Retirement Living: Making The Best Choices For A Longer Life

The passé retirement days, when Grandma and Grandpa would spend the rest of their days sitting around on the porch, waiting for the grandkids to visit, are long gone. Today, once you’ve stopped working full-time, there’s still the opportunity for a lively and exciting life.

People are now retiring later and living longer. Issues such as safety, access to medical care, and a need for a continued quality lifestyle after you’ve stopped working, retirement villages are becoming increasingly appealing for South Africans. They are also making these things so much easier. But will the benefits really outweigh the cost of living there, and what do you need to know before applying?

An exciting new chapter

What’s your idea of retirement? Do you picture yourself sailing around the world and seeing new exciting places? Or would you rather slow down and enjoy the simple things you may not have been able to while in a full-time career?

Whatever your ideas, the choices you make around where you’ll be living are pretty crucial. Besides, we are making older bones than our parents did. According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, human lifespans are increasing with three years for each generation – and this trend isn’t slowing down any time soon. By choosing a retirement village, you make a lifestyle choice that lets you enjoy the time you now have available.

Besides, a lifestyle village usually comes kitted out with the necessary healthcare facilities and staff that you will eventually need. The village will still be your home when the time comes to be moved to a frail-care area. This means that you won’t be required to make a big move in your old age. Such a move can be extremely traumatic for the elderly. And on top of that, good lifestyle villages offer their clients many ways to interact with their neighbors and make friends. They also provide a large variety of activities when you’re at home.

Your social calendar will be fully booked

Arthur Case is the brand marketing director for Evergreen Lifestyle Villages. He explains that entertainment at their villages is arranged by both Evergreen and the residents themselves. The national hospitality manager is in charge of coordinating entertainment across all of the villages.

“There are an enormous amount of events and activities, including clubs (book, wine, bridge, photographic), social events, theme evenings and dinners, weekend braais, exercise classes, walking groups, and weekly happy hour at the bar. There are also church groups, presentations by residents, external speakers on interesting topics, and much more. Residents also go on outdoor excursions to places of interest. The adult children of one of our newer residents at Evergreen Broadacres, in Gauteng, claim that they never see their parents anymore because of their active social calendar!”

So what will you be needing in a retirement village?

1.  Community Living

In a good village, neighbors not only become friends but support each other in a variety of ways. Firm friendships lie at the heart of these fun-loving communities. The village encourages residents to spend time connecting with one another. Whether that’s at the regular games evenings, watching big matches together, or simply enjoying a chat over a good cup of coffee.

“We believe that only 25% of longevity is determined genetically, and 75% as a consequence of lifestyle,” says Case. “The sense of community in Evergreen villages is tangible. People who were previously lethargic get active and new friendships grow. You are only lonely at an Evergreen village if you choose to be, and few make this choice. Evergreen [also] supports an active aging philosophy. As a matter of interest, our youngest life-right holder is 60 years old and our oldest is 101… and he is still going strong!”

At the heart of each village is a state-of-the-art Lifestyle Centre. Here, residents can bond over shared interests at the many clubs and societies that meet regularly. The idea behind the design of these spaces is for them to be beautiful, warm, and welcoming. They typically include a lounge area, bistro, bar, library, games room, and entertainment area. In other words, everything is required to foster an authentic community. The Lifestyle Centres also provide the perfect settings for the many social events and gatherings that take place throughout the year.

2. Excellent healthcare facilities and expertise.

You will want the assurance that you will be well taken care of as you get older. This is why this is one of the most important factors to consider. You don’t want to have to relocate because care options aren’t available.

The Evergreen Life Right model gives residents security of tenure for life. Their commitment is to provide residents with a variety of options that take care of them over time, whatever their needs. These can range from primary healthcare to home-based, recuperative, frail or dementia care, and finally, palliative care should the need arise.

