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How retirement villages have changed – Editor’s Letter

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When I was still at school, there was an old age home across the road. A few afternoons a week I would go to visit the elderly there, chat to them and read to them.

I loved listening to their stories and they loved the visit. What really struck me was that the place seemed to be a scary pit stop before death. It was depressing and offered little emotional comfort for those there.

This is in such sharp contrast to what retirement living is like today. Now even 50-year-olds are looking forward to getting their spot in such a village or block because of the vibey lifestyle on offer.

In just a few decades the entire retirement lifestyle has been completely overhauled and developers are taking into account that this pit stop should be the most fun of any in our lifetime.

Having said this, it is clear that the retirement villages we see now will probably also be overhauled in the decades to come.

The pandemic has certainly shone a bright light on the elderly, many of whom have been forced into hard lockdown and been cut off physically from loved ones. This has got developers thinking of new ways to build.

While trauma, anxiety, sadness is universal as a result of Covid-19, it is our beloved elderly that have felt this most acutely.

Developers and strategists know now how important mental well-being is, and this is being taken into consideration as retirement living adapts.

I am in awe of what is out there in the market. It is thanks to the developers, and those with foresight, that this major step in our lives has become not something to fear, but something exciting to look forward to, if you can afford it.

I would especially like to give a shout out to our elderly – so hard hit by the pandemic – who have shown us how to walk this road with grace.

We salute you.

Warm regards
Vivian Warby
vivian.warby@inl.co.za

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