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The notion of retirement and perceptions of retirement villages are changing across the world. Those in the know tell us more about the South African landscape.

“There’s a shift from old age or nursing homes to lifestyle retirement villages to meet the needs of retiring Baby Boomers who are looking for a lock-up-and-go lifestyle with modern resort-style facilities. Village solutions need to offer excellent physical security, financial peace of mind, continuous care (should you need it) and a sense of community, says Arthur Case, brand marketing director, Evergreen Lifestyle retirement estates.


“Our built environment is modern and aesthetically pleasing with access to high-speed internet, exercise, lifestyle and entertainment facilities. Our lifestyle centres are at the heart of our villages where most social activities take place and our care centres are world class, offering all aspects of care. More importantly, the culture of our villages is resident-centric. Our residents want to remain independent for as long as possible and above all, they don’t want to be patronised.”


Vagn Nielsen, CEO, Helderberg Village in Somerset West, which next year will be celebrating its 33rd birthday, agrees that the landscape is changing. “I believe the retirement village industry in South Africa is busy evolving. A sad reality is that the economic situation is denying most retirees from enjoying their hard-earned retirement dreams! Many people moving into retirement villages nowadays are starting their second careers. While this could be attributable to the economy, we’re definitely seeing that a large majority of new retirees are simply not accepting the traditional retirement age of 60 to 65, and are still actively involved with business or professional activities.


“With the above in mind, your traditional ‘old age home’-styled retirement villages are no longer attractive and need to adapt to remain competitive and desirable to new retirees. People are no longer moving into retirement villages to play bowls and have afternoon naps! The first questions from prospective buyers are normally ‘what speed is the fibre optic network’, ‘are streaming services available’ and ‘how do we connect to the Wi-Fi network’. The world is rapidly changing and with that, so are people’s demands and requirements. Retirement villages need to keep up with technologies that facilitates people’s lifestyles.

Helderberg Village offers a bouquet of services to the modern retiree, ranging from state-of-the-art security, modern facilities to meet the different lifestyles of retirees, excellent healthcare facilities and services, and sustainable financial reserves,” Nielsen concludes.

Says John Chapman, director, Rabie Property Group, “People today are living longer, and a person aged 60 or 65 generally has a lot of zest for life. The adage of aging gracefully in a retirement home is no longer an option and therefore, retirement developments must rise to the challenge.

“Retirees still want safety, security and comfort, but also want autonomy and be surrounded by modern amenities and a variety of activities, including outdoor exercise and exploration conveniences. Oasis Life is all about offering a fabulous lifestyle. We see retirement as a wonderful next chapter where the worries of a working life are no more, and you can focus on what you really want to do.


“As such, we design our villages with community in mind. Our homes are contemporary in design, yet comfortable and practical. The lifestyle centre in each of our developments is the heart of it all, where you can find hotel-standard hospitality, a restaurant, library, games room, primary healthcare suite, and gymnasium with pool.”

According to Reon van der Merwe, realtor, Groot Parys Lifestyle Estate in Paarl, “We find that people tend to buy earlier in the last phase of their lives rather than later. They would then rent out the house and only move in when they start needing care. Because new developments are lifestyle developments rather than typical old age homes, they will also move in at a younger age and enjoy the lifestyle amenities.”


Jacques van Embden, MD, BLOK explains, “I think a huge focus has been placed on the shift from health to wellness, understanding that many people want to feel empowered by the move to retirement versus being forced to do so as a result of poor health or family pressure.

“Our development has been designed with wellness and community in mind; we imagine our residents leading full and rich lives, both in the community of the building, as well as in the surrounding neighbourhood. We believe in the power of urban living and community. We’re deeply passionate about creating buildings that are beautiful homes within homes; community is at the heart of everything we do.”



Mauritius offers the perfect opportunity for retirees to adopt a different lifestyle in a reasonably priced environment close to South Africa, says Jonathan Tagg, project director, Pam Golding Properties Mauritius.

The north and west are the most popular areas for expats. The island is safe and sunny, with air quality rated among the best in the world by the United Nations Environment Programme. You can expect good healthcare and cost-effective domestic help in Mauritius, and an inclusive expat community. “The active outdoor lifestyle encourages healthy living,” says Tagg.

Les Résidences de Mont Choisy is the only real estate scheme retirement project open to foreigners in the north of Mauritius. It’s a stone’s throw from vibey Grand Baie, and near the only 18-hole golf course in the area. “The development caters to young-at-heart maturing couples, with a combination of housing and services that allows them to be as independent or as social as they wish to be,” says Tagg.

“In the west we recommend Akasha Villas, where you can purchase your own villa with swimming pool. Like the other luxury developments we sell, Akasha Villas is close to shops, restaurants, nightlife, medical centres, the beach, leisure parks and golf. The development is immersed in a tropical landscape that is secluded yet safe. This is a major benefit of living in Mauritius,” says Richard Haller, director, Pam Golding Properties Mauritius.

A property investment of US$500,000 (about R7,5m) or more secures permanent residency for the investor, his spouse, and dependants up to the age of 24.


  • Between 2015 and 2050, the world’s population aged over 60 will almost double from 12% to 22%.
  • By 2020, people aged 60 and older will outnumber children younger than five years.
  • In 2050, 80% of older people will live in low- and middle-income countries.

Source: World Report on Ageing and Health 2018, World Health Organization


  • Ballito and surrounding villages make up SA’s ‘luxury residential estate capital’. It’s home to Zimbali, Simbithi, Brettenwood and Dunkirk Estate, with more exclusive estates under construction.
  • Knysna is a top retirement destination. Residential estates here include Pezula, Simola and Thesen Island.
  • George, also among the most popular retirement options in the country, is home to residential estate Fancourt.
  • Hermanus is a retirement hotspot for wealthy Joburg and Pretoria semigrators.

Source: South Africa Wealth Report 2019, AfrAsia New World Wealth

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