Broader Choices For Senior Citizens

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

The Association for the Aged (TAFTA), a registered non-profit organization sponsored by the Durban Benevolent Society, is a community service who in April this year announced a new programme named ‘Ageing in Place”. A growing trend that has gained momentum in Australia and the UK, aims to offer the elderly an affordable alternative to living in homes for the elderly or retirement complexes. This life-changing program is designed to help people enjoy their golden years in their own homes and within local communities, as opposed to re-locating into alternative retirement facilities.Research shows senior citizens are reluctant to change, and find it difficult to move out their own homes and familiar neighbourhoods, where infrastructure and facilities such as libraries, clubs and hospitals have become part and parcel of their livelihood. They often have few relatives nearby and are dependent on familiar territory that offers security and peace of mind. The inevitable reduced income of many elderly citizens also lessens the attraction of moving on to retirement complexes, where initial capital lay-out and re-location costs can be crippling. Depending on rental or purchased accommodation , additional costs may include deposits, and advance payments for municipal and other services. Vanessa Clouston, spokeswoman for Ageing in Place says: "People want to remain in their homes and communities. They have loved ones, friends and conveniences such as shops and doctors they are used to. Moving into a retirement complex can be very traumatic. Older people often find it very disorienting, even under the best circumstances." She said: "At the World Assembly on Ageing in 2002, an international plan of action was developed and one of the major objectives was to facilitate creating enabling environments so that older people could remain in their homes. South Africa and 154 other countries are signatories. It's included in the wording of the Older Persons Act.Clouston said Ageing in Place offers a broad service that includes a home assessment by an occupational therapist with tips on how to manage better, a monthly visit, a weekly telephone call and a 24-hour call centre. Also available is a meal delivery service and care companions to visit clients and take them on errands to shopping centres, for medical check-ups, or to assist with the administering of medication. In addition this home-based service provides care cleaners to assist with laundry, domestic cleaning and bathing.While wealthy retirees often look forward to down scaling into smaller yet upmarket retirement complexes, some with long term property investment opportunities, their less fortunate counterparts have to maximize the value of staying in existing homes that will later be inherited by family. Elderly property owners who have paid off and lived in their homes for decades, usually have little or no outstanding debt on bonds, and have to employ savings to afford property maintenance. Should they be a position to afford escalating living costs such as municipal rates and taxes, and electricity it remains in their interest to hold onto properties which if well maintained, can gain value over time. For more information see: www.ageinginplace.co.za

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