Lock-up-and-go living is no longer just for the young and trendy. There’s a growing demand for easy living among South Africa’s mature population as well, and lifestyle retirement villages that offer affordable and secure apartment living are becoming increasingly sought-after. “We are seeing significant interest in apartments in lifestyle estates that promote wellbeing and social interaction, instead of merely providing a retirement solution,” comments Phil Wilson, Sales Director for Evergreen Lifestyle.
“Bearing in mind that many people of retirement age are choosing to continue working, either to maintain their standard of living or to remain active and involved in their communities, Evergreen Lifestyle Villages encourage an active and social lifestyle”, he said.
Change is always challenging, and the prospect of a significant change in lifestyle late in life can be particularly traumatic if it involves downsizing from a much-loved family home or relocating to a new area. “For many, the prospect of packing up a lifetime of memories to move into a single room in an old-age home exacerbates the uncertainty which retirement may hold. If children have emigrated, the prospect of growing older without family support is an added burden,” says Wilson.
But downsizing need not mean compromising on quality of life. In the case of Evergreen Lifestyle Villages, scaling down to one of the group’s modern, stylish apartments affords retirees new opportunities to live their best life. Unfettered by the maintenance that a larger home demands, they are able to enjoy the expansive resort-style facilities and leisure activities on offer. They can even elect to have meals delivered to their apartments – like room service in a hotel. “Nobody wants to spend their Golden Years bothering about cooking and cleaning, maintenance and repairs to a home that might have seen better days, or the day-to-day upkeep of a large property and garden”, says Wilson.
“A lock-up-and-go apartment also allows for easy travel to spend time visiting family,’ he adds. “And relatives - especially those living overseas - have peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are safe within a retirement village with state-of-the-art security and controlled access”.
Downscaling from a larger home also provides considerable financial relief, explains Wilson. Evergreen Villages offer a range of pricing models that make their upmarket accommodation accessible to a wider range of retirees. Instead of buying a physical property, clients purchase the inalienable right to occupy their home for the rest of their lives. “The Life Rights model makes sound financial sense at a time when security about money is most important. Unlike a sectional title development - where one might be liable for steep levy escalations and special levies to cover improvements and maintenance - levies within a Life Rights village tend to be more affordable, and are calculated and communicated in advance so that residents can plan ahead. Additionally, no special levies apply as the developer bears the costs and responsibility of property maintenance”, explains Wilson.
Ownership of the physical property remains with the developer, so there are no transfer duties payable. There is also the assurance that the developer, with a vested interest in the upkeep of the property, will manage it effectively to make sure it is maintained to the highest standard. Apartments are a much more affordable option, especially for single buyers, with 1-bedroom units priced under R1 million. With COVID-19 affecting many people’s financial stability, the Life Rights model enables the purchase of a ‘forever’ home at an affordable price, adds Wilson.
Retirees also want to age in place, knowing that their home will accommodate their changing needs over time, says Wilson. While a freestanding home in one of Evergreen’s Lifestyle Villages may suit a mature couple, an apartment is often preferable for someone living on their own. Even if one starts off in a freestanding home, the accommodation options available in a lifestyle village make it possible to transfer from one property type to another without having to relocate to a new neighborhood - a transition that would cause unnecessary anxiety.
Evergreen Lifestyle Villages offer step up and stepdown facilities, and discreet health care options, including palliative, frail and dementia care. All of the properties have 24-hour medical emergency assistance and there are trained nurses on site who also carry out regular health checks. “The wellbeing and optimal health of Evergreen’s residents, regardless of the level of care required, is paramount,” says Wilson.
Smart technology is available throughout so that residents are able to connect with friends and family via video calls and social media. This also makes it possible for those who are still working to do so remotely, while enjoying the benefits of village living. “Advances in medicine, accelerated by the pandemic, will likely see a greater reliance on technology. Evergreen Villages will be well placed to accommodate new tech trends, such as online consultations and telemedicine,” adds Wilson.
Designed to promote a strong sense of community, these villages offer a range of recreational activities and resort-like amenities. Residents have full use of indoor heated pools, sports facilities, and communal lounge and entertainment areas, all within walking distance of their front doors. They can also take part in organised activities and excursions.
“Retirement should never be viewed as a lifestyle compromise. Instead, it is a golden opportunity to explore new hobbies, make new friends and experience the conviviality of a village lifestyle,” concludes Wilson. “Apartment living in a luxury estate puts this well within reach of retirees who might only have a modest retirement nest egg”.
Article is written by Delia De Villiers