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You can ‘try before you buy’ these hotel-style suites
When you hear the words “retirement living”, what comes to mind? Perhaps a small, dark room with oversized furniture occupied by a dispirited elderly person shuffling around in slippers? Think again. Retirement living nowadays is a stylish, much livelier affair.
“Got to run. I’m meeting friends for tea,” says the Evergreen Noordhoek resident as she hurries through the lobby, smoothing down her neatly coiffed hair as she goes. No time today for a dip in the heated pool or a stint in the gym. Later it’s a quick drink at the bar followed by dinner with friends, then a movie. It’s a busy time for the socially active retiree.
And she doesn’t even have to set foot outside of the plush retirement estate where she lives.
Hotel-type retirement living has taken root around the world. And the trend is very much evident in South Africa where luxury retirement villages have taken on a somewhat hotel-like quality. Emphasis is on a quality lifestyle and level of hospitality (concierge, “room service’ and tours among these) one could expect from an upmarket hotel.
Hotel-like perks aside, what today’s seniors hanker after is independent living within a secure environment, community, stylish living spaces, and healthcare support when they need it. Developers catering to this steadily growing segment of the population took note.
Established in 2008, Evergreen Lifestyle revolutionised the local retirement industry, designing and building retirement living villages that offered designer homes and resort-like facilities akin to that of a luxury hotel or residential estate. Today there are six Evergreen Lifestyle Villages in the Western Cape and one in Gauteng.
Evergreen’s Life Rights model, which gives clients the right to occupy their home during their lifetime, enables the purchase of a ‘forever’ home at a somewhat more affordable price.
Still, there was a growing demand for more affordable retirement accommodation along with low maintenance lock-up-and-go living. Now, alongside larger free-standing homes, larger villages in Cape Town and Johannesburg offer hotel-style suites.
“We are delighted with the place,” says a 76-year-old Evergreen Broadacres resident of his two-bedroomed garden apartment, “It’s convenient, light and airy, and the fittings are superb. No houses were available when we were looking, which I am now very pleased about because my wife and I and our two dogs are perfectly happy where we are.”
Here, one-bedroom suites catering to singles or those with modest budgets, are priced from R900 000.
Entering Evergreen Noordhoek’s swish 105sqm two-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury suites, one is immediately struck by the sense of space and light and modernity. These suites with their spectacular views of mountain and sea, command prices from R2.5m. Once all four phases are complete, the village will offer a total of 96 suites.
“The hotel-type convenience, lifestyle, and amenities like the concierge and meal delivery services, the sense of community and lower price point have all been drawcards for the suites,” says Phil Wilson, Sales Director for Evergreen Lifestyle. The pandemic too has had an impact on apartment buying. “I think retirees had a real fear of living on their own during Covid.”
Not sure apartment living is for you? Evergreen’s ‘try before you buy’ policy lets you test drive the experience. “Potential buyers can spend three days and two nights in a furnished suite to experience the village. Everything is free of charge,” says Wilson. “We have a very high conversion rate with our ‘try before you buy’.”
And their ‘step-down/step-up’ future-proofing facility allows residents to transfer from one property type to another as their needs change. It’s added peace of mind for residents and family members.
Family members too are putting in their penny’s worth. “We find that adult children are becoming more important in the decision-making process based on the age, health and financial position of their parents,” reveals Wilson.
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