nursing homes and frail-care were hit particularly hard by COVID-19 as they were often the location for concentrated outbreaks, van der Spek explains that is unfortunately as a result of the close living conditions in these facilities and the underlying health conditions typically found in nursing home and frail-care residents.
“However, those who had opted to live in retirement lifestyle villages and estates were able to isolate in their own units, with plenty of space to themselves while still interacting safely ‘masked-up’ outdoors with other residents and staff when necessary”.
“Residents of these kinds of retirement communities were able to have the best of both worlds – they had the safety of their own units rather than a single room in close contact to other sick people, and they were able to interact with their neighbours safely outdoors within the boundaries of a safe, access-controlled environment,” he adds.
More senior living options to combat elderly isolation
Van der Spek says he is partly motivated by the desire to combat isolation amongst the elderly and to give them a home that promotes overall wellbeing. “Research indicates that community living has proven to significantly improve the physical and mental health and happiness of the older generation, and we’re proud that our Estate will soon be a part of those efforts.”
Six ways in which living in retirement lifestyle estates help to combat elderly isolation:
1) An abundance of new friends close by. “While there are obviously more ways to connect with your friends and neighbours without the threat of COVID-19, it is still possible to socialise with your neighbours outdoors, with masks on and while 1.5 metres apart.”
2) Staff on hand to talk through needs. “If residents are feeling lonely or that they have no one to talk to about their emotions, they know that professional staff are always on hand to listen and offer solutions where possible.”
3) Assistance with connecting to loved ones. “Many elderly people desperately want to video-chat with family and friends who they aren’t able to see in person, but they are unsure of how to go about it. The Estates staff are able to help get them set-up and comfortable with using these tools.”
4) Beautiful grounds to socialise safely outdoors. “If you’re not comfortable interacting closely with other people yet but would still like to see them and wave hello, many retirement villages feature beautiful gardens so that you don’t have to be stuck inside on your own all day.”
5) Access to top medical practitioners who can spot the signs of elderly people suffering from loneliness before it escalates. “As feelings of isolation can lead to depression, anxiety and even thoughts of suicide, it’s important to have access to medical practitioners who can identify and treat these symptoms.”
6) Smart technology that keeps a watchful eye. “Some retirement villages use smart technology such as sensors in the floor next to the resident’s bed to monitor if they’ve gotten up that day. This is primarily used as way to detect if a resident is ill but could also be used as an way to detect symptoms of depression.”
“Finally, once the threat of COVID-19 subsides, most retirement lifestyle villages and estates will organise regular community events and activities to encourage socialisation among residents and ensure that there is a strong sense of community to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly,” van der Spek concludes.”
Shire offers Development Consulting: Assisting Property Developers in the planning and execution of all key elements of new retirement villages. To contact us, click here.
Investopedia’s Julia Kagan and Marguerita Chenge wrote on 18 February 2021:
“Retirement isn’t just one phase of life but multiple phases, especially with today’s increased life expectancy and retirements that often last for 20 years or more. Each phase has its own rewards, as well as financial and emotional challenges. Here is how some experts define the phases of retirement.
What Are the Phases of Retirement?
Financial planners and other advisors sometimes divide retirement into three basic phases: an early, active phase when retirees may travel widely or embark on other adventures they had to put off during their career years, a more settled and somewhat less active phase, and a third phase in which the effects of aging begin to take a serious toll. In financial terms, the first phase tends to be expensive—often more so than when people were still working. Expenses generally drop during the second phase but pick up again in the third phase due to medical and/or nursing home expenses.
In the 1970s, the late sociologist Robert Atchley described a more elaborate six-phase process: pre-retirement, retirement, contentment, disenchantment, reorientation, and routine. While not everyone will experience all six of those phases, they can provide a useful framework for thinking about retirement.
Retirement, in Six Phases
Here is brief look at the six phases Atchley outlined, along with some of their financial and emotional implications.
This is the phase when people begin to think seriously about the life they want for themselves in retirement and whether they’re financially on track to achieve it. At least that’s what they should be doing—and not waiting until they’re right on the cusp of retirement to try to figure it all out.
Financial advisor Diane M. Manuel, CFP® CRPC®, with Urban Wealth Management in El Segundo, Calif., says: “We all think that shucking a routine, especially one that may only marginally make us happy, will be easy. Think again. This routine probably began in kindergarten—60-plus years of the same thing. Get up. Get dressed. Get lunch. Go out. Come home. Eat. Go to bed. Repeat.”
Manuel adds, “My recommendation to my clients is this: As you plan for retirement, think about what it looks like. Talk to your friends. Write about it. Create a storyboard. Be imaginative. Your financial plans and your day-to-day retirement plan should go hand in hand. This is your retirement identity.”
The big moment comes, and the retiree makes the transition from full-time work to the retirement they’ve planned for themselves. Work, possibly part-time, may still be a factor in the future if they enjoy working or need to supplement their retirement income. But now they are officially retirees.
Shanna Tingom, co-founder of Heritage Financial Strategies in Gilbert, Ariz., says, “The toughest transition most of my clients make is the one from working and saving to retirement and spending. It can be emotionally and financially harder than they ever expected. If they are younger retirees, and they have friends and family still working, it can also be very lonely, especially if they don’t have a plan.”
As Tingom sees it, “A proper retirement plan includes three things: a financial plan, a budget, and a FUN plan! The fun plan includes things that they want to do, places that they want to visit, and how much money is included in the budget for those things.”
This is a positive phase when retirees get to enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labor. It’s sometimes described as a honeymoon period. If the money holds out, this phase can last for a while.
