In the latter part of next year, Brian and Ronelle Baker will be moving into their new home in a retirement estate in Kyalami. This event indicates not just a move in location … but a complete shift in mindsets, with the Bakers having written an article, some years before, on reasons why they did not consider retiring to a retirement home an advisable move. This is their account of what caused this radical change.
Some years ago, Kim Potgieter asked us to write an article on why we were not, under pressure to move to a retirement village. Our main reason probably lay in our belief that such a move would be inappropriate for us: we felt we that should one of us fall ill and would need care we would employ a nurse or carer. Not only that, we felt that it was imperative to have young people in our social circle to dilute the maturity levels!
What we had not taken into account was that life has its own plans.
Our circumstances – and our opinions – have changed.
Brian’s only sibling, his sister, Carol, had lived happily – single and independent – in her lovely house in Pietermaritzburg for many years. Then, a blood clot and a bleed … subsequent brain surgery … a looming stroke … and her world spun out of orbit and that of the Bakers.
Prior to this life-changing event, Carol had placed her name on the list for a unit at a retirement village of her choice. As a result, when she needed full-time care, she was accepted into this establishment’s frail-care unit, then into assisted living, as she cannot cope alone, without a lengthy wait. She has short-term memory loss, with physical and cognitive limitations, which prevent her from doing what she loves – caring for others.
This traumatic event and its consequences have been a tremendous reality check for us. We realise that it is irresponsible of us not to make alternative arrangements for ourselves should something similar or worse happen to either or both of us.
Carol is safe and comfortable – however her care is expensive. How do you plan for such an eventuality? You can’t predict it, but our experience with Chartered Wealth has taught us the value of planning for life – with all its fickleness.
Of course, there are not just the financial considerations, but the emotional strain and fragility plays a role. We admit that it was in a spirit of sheer terror that we bought a piece of land at Waterfall Mature Lifestyle Estate in April 2014. This did not prevent us from doing the necessary research and making a change in our thinking. It can be dangerous to make these kinds of decisions emotionally: we looked at the age of the people in the estate (here, the entry threshold is 50 years) and we wanted to ensure that it was an investment as well as being an upmarket establishment – our investment will undoubtedly grow. Since then, we have also met our new neighbours and seen the extent to which the estate looks after the interests of the residents. The world-class frail care and other varied and sophisticated facilities made the decision to purchase property at Waterfall easier for us.
So, this change started as a painful decision, but now it is exciting – we have been able to design our new home to our taste and needs. Other positive spin-offs are that the expenses we will incur at Waterfall will be less than where we are now, and Brian will have to clear his garage of its clutter!
The purpose of the article is not to incite fear in the readers but rather to understand that planning is imperative, because life is unpredictable and the loss of independence can be the scariest thing about ageing. Having Chartered Wealth guide us through this enormous change in our emotional and financial circumstances have given us peace of mind and encouraged us to “go for it!” Thank you guys!
We may have to write another article a year after we have moved … but, for now, we remain converts to the Estate lifestyle and the peace of mind our decision has created.