Retirement Villages or Lifestyle Estates, as they are now being called, are popping up like (Barberton) daisies throughout South Africa – all with promises of enjoying the best years of your life in surroundings brimming with all the bells and whistles.   But just what is a lifestyle estate supposed to have; is there a benchmark?  Craig Scott, developer of The Village at Langebaan Country Estate, says he asked himself these very questions during the planning and designing phase of the development.

Typically when embarking on the task of finding a retirement village many people find themselves a tad disappointed at not only the limited options available but also at the disparity between the offerings at the various ‘lifestyle estates’.  Scott says, “Sure, if you are looking for something basic and inexpensive, then your expectations are not going to be too high and you will find what you are looking for, but if it is a certain ‘lifestyle’ you are seeking, then the property should deliver, and especially at the prices being asked.”

Over and above the basics that a typical retirement village would offer like a spacious but compact house or an apartment, standard healthcare, a community centre and catering, you can and should expect more when making that all-important decision to move to a ‘lifestyle estate’.  You have saved long and hard for your retirement so you should be able to choose the lifestyle you want.

The bucket list / A list of things to consider

Active ageing
Every opportunity should be made for you to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle that keeps you active including facilities like a fitness centre, pool, golf course, tennis court, bowling green, hiking, walking and biking trails and exercise to keep old age at bay.

Lifestyle social
Vibrant community living and involvement are essential to the enjoyment of life – the clubhouse should be a place to entertain friends and family, watch the big match, enjoy a meal in the restaurant, arrange a game of cards, participate in a quiz night or Bingo, host a tea party in the coffee shop, celebrate a special occasion or simply relax quietly with your favourite magazine or book from the library.

Health and Wellness
Patient-centred care with an emphasis on the clinical needs and requirements as well as the personal needs of a patient, and family involved should be emphasised, beginning with a managed home-based health care service that includes post-hospitalisation and discharge from rehabilitation facilities, and medication and personal care administration.  In addition, a care centre should be established to provide primary healthcare and monthly check-ups delivered by experienced nurses and carers. This continuous care, along with a communication system and multiple emergency call buttons in each home, will provide significant peace-of-mind to you, your loved ones and friends.

The very latest security measures like electrified perimeter fencing, access control systems, CCTV surveillance and alarm systems together with dedicated security response vehicles and response teams, should be in place so as to provide you the opportunity to live life freely, along with the lock-up-and-go convenience to travel and explore to your heart’s content.

With the ever-changing landscape of retirement and with the best interests of the residents’ front of mind, meticulous thought and detail should be given to the provision of facilities at a retirement village, and should include the likes of cleaning services, a laundry, catering, shuttles, landscaping and garden services, greening, frail care and maintenance services.

Various investment options are available such as Sectional Title and more recently, Life Rights, the advantages of which are great for retirees who get to enjoy all the benefits of ownership without the hassles or costs of management and maintenance, and is a little easier on the pocket.   Needless to say, it is imperative that these options be investigated and carefully considered – a good idea would be to utilise the services of an attorney or financial advisor to go through the fine print so that you are properly informed and can ask the right questions before signing on the dotted line.

Scott says the benchmark for a retirement village offering should be a place where lifestyle meets secure, stylish, affordable living in a vibrant community that combines residential, recreational and top-notch healthcare facilities so that you can truly enjoy the best years of your life.   “The Village at Langebaan Country Estate is that place.”