Johannesburg, 22 November21: How many of us have really thought about what our lives will look like as we age? Most people spend their lives planning the other big things: where to buy a house; their children’s education; what car to drive; where to go on holiday. Some of us are also good at saving for retirement and doing the financial planning, yet, how many of us actually know where we will live and how we will navigate getting older?
We know that 70% of people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care. In developed countries, average life expectancy is 79 years for men and 82 years for women – which means that this is something that all of us need to plan for. At Auria Senior Living, part of our mission is to help potential future residents of our communities to understand what their options are and to plan for them so that they can get the most out of their senior years.
There is an understandable reluctance by many people to try to visualise what this stage of life might mean for them. There is also an unfortunate lack of information in the market about what options are available. For most, the notion of a nursing home or old age home is simply not something they want to contemplate – and who can blame them? It is, however, an outdated model of living. Our aim is to change the South African market by rethinking what it means to have a meaningful life in one’s older years and to demonstrate that there are more modern and attractive options.
You don’t need to be retired to live in a senior living community, nor do you need to be at a stage where you need care. You simply need to be a person who wants to grow older in a hassle-free, managed environment with a vibrant social life and hospitality services, where you know that comprehensive care is available, should you need it.
In the absence of helpful information about the alternatives, people tend to fall into five broad categories or ‘personality types’ when it comes to the way they make decisions about their senior years:
1. I’m not going anywhere.
These are the people who don’t even want to contemplate the notion of moving. Perhaps they currently have a good quality of life and don’t believe that they will need to worry about that changing in the near future. There is probably a degree of naïve hope here that they will live happily in their existing homes until the end. While it’s not out of the realm of possibility, it is fairly unlikely.
2. I’ll outsource everything I need
Similar to the above example, this kind of person realises that they will probably need a degree of assistance with certain things as they get older, so they decide that when they need help, they will get someone to come to them. While that generally works well for servicing the garden or getting the house cleaned, it might work less well when it comes to managing one’s personal and health needs. If you’re going to go this route, you need to find out what home healthcare services are available in your area and look carefully into cost, reliability and competence before you commit.
3 .I’ll move in with my children
This has traditionally been a good option in many societies through the ages and it can work well for families – but in modern society there are things to consider. Many people are having their children later in life, which means that you won’t be moving in with your 40-year old children – you’ll be moving in with your 60-year old children! We also live very differently nowadays, which means that your children may not actually have the space to accommodate you – and they also likely lead busy lives of their own, which has implications on time they will spend with you.
4. I’ll wait until I need to move
Some people don’t see the need to plan for a move until circumstances dictate that they have to. Such circumstances might be easier – such as that one’s house is now too big for just one or two people, but they might be difficult – such as a health crisis. The latter is the kind of situation that one ideally wants to avoid, because it inevitably means that your options will be limited. A sudden scramble to find the right environment in a crisis – in a suitable location, at the right price, with the appropriate care – is seldom going to yield an optimal result.
5. I’ll plan to move to a retirement community
This is by far the best option – and it’s not one that is new to the South African market. Retirement villages, as we have come to know most of them in SA, are plentiful around the country. However, they are not all created equal. The most modern and best option is what is termed a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) which is what we at Auria Senior Living offer. A CCRC offers a continuum of care ranging from completely independent living to as much assistance as a person needs. In fact, gold-standard CCRCs offer superb quality of life by providing the correct balance of ‘ingredients’ – a safe environment, elegantly designed hospitality services, good health and wellness programmes, social contact, meaningful activities, access to medical assistance – all supported by professional staff and carers.
The best way to secure your future as you age is to start doing the research and planning, and to identify and talk to a suitable CCRC as early as possible. We believe that people can spend their golden years living their best quality of life – in a way that they choose to – and not a compromised one.
Article by: Barry Kaganson, CEO of Auria Senior Living
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.
Auria Senior Living’s current portfolio includes the award-winning San Sereno in Bryanston; the magnificently revamped Melrose Manor in Melrose; the recently acquired Woodside Village in Rondebosch and two new purpose-built communities: Royal View, a 122 apartment senior living development on the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington golf course in Sandringham and Coral Cove, a breath-taking senior living community at Zululami Luxury Coastal Estate on the shores of Sheffield Beach, KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.
For more information on Auria Senior Living visit:
contact 087 654 8833.