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Author: RS Editor

Spotlight on San Sereno

Nestled amidst the tranquil surroundings of Bryanston, Johannesburg, lies San Sereno, an idyllic haven for people seeking a vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle. San Sereno was acquired in 2017 by Auria Senior Living, a company focused on setting a new gold standard in senior living and care and providing the best quality of life to their residents. This award-winning retirement village offers a harmonious blend of sophisticated living, personalised care, and a wealth of amenities, catering to the diverse needs of its residents.

San Sereno’s elegant apartments and villas provide a sense of spaciousness and comfort, each meticulously designed to foster a warm and inviting atmosphere. Residents can choose from a variety of layouts, ranging from cosy one-bedroom units to spacious villas, all equipped with modern conveniences and tasteful finishes. For residents who require some help daily, their Assisted Living Suites provide a welcoming living environment where their Care Team are always close at hand, ready to assist as and when required.

Residents have a variety of services at their disposal. They provide an array of daily services that cater to their every need. On-demand services include laundry, housekeeping, golf cart shuttle, concierge, and round-the-clock emergency response.

Air-conditioned cinemas, fascinating talks, inspiring cultural and social events and entertainment are just a few of the many social events. Residents have access to a state-of-the-art wellness centre, gym, heated swimming pool, as well as a wide range of activities such as strength and balance classes, aqua aerobics, cardio workouts, Pilates and yoga. Biokineticists, physiotherapists, sought-after geriatricians, audiologists, optometrists, podiatrists and more are available to all residents.

San Sereno operates on a Life Rights model. You pay an upfront amount, which secures the right for you to occupy and enjoy your unit for the remainder of your life/lives. During this time, a monthly levy is payable to fund general operating and common area maintenance costs. This levy allows Auria Senior Living to take care of community management, maintenance, security and the provision of services in the senior living community.

Click here to read more

Meet San Sereno Resident– Vicky Lavagna-Slater

Vicky moved to San Sereno in May 2022 after having called Vanderbijlpark home for many years. Her husband had passed away, and she craved companionship. She particularly appreciates the friendly residents and staff, as well as the property itself, particularly the meticulously maintained gardens by the dedicated staff and residents alike.

Vicky has an active social life at San Sereno and plays bowls regularly, a pastime that has brought her immense joy and well-being. She also makes use of the heated pool to do aqua aerobics classes and enjoys a vibrant social calendar filled with art classes, bingo nights, and social gatherings organised by San Sereno.

Vicky describes San Sereno as a happy place where conveniences are close at hand, like a coffee shop, hairdresser, restaurant, and cinema. Adding to its charm is its prime location, making shopping excursions to Nicolway, Sandton City, or Fourways Mall hassle-free.

Vicky highly recommends San Sereno for anyone seeking a secure, welcoming, and impeccably managed community to call home.

Spotlight on Negester Onrusrivier

Negester Onrusrivier is a lifestyle estate for the over-50s, situated in a tranquil coastal town near Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa. It offers a range of property options, including full-title homes and sectional-title apartments within the care centre. The estate’s architectural design draws inspiration from Cape Malay houses, Stellenbosch’s Dorp Street, and modern farmhouses.

Residents of Negester Onrusrivier enjoy a range of amenities, including a modern care centre with 50 residential units, a lunchroom, a living room, a small library, a hair salon, and a clinic. The estate also offers different care packages to suit individual needs.

Negester Onrusrivier offers the perfect retirement lifestyle for those seeking a secure and serene environment with easy access to amenities and attractions.

Click here to view their website

Meet Negester Residents Peter and Jackie Mellowship

Peter and Jackie moved to the Negester North Estate in August 2014. Their primary reason for the move was downsizing to a more manageable property. Peter and Jackie were both in their sixties, and their children had all moved away (two of the three to overseas locations) and had their own families. They had a large property all to themselves with only occasional visitors.

Their part of the estate is purely residential, with no medical or care amenities, restaurants or communal facilities. It is a gated complex with 24-hour security and access control.

The bulk of the estate was designed with a 55+ theme featuring smaller, more manageable properties; in their case, their home is on one level, with wheelchair-friendly touches such as easy-access showers.