Once the honeymoon is over, some retirees find themselves asking, “Is this it?” Even if they are doing fine financially, they may experience some of the emotional downsides of retirement, such as loneliness, disillusionment, and a feeling of uselessness.”
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- Training of sales teams in life rights and the sale of retirement properties
- Interactive workshops on considerations when buying your retirement home
- Continuous personal development of staff and others serving retirement villages.
After more than a year of living in a pandemic, many are experiencing heightened levels of physical and mental stress as the constant health risks and financial insecurity continue to impact lives. For high-risk communities, such as the more mature, this stress is compounded even further. With lockdown measures and the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic set to continue for some time yet, it’s vital that those looking into retirement to consider freedom, friendship and fitness, when choosing a place to stay.
Despite stringent lockdown regulations, residents of nature-based estates do not experience the sense of confinement suffered by those living in cities and apartments. Estates that boast 24-hour security allow residents to take full advantage of nature walks. Coastal retirement estates, in particular, have attracted significant attention throughout lockdown as people seek the expansive sea and mountain views and relaxed living.
The social distancing required to lower the risk of infection has shown the importance of human interaction in happy living. Retirement or mature-lifestyle estates tend to attract like-minded individuals that create a valuable sense of community through low-touch activities, events and socially-driven initiatives. This allows for residents to enjoy safe, social interaction while remaining engaged.
Physical health is connected to mental health and this is increasingly important as one ages. Doing some form of daily exercise will improve mental health among seniors. While maintaining optimum health during the pandemic has proved challenging for most, it’s a lot easier for those residing in nature-based retirement estates. There are many nature trails for running or walking as well as professionally-supervised exercise classes.
Living in lockdown with the freedom of movement, strong friendships and nature-based facilities that encourage improved overall fitness result in improved wellbeing and a quality lifestyle.
To read more about the developments and retirement villages that Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd. are involved with, click here.
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.
ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK writer – Connie Inukai, wrote the following on January 22, 2021:
“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.”
Six reasons to start a business in retirement
Studies have indicated that the average retiree will experience a significant health issue within six years of retirement, commonly including heart disease, stroke, arthritis and depression. Staying motivated, active and connected is the best way to combat health declines due to aging. Being active includes exercising daily. Exercise may seem like a daunting task, but it’s easier to be active than one might think. A great way to stay active is to start a business, which involves packing materials, going to the post office and attending networking events. All of this gets your blood pumping.
Keep mentally alert
The brain needs regular exercise, too. One way to improve your quality of life is by keeping your brain active through continuous learning. The day you stop learning is the day you start becoming old, no matter your biological age. Staying mentally active can reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Learning how to run a business and planning marketing campaigns will keep your brain active.
Pursue a passion
You don’t stop dreaming at 50. Find that niche that you are really passionate about. Research has shown that having a purpose in life can lead to a longer life. If the main goal is not to make money, then dig into your interests and hobbies and focus on something that brings you joy. If you enjoy woodworking or needlecraft, consider selling your handmade items online (e.g., Etsy) or at local fairs. When you have time on your hands, there are few barriers to turning your hobby into a business.
Supplement your pension or income
You may be relying on reduced income after you retire. A small business could provide support for staying on top of bills, paying down debt or tucking away for a rainy day. You might want to rethink your former career. For example, I used to be a college writing professor. I now use those skills to guide people in writing their life stories.
Maintaining strong social ties is essential for aging adults to feel a sense of purpose and avoid feelings of loneliness or depression. Nearly one-half of all older Americans report feeling lonely sometimes or always. Leaving a job may mean giving up most of your daily social interaction. By starting a business, you can replenish some of that interaction — with customers, suppliers, postal carriers and other professionals. There are also plenty of online communities for small-business owners where you can get advice and meet people with similar interests.
Give back to the community
- Volunteer at a school: Public schools, in particular, are chronically underfunded and in need of volunteers for a wide array of tasks: tutor, crossing guard and mentor. There are always kids and teachers who need some help.
- Work at a hospital: Volunteers receive thorough training for the particular positions and annual refresher courses are common, the American Hospital Association says. Some typical volunteer roles include visiting patients, working at the gift shop and assisting in blood drives.
- Get involved in politics: Volunteer for a political crusade, grassroots organization or political action committee. You can also work for a candidate you support.
- Help on a hotline: Suicide hotlines exist in almost every city, manned by volunteers. This is obviously an important — even life-saving — way to help. Help lines are also available for people who just need to hear another voice.
- Contact animal shelters and humane societies: Local animal shelters and humane societies need volunteers to care for animals, organize fundraising events, perform administrative tasks, and help rescue pets in the wake of natural disasters such as floods and fires.
The best retirement business ideas start with what you know. If the goal is not necessarily to make money, dig into your interests and hobbies, and choose something that brings you pleasure. If you are looking for something new, here are some ideas.
- Services. Babysitting, pet sitting, guiding tours and interior decorating are activities that can keep you physically active and social while focusing on your community and picking your own hours.
- Handcrafted goods. What are you already doing in your spare time? Things to make and sell might include soap, candles, jewelry and pottery.
- Courses. You have a wealth of life and work experience! How can you monetize what you know? Teaching online courses may require more work upfront, but it offers excellent margins and takes minimal effort in the long run. In addition, you can work from home.
Take control of your life
It just doesn’t make sense to throw away all your knowledge and experience just because of a particular date on the calendar. With life spans increasing, you could easily change your career when you’re 50 or 60 or embark on an exciting entrepreneurial venture for the next 20 to 30 years. So why be stuck in a dull retirement when you can take control of your life and do something interesting, rewarding and fulfilling while contributing to society at the same time?”
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Shire offers interactive workshops on considerations when buying your retirement home. To contact us, click here.
Bonnie Fourie from www.property360.co.za 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.