Rising trend in multigenerational retirement estate living

People are living longer and remaining in better health, thanks to advances in modern medicine. Most of today’s baby boomers – people in their 60s & early 70s – are still living independent, active lives, with many still working in some capacity and looking for living conditions to match.  Traditional old age homes are a thing of the past, and property developers have had to rethink their approach to meet the needs and lifestyles of today’s discerning retiree.   

A significant game-changer in recent years, has been the integration of retirement villages into larger secure lifestyle estates, allowing multiple generations to live side by side.  Many of South Africa’s most prominent lifestyle estates have either introduced retirement villages to their residential mix, or are in the process of doing so.  

“Our decision to develop Evergreen Lifestyle Villages within larger lifestyle estates was born out of a desire to provide residents with the best possible retirement lifestyle, with hotel-like hospitality and service, state-of-the-art security, world-class healthcare, and access to a broad range of resort-style facilities and amenities”, explains Cobus Bedeker, Managing Director of Evergreen Property Developments. “Estates built to scale offer a great deal of added value, while economies of scale mean that levies remain affordable. 

“We have already introduced Evergreen villages to Val de Vie and Lake Michelle in the Western Cape, and intend rolling out additional villages at Sitari Country Estate near Somerset West, Zimbali Lakes in KZN, and Westbrook in Qgeberha, Eastern Cape over the next five years”, he said. 

Demand for multigenerational estates

Statistics show that multigenerational living is a growing trend in South Africa, making up 32.2% of the property market. These large-scale estates offer accommodation for young and old alike – either in freestanding homes, townhouses, cottages, or apartments – along with educational, medical, sports and recreational facilities that cater to the diverse needs of the elderly, working adults, families, and children. 

Residential estates have gained in popularity in recent years because they deliver lock-up-and-go convenience and state-of-the-art security along with a range of community lifestyle elements that significantly enhance one’s quality of life.  While facilities may differ from estate to estate, they generally include shops and restaurants, schools, churches, medical centres, health and fitness clubs, salons and spas, recreational clubhouses, picnic areas and playgrounds, golf courses, stables and polo fields, tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, and walking, riding and cycling paths. 

The integration of retirement villages within lifestyle estates also allows families to live within close proximity to each other, as many retirees opt to spend their golden years close to the ones they love.  Multigenerational living has significant practical and emotional advantages for young and old alike, supporting the notion that “it takes a village to raise a child”.

“Not only are multigenerational estates ideal for young retirees wanting to prolong active, independent living in a secure environment, they also have cross-generational appeal,” says Bedeker. “The pandemic has highlighted the need for families to enjoy safe, spacious environments with several recreational nodes. These estates are ideal, having been designed to allow families wanting to live together to form part of a gated community where they can enjoy togetherness with their children, but also have their privacy”.

“Retirees have specific interests, concerns and needs, so retirement village operators still need to deliver core services”, he continues. “These may include specialised onsite healthcare, assisted living, frail, and memory care; dining, hospitality, and housekeeping; facilities management, maintenance and landscaping; and the provision of environments and infrastructure that facilitates communal and social interaction, with reading rooms and TV lounges, well-stocked libraries and home cinemas, hair and beauty salons, health and recreation facilities, gym and indoor heated pool, bowling greens, Boulles courts, and the like”. 

“Integrated estates offer the best of both worlds for the elderly and their families; retirees get all the benefits of living within a stand-alone retirement village, but with the additional benefits of being able to live close to their children and grandchildren while enjoying access to a much broader range of lifestyle and leisure benefits on offer within the estate”, concludes Bedeker.