Socially, Peter and Jackie enjoy occasional lunches and dinner parties hosted by fellow residents at their homes. Having lived in the Hermanus area for 19 years, they most often socialise with friends made over the years rather than just in the estate.
Peter and Jackie have sound advice for others considering moving to an estate: carefully consider the type of facilities you will require in the future. Estates vary widely, ranging from purely gated communities to those providing comprehensive medical and care facilities. They know of several instances in which couples relocated to their estate, only to move once again shortly afterwards, because one partner needed access to medical care facilities. “Before making your decision, ask yourselves those tough questions,” recommend Peter and Jackie.

Review of I am Ella by Joanne Jowell

Reviewed by Karen Wilson

Ella of the book title is now 102 years old, just a few years after a series of interviews with author Joanne Jowell, in which she shared her remarkable life. Remarkable that, despite tragic loss and suffering as a young woman, she found the strength to rebuild her life from zero and to thrive.

Ella was born into a close-knit and prosperous Jewish family in Poland. The advent of the Second World War and the Nazi occupation of her home country snatched away anything resembling normality for Ella, who was then in her late teens. She recounts their living conditions after they were forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, the extermination of twenty-three of her beloved family members, and her miracle survival of the Majdanek, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, along with her niece.

When Ella emerged from this horror in 1945, she was 24. It is a testament to her faith, optimism, and resilience that she started a new life in Paris soon after, then moved to Palestine/Israel, where she met her husband and followed him to South Africa mere weeks later – knowing nothing about her new country and speaking very little English. She and her husband ran a retail business in Brakpan for many years and raised four children who became successful professionals.

For decades, she rarely spoke about what she had endured but gradually began giving small talks to niche audiences. Joanne Jowell had the privilege of spending time with Ella in Cape Town (where she now lives close to her daughter) and documenting her life story. Joanne’s commentary on her interactions with Ella intersperses the narrative and provides more insight into Ella and her experiences. There are also some helpful footnotes explaining the Yiddish words and Jewish traditions that Ella references as she unpacks her memories.

Ella’s fighting spirit and determination to get the most out of life shine through in this book, along with her sense of humour – and the lessons she no doubt hopes humanity has learned from the tragedy of the last World War.

A copy of I am Ella is available for short-term loan from the Chartered Client Library. We also have a copy to give away. To stand a chance to win, email Lyndsay, and you will be entered into our lucky draw.

Spotlight on Sondela Senior Lifestyle Estate

Nestled in the picturesque bushveld of Limpopo, Sondela’s over 50 Lifestyle Estate offers an idyllic retirement haven for those seeking a peaceful and secure living environment. With its close proximity to Pretoria, the estate provides easy access to city amenities while immersing residents in the breathtaking beauty of nature. Sondela is a premier Bela-Bela resort, offering a family-oriented atmosphere and a deep commitment to preserving and nurturing the natural environment. From rare game sightings to educational programmes and rehabilitation initiatives, Sondela embraces a holistic approach to life and nature. The estate’s retirement homes are thoughtfully designed, allowing residents to enjoy the convenience of nearby facilities and an array of activities, including game drives and access to the acclaimed Iketla spa. Whether you’re planning for retirement or already retired, Sondela Nature Reserve and Spa offers a sanctuary where residents can connect with nature, find tranquillity, and create cherished memories for a lifetime.

Click here to read more about the estate

Meet Sondela Residents Shirley and Philip Roach

The Roaches moved to the estate after starting the construction of their house in early 2021 and completing it towards the end of the same year. The allure of living amidst nature’s beauty, coupled with their desire to embrace a peaceful retirement away from the city, led them to make the decision to call Sondela home.

Having always been city dwellers and previously resided in bustling Centurion, the Roaches now revel in the tranquillity that Sondela offers. They thoroughly enjoy observing the diverse wildlife that meanders through their gardens and value their neighbours’ shared appreciation for nature. With Bela-Bela conveniently nearby for shopping needs and Pretoria within reachable distance, they have found the perfect balance between the African bush and necessary amenities.

Even though the estate is still relatively small, there is a great sense of community, and the Roaches have developed close relationships with their neighbours, enjoying get-togethers every so often. Additionally, they belong to a Pilates group that travels to Bela-Bela twice a week for exercise.

As residents of Sondela’s Senior Lifestyle Estate, Phillip and Shirley take advantage of the various amenities. They frequently explore the extensive bicycle trails, enjoying walks and bike rides amidst the picturesque surroundings. The swimming pools offer refreshing leisure options, especially during the summer months. They appreciate the privilege of going on game drives within the reserve, something they often do. Residents are encouraged to have friends and family visit them on the estate, and Shirley and Phillip have created special memories, particularly with their granddaughter.

Asked what advice they would give those considering moving to an estate, the Roaches emphasised the importance of familiarising oneself with the estate’s rules. They suggested carefully reviewing and understanding the regulations to ensure they align with personal preferences. Sondela’s strict rules are designed to protect and maintain the core values of the estate, ensuring unspoiled natural surroundings, a rustic farm-style experience, safety and security, comfortable living, an active outdoor lifestyle, good governance, financial sustainability, and competitive market value.

A review of 1000 Ultimate Travel Experiences: Make the Most of Your Time on Earth

Reviewed by Karen Wilson

Most of us will chalk up just a few of the 1000 travel experiences in this book, but it will undoubtedly inspire those wanting to create new travel memories. If you prefer armchair travel, you’ll find the mini write-ups fascinating.

The book is divided into geographical sections and numbered experiences that are first-hand accounts from various travel writers. Some options are not for the unfit or faint-hearted, but if zip-lining across the Spain-Portugal border, hiking up Peru’s multi-coloured Rainbow Mountain, or facing off with Komodo dragons in Indonesia is not for you, there are plenty of alternatives!

History enthusiasts can consider a stay at Hever Castle in Kent, the childhood home of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, and a therapeutic visit to the Thermae Bath Spa in the World Heritage town of Bath, England. In Italy, outdoor concerts, from opera to contemporary music, are held in the Roman-era Verona arena.

If history and hiking are your preferred pairing, the path of the old Berlin Wall is now a 160-kilometre (divided into 14 sections that can be tackled individually) hiking and cycling trail. Several much longer hikes are featured if Machu Picchu or a Camino are on your bucket list.

Plane, train or automobile? Train choices include the Beijing – Shanghai Express, Eastern & Oriental Express between Singapore and Bangkok, and the Australian Ghan, which travels across the vast Outback from Adelaide – Darwin.

For some, the highlight of any trip is sampling a region’s food and beverage. The book notes Belgium’s claim to beer and chocolate fame and will tell you where in the world to find the best coffee, bourbon, and local speciality dishes.

Those who don’t mind the cold and the dark may enjoy a December visit to Kiruna in Sweden to see the Northern Lights and sleep in an Ice Hotel.

The list of natural wonders and cultural experiences is long, and South Africa also gets several mentions – from Bo-Kaap architecture and Cape Malay cuisine to Table Mountain. Whilst whale-watching in Hermanus didn’t make the pages, did you know that the Dominican Republic and Mexico are whale-watching hubs?

Rough Guides publishes 1000 Ultimate Travel Experiences. The font size is reasonably small, so good reading light is essential! The 2007 copy in our Chartered Client Library has been replaced with 2022’s fifth edition.

Retirement Villages Spotlight – The Retreat Retirement Estate, Hazeldean, Pretoria

We will be interviewing clients who have chosen to live in various retirement estates around the country to learn more about their experiences. Please note that Chartered Wealth Solutions is not affiliated with, or sponsored by, any of the featured retirement villages, and the opinions expressed are that of the clients who live in these retirement villages.

Spotlight on The Retreat Retirement Estate – Hazeldean – Pretoria

The Retreat is a popular and well-established retirement estate in the lush and serene heart of Hazeldean in Pretoria East (adjacent to the Silver Lakes suburb). It offers 1, 2, and 3-bedroom Sectional Title free-standing homes with individually allocated exclusive use areas for gardens. The Retreat allows the keeping of reasonably sized dogs in fenced-off properties. In addition, there are spacious one and two-bedroom apartments available for a comfortable retirement lifestyle.

The estate boasts 24-hour security with a well-secured perimeter and one entry and one exit at the guardhouse, ensuring the safