Johannesburg, 18 June20: Health and finances are two of the most important considerations when it comes to retirement planning, and the two are often interlinked. It is key to have some kind of predictability on one’s finances, and a well-structured financial plan is important to have for one’s senior years. Health is less easy to predict – sometimes even impossible. The only way to have a real chance of ‘control’ is to be as well prepared as possible for the potential negative health situations that are more likely to affect one as one gets older.
Eliminating worry for the family
There is always a degree of concern involved for families with older relatives, for several reasons. The greatest concern is usually how they will be cared for if they fall ill (which can happen gradually or suddenly), so access to proper care and assistance is important. Then there is the worry about loneliness and isolation.
Barry Kaganson, CEO of Auria Senior Living – a company which develops, owns and operates gold-standard senior living communities in South Africa – says: “It is important for older people to be in an environment where they can easily socialize and have access to opportunities for personal enrichment.” Families often worry that moving a relative to a senior living environment presents a trade-off – the sacrifice of personal freedom and a meaningful life for a ‘safe’ but limited living arrangement. “This doesn’t have to be the case. Modern senior living communities like Auria are vibrant, social and attractive places to live – destinations rather than options of last resort – which helps eliminate feelings of guilt for the family or apprehension on the part of the older relative,” says Kaganson.
Peace of mind about risks and care
There are a number of risks that people face as they get older. Dementia is becoming more prevalent worldwide and there is a greater awareness of its complications than in the past. However, not everyone is well prepared to take the best possible steps to preventing and treating dementia. Loneliness and isolation are known to be contributing factors in the onset of dementia, so the opportunities for socialisation and the engaging and stimulating lifestyle offered in well-structured senior living communities is often a mitigating factor for dementia.
Falls are another common concern, as the agility of seniors decreases and their susceptibility to injury changes with age. “It’s important that senior living communities make exercises that are specifically targeted to improve general conditioning, balance and strength a part of residents’ regular routines. Frequent, pro-active assessments can also assist in identifying residents who are at higher risk for falls, and various interventions can be implemented for those at risk. Emergency response in the event of a fall is a strong factor in recovery and treatment, and this can be offered rapidly in a senior living community,” says Kaganson.
General illness is another big risk in senior living environments, as older people are often less robust. “It’s worth considering that even if one is in a good state of health when moving to such a community, the focus on wellness and regular and appropriately structured exercise forms part of a healthy routine. There are additional benefits in the form of pro-active monitoring for early signs of illness – both by professional staff as well as through regular community contact,” says Kaganson.
Inadequate nutrition can become a problem as people get older, because meal preparation can become more difficult or burdensome – or even seem rather pointless for someone living on their own. The availability of balanced, appealing and affordable meals is an important factor in wellbeing and should also be a key consideration when choosing a senior living community.
Equally, physical security is a factor that cannot be ignored, particularly in the South African context. Senior living communities make high levels of security a priority. They are well protected from outsiders, and in an environment where staff and residents know one another, it is also easier to pick up on changes in normal behaviors among residents and alert the appropriate people.
Planning well ahead to secure a space in a senior living community is important. The need for care can arise suddenly and being in a continuing care retirement community (one which provides accommodation for independent living, assisted living and nursing home care, offering residents a continuum of care) means that care is always available. “Most care facilities have lengthy waiting lists and spaces don’t generally become available quickly, meaning that a move cannot necessarily happen at the time that the need for care arises, or to the desired location. This may mean that compromises have to be made in terms of the facility and location, which can add trauma to an already stressful situation for the person concerned. Moving to a carefully selected community before one has a problem is therefore optimal,” says Kaganson.
Planning ahead is key
The two most common investment types for retirement or senior living communities are sectional title ownership or life rights. Sectional title complexes are run by a body corporate – committees made up of the residents themselves, often who are ageing and many of whom have little experience running a complex operation. While in a life rights model, the owner and/or operator is incentivized by means of long-term capital appreciation. This means that they are completely aligned with residents in ensuring that the community is run optimally over the long-term. In addition, life rights communities often have monthly levy structures that are determined upfront, meaning that prospective residents are able to plan their finances, with little “surprises” in the future. Different investment types come with different responsibilities so it’s important to make oneself aware of the differences in these models in order to make a more informed decision.
Planning ahead including: assessing the senior living options available, considering the most appropriate ownership model, selecting a desired location and putting one’s name on a waiting list in good time, will all contribute to peace of mind for seniors and their families. Senior citizens are then able to enjoy their later years to the full, with the peace of mind of a safe, healthy and enjoyable lifestyle.
About Auria Senior Living
Auria Senior Living (Auria) develops, owns and manages a portfolio of senior living communities throughout South Africa.
Auria is setting a new benchmark in continuing-care community living for the over 70s, providing for the intellectual, emotional, social and physical needs of its residents, in attractive and well-located environments.
The company’s flagship is San Sereno in Bryanston, and it is currently upgrading and renovating Melrose Manor in Melrose, due to be completed by mid-2020. Its latest project, Royal View, is a 122 apartment senior living development on the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington golf course, due to open at the end of 2021, with sales commencing in mid-2020.
For more information on Auria Senior Living visit: www.auria.co.za, or contact 087 654 8833.
Tel: 079 438 3252
Email: [email protected]