Raise the drawbridge

Why People move into retirement villages

There is a common misconception that most people are attracted to retirement villages by the provision of care (especially frail care!). But, contrary to popular opinion, only 2% of people over 65 will ever need frail care; and only 8% of people over 80 will need permanent frail care! So why do people choose to move into Retirement villages?

In South Africa 72.5% of people relocate to retirement villages because of security concerns. The need for frail care figures second in order of precedence, and whilst most elderly people value the security of knowing that it is available – most would prefer it to be out of sight (even perhaps a bit like the Stellenbosch University Library – underground), as for many, having it visible reminds them too much of their own mortality!

In February 2007, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation was contracted by the South African Government to carry out a study on the extent and nature of crime in SA. The study concluded that the country is exposed to high levels of violence (Surprise! Surprise!). Approximately 50 people are murdered in South Africa everyday! This was the situation in 2007, but today nearly 14 years later, it continues unabated. This then is the reason why we probably have more retirement villages per working class capita, than any other country in the world.

In 2008 I undertook a survey of three major villages in South Africa. Amongst the many questions that I asked the residents was the reason why they had chosen to move into retirement accommodation.
The answers provided were as follows:

Reasons for moving into a retirement village Numbers
Security concerns 75
The provision of frail care 59
Attracted by the life style
To escape the workload of maintaining a large home and property 49
It was the children’s idea 29
A spouse or partner died 21
Their own ill health 15
The health of a partner deteriorated 14
Social i.e. friends or relatives lived in the village 14
Children were/had emigrated (needed the peace of mind of knowing that their parents were safe) 10

So, especially after the recent looting, the ‘raise the draw bridge’ credo is likely to remain in place for a long time to come!

The above statistics are from my book… Retirement Choices, (See www.henryspencerauthor.com)

Henry Spencer