There has been a dramatic rise in the number of retirees around the world, leading to huge demand for retirement facilities and this is only set to grow.
According to the United Nations (UN), “almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60” – a figure expected to rise to 2 billion by 2050, which will account for more than 20% of the world’s population.
In South Africa, life expectancy among the middle-class is about 79 years for men and 83 years for women. More than 6% of South Africans are over 60, with this figure expected to double over the next 30 years.
The UN states that “the increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth”.
The International Day of Older Persons is celebrated annually on 1 October, since its launch by the UN General Assembly in 1991.
The day is celebrated annually to bring attention to the “particular needs and challenges faced by many older people” and “the essential contribution the majority of older men and women can continue to make to the functioning of society”.
This year’s theme, “celebrating older human rights champions”, aims to promote the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which turns 70 this year, and reaffirm “the commitment to promoting the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by older persons” around the world.
With a rising population of senior citizens, it’s understandable that this had led to an increase in demand for facilities that cater to their needs.
Evergreen Lifestyle CEO Arthur Case says that South Africans are not only living longer than ever before, but retiring much later. That said, at some point past 65 there inevitably comes a transition point where most seniors decide to downsize or opt for full-blown retirement. With more people requiring a more manageable lifestyle in their older years, there is increasing demand for quality retirement estates across the country.
Evergreen Lifestyle retirement estates operate on the Life Rights model, which grants the buyer and their partner the security of guaranteed lifetime occupation.
“The key benefit of a Life Right is that the owner is not responsible for the maintenance and other burdens of owning a property outright. Retirement estates are rising in popularity as they offer peace of mind, with maintenance taken care of as well as a range of security, lifestyle and medical features in place,” explains Case.
“In South Africa, with a volatile economy and issues around safety and security, you want to be certain that you have a plan that will take care of all your needs.”
Case adds that retirees today are baby boomers, the “silent generation” who lived through wars and accepted things as they were without complaining. They are independent and have reshaped the working world over many years.
They aren’t looking for the typical nursing home that generations before them might have lived in, but instead opting for working in some capacity until they are much older and opting for a lifestyle of convenience. This generation, according to Case, is reshaping the retirement model as we know it.
“People who are moving into retirement facilities today are scaling down on their own terms. They are working far beyond the conventional retirement age. In fact, many are saying that retirement as we know it is actually obsolete,” he says.
“But what they are looking for is more of a lifestyle product where they can ensure that they are safe and secure and can afford to live comfortably for the remainder of their years.”