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 11
Aug

Retirement Homes in South Africa

Liezl Hesketh in Landlords & owners 

Older man in retirement home playing tennis

The best time to start thinking about a retirement home is NOW!

One of the reasons you need to start saving for retirement as soon as you start work is that at some point you’ll need to think about moving into a retirement home, village or an assisted living centre. And they’re not cheap, not the good ones anyway. And there’s a long waiting list. These days nearly 70% of people live beyond 65, and 30 – 40 % will live past 80. All of these people will be looking for retirement accommodation.

Even if you’re a fit and active 50 year old today, you should start thinking about where you want to spend your golden years and begin making plans. You don’t want to turn 70 and then have to wait ten years to move into your new home. Life can take sudden and often disastrous turns and although you’re in the peak of condition now, that might not be the case in ten years’ time. You need to have enough funds available for a frail care centre.

People don’t like to think about retirement homes. It’s often seen in the same way as making a Will. Important but not necessary…yet. The psychology behind this reluctance is the fact that people are forced to face their mortality and when you’re young and fit that’s not an attractive conversation to have, even with yourself. The best thing to do is get it out of the way early. Then you can relax and enjoy life.

Your social life might actually pick up!

Speaking of enjoying life, most people have the wrong impression about retirement homes. It’s not a bunch of sick, old people sitting forlornly in creaky old chairs staring at the walls. Nothing could be further from the truth. Housing varies from apartments to freestanding homes. Usually, there’s a recreational centre. I know what you’re thinking – Bingo! They may very well have bingo nights, but they often also have arts and crafts, holiday gatherings, excursions, continuing education classes, a photography club, a wine tasting club, movie nights, yoga, bridge clubs, dances – your social life might actually pick up! There are also fitness programmes and the centre may have a swimming pool, tennis courts, or a golf course.

There are retirement villages that have spas, beauty and barber salons, daily meals and basic housekeeping and laundry services. If you have pets, you need to choose a centre that will allow you keep them. Find out what the restrictions are as some will only allow you to have one pet of a particular size.

As you can imagine, this doesn’t come cheap, financially or emotionally. Moving home is one of the biggest stresses a person can face and when you’re old and frail it’s not one you want to deal with, especially as you’re going to have to down size. You do need to start thinking about this now when you can handle the physical, emotional and mental stress of the move. If you’re married, make the move as a couple, that way you can support each other through the transition.

To get you started on your search for the right retirement village for you here are some links:
Johannesburg: The Pembury Lifestyle Group
Pretoria: Willow Haven also known as Equestria Village
Durban: RobRoy Retirement Lifestyle Village
Cape Town: Helderberg Retirement Village

If you didn’t plan ahead and can’t afford to live in a retirement village, or they really aren’t your thing, then you might want to think about downsizing to a granny flat or a garden cottage and you can find one at TheRoomLink.