The benefits of retirement village living for active retirees.

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Let’s face it, retirement isn’t what it used to be! As a Baby Boomer, you can expect to live 10 to 25 years longer than your parents did, and there’s a good chance you’ll be healthier and more physically active than they were at the same age. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re keen to shoulder the burden of cooking, cleaning, gardening, and home maintenance that will be required if you choose to stay in your family home rather than moving into a retirement village.

No one enjoys having to move house, nor the expense involved, but this is about taking a long-term view of your future. As we age, change becomes more and more difficult so if you’re planning to downsize your life while upsizing your security and your circle of friends thanks to retirement village living, why wait?

Garry Reed, Managing Director of Evergreen Lifestyle Villages, offers the following checklist for those weighing up the pros and cons of staying put versus moving to the safety and security of a professionally managed and operated retirement village:

Physical health
Our bodies naturally require more care as we age, and no matter how fit we are, we’re all susceptible to accidents, sudden falls, and broken bones.  And as debilitating as this can be physically, the financial implications are often more dire. According to a 2018 report by Just Retirement, pensioners who require 24-hour care can expect to pay almost twice as much in their own home as they would if they were living at the likes of an Evergreen Lifestyle Retirement village, which offers both primary and personalised home-based healthcare services, on-site emergency facilities and 24-hour nursing, as well as frail- and dementia-care for those who need it.

“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’ll be able to enjoy your golden years without worrying unduly about these unforeseen eventualities” says Reed.  

Mental health
Loneliness, boredom and social isolation often 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.  Evergreen’s retirement villages on the other hand, are home to vibrant communities of elderly people keen to make new friendships, to stay active, and even to learn new skills.  There’s always something to do, and someone to do it with. In addition, for those who may have a partner who ends up suffering from dementia, top-class assistance is on hand for your spouse, allowing you to share the onerous burden of care.

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.  As your property ages, you’ll probably have to deal with rust, rising damp, leaking roofs, and rotting timber frames, and you might need to replace worn carpets and curtains, all of which will make a substantial dent in already tight budgets. For example, the cost of replacing a geyser currently runs to about R7,500, while repairing your roof, will set you back between R70 and R100 per square metre. Unfortunately, you can expect your home to need more attention – not less – and those big bills will be a reality for many years to come.

This is not the case at an Evergreen Lifestyle village because the developer retains full ownership of the property and therefore has a vested interest in maintaining it to the highest possible standards. “Our professional onsite teams take care of all aspects of daily life – like cleaning, painting and repairs, gardening and landscaping, healthcare, housekeeping, laundry, catering and more – so that our residents can relax and enjoy complete peace of mind”, explains Reed.

Safety and security
We all become much more physically vulnerable as we age too, and with home invasions an unfortunate reality in South Africa, security is a burning issue for young and old alike. Staying safe isn’t cheap either; consider the costs of insurance, security systems, alarms, and armed response services. These are among the less obvious costs that continue eroding your hard-earned savings and investments when you choose to remain in your family home for the long term. At most professionally run retirement villages, state-of-the-art, 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.

Financial peace of mind
When you buy into a retirement village, you get a lifestyle that suits your needs in every way. Evergreen’s Life Right model means that for an initial investment and a monthly fee, you and your spouse gain the inalienable right of occupation for the remainder of your lives. And because the developer retains ownership of the property, no bond registration or transfer fees are payable. VAT also doesn’t apply, and monthly levies are transparent and affordable. An Evergreen Life Right offers a cost-effective way to plan for the future, giving you financial peace of mind.

Quality lifestyle
At professionally managed retirement villages, cleaning and catering are taken care of for you, so you can focus on what really matters – living life to the fullest. Evergreen’s resort-style facilities include communal lounges and entertainment areas, libraries, bistros,  gyms with heated indoor pools, lots of green spaces, as well as organised activities like excursions, bridge evenings, film nights and social dinners, ensuring that residents can remain as busy, active, and sociable as they wish to be. So rather than wondering whether you can afford to move, you should be asking yourself whether you can afford not to! Moving into a retirement village while you’re still healthy and active will reward you with the kind of peace of mind that pays dividends well into the future.