Continuous care means that, after purchasing an Evergreen life right, every element of care will be available to residents, so they never have to leave the estate,” explains Case. “Our smallest Care Centres are 2 000m² facilities with a minimum of 32 frail-care beds. The continuous care continuum we offer includes primary healthcare, home-based care, recuperative (post-surgical) care, frail care, dementia care, and palliative (end-of-life) care.

Alongside the personalized healthcare outlined above, they also offer the following health services in the villages:

  • Nurse-call alarms in each unit, which are monitored 24/7
  • 24/hour medical emergency assistance in all homes
  • Health Care Centres that are administered by trained nurses and carers
  • Monthly clinics and regular health checks

And active aging?

Health and fitness play a big role in ensuring a happy and independent retirement. Extensive village-based health and fitness programs support their active aging philosophy. Most of the villages also offer exercise facilities like a gym and pool, and there are often group exercise options available.

3. Proper physical security system.

Especially in South Africa, this is of paramount importance, and during your retirement years, you want to be able to sleep without worrying about crime impacting your lifestyle. A good retirement village will feature world-class physical security. At Evergreen, this includes:

  • strict access control
  • regular patrols
  • emergency assistance, with Telecare units in all homes to offer 24-hour emergency medical assistance.
  • regular security audits

4. The right location.

Are you dreaming about retiring by the coast? Or are you looking for something in the country? Whatever your preference is,  it’s still preferable to be close to your existing support network, friends and family. This is also true when it comes to the transition period. “The truth is that the majority of people retire close to where they have lived most of their lives, ie close to family and friends, support networks and familiar surroundings,” says Case. “Very few set off to a new retirement destination. The one exception is that parents often follow their adult children, who might live elsewhere in the country.”

5. A financially strong retirement brand.

This has to include strong shareholders, as well as a positive track record for operating retirement villages. This is because you need significant resources to run a modern lifestyle retirement village efficiently. “You can’t risk your retirement capital on anything less,” says Case.

The Evergreen Life Right gives users investment in a secure, stress-free and fully supported retirement lifestyle. And thanks to the many benefits that this accommodation option offers, you’ll be able to plan your financial future to ensure that your savings can support you throughout your retirement years.

  • Occupation for life

The beauty of an Evergreen Life Right is that it guarantees you and your partner or spouse a safe, secure home for the rest of your life. What’s more, the agreement is protected by the Housing Development Schemes for Retired Persons Act No. 65 of 1988.

  • Flexible pricing

Because potential life rights holders find themselves in different financial positions later in life, Evergreen offers flexible pricing solutions that can be tailored to suit individual circumstances. How does this work? If an Evergreen home or apartment is sold to a resident below the list price, they can adjust the percentage of capital returned to the resident’s estate on termination of the contract.

  • Transparent costs and levies 

money story | Longevity LIVE

When it comes to Life Right, there is no transfer duty, VAT, or registration fee. Besides, because the law stipulates that the first two years’ levies must be declared to you, you know exactly what to expect from the moment you sign the agreement. More good news is that there are no special levies in an Evergreen Life Right development as the developer, in this case, Evergreen carries all the costs associated with the upkeep of the village.

  • No maintenance costs

As a developer, Evergreen is responsible for maintaining, cleaning, painting, gardening, landscaping and securing the village. And because they continue to own the physical asset, it’s always in their best interest to ensure that their villages are kept in the best shape possible.

  • Emergency capital

Should you find yourself facing a financial crisis at any point during your retirement, Evergreen is in a position to release a portion of your capital to you to fund levies and Care Centre costs. In this instance, the capital due to your estate would be adjusted accordingly – much as it would be with the flexible pricing option.

Find your fit

Evergreen’s commitment is to ensure that your retirement is a happy, fulfilling chapter in your life. And it’s this commitment that forms the basis of their Partnership for Life promise, which guarantees that they always act in the best interests of their residents to provide peace of mind and quality of life in retirement. This partnership is based on four service pillars: physical security, financial peace-of-mind, continuous care and sense of community.

If you’d like to find out more about our Partnership for Life promise or visit any of our villages, get in touch with Sharon on 087 808 7000.

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