WORDS: MARANA BRAND :: IMAGES: SUPPLIED
The way in which people retire has changed significantly in recent years, and the archaic care-home stereotype has been relegated to history.
Thanks to advances in modern medicine, today’s elders have much to look forward to. Retirement villages cater to the needs of the elderly – like physical security, health, frail, and dementia care – but add a layer of comfort, convenience, and conviviality.
“People over the age of 60 are still capable of living active, independent, and sociable lives,” says Cobus Bedeker, managing director of Evergreen Property Developments. “They are still very much the masters of their own destinies, and are looking for lifestyle options that focus on the enjoyment of their retirement years, rather than on ageing, ailing, and failing.”
Recognising this, property developers across South Africa develop retirement estates focused around the concept of hospitality rather than medical care, with lifestyle facilities that resemble upmarket hotels and resorts. Many modern retirement villages offer gyms, indoor swimming pools, hairdressers, restaurants, libraries, cinemas, and sports facilities, along with organised social activities like walking and bird-watching groups, art classes, wine-tasting clubs, quiz nights, and the like.
Flexible buying options
Lifestyle considerations aside, where to live for the remainder of one’s life, and where to invest one’s life savings, is a daunting decision that cannot be taken lightly. Cognisant of the fears and concerns governing the purchase of a home late in life, developers such as Evergreen offer prospective buyers flexible payment terms and innovative products such as try-before-you-buy, and rent-to-buy.
Given that today’s retiree could live for as much as 30 years after stopping work, their single biggest fear is running out of money. A life right is a way of buying that allows the holder and his or her spouse to live in their home for the remainder of their lives, and lets them plan financially because levies are transparent and calculated up to two years in advance. Unlike in a freehold or sectional title property, there are no special levies on a life right, and neither transfer duty nor VAT are payable.
“We also found that, once retirees decide to make the move, they want to move quickly – which poses a problem if they still need to sell the home they’re living in,” says Bedeker. “This prompted the development of a concept called move-in-tomorrow, which allows our clients to move into one of our retirement villages before they have sold their home. We help them to move in, prepare their property for sale, and liaise with estate agents and prospective buyers on their behalf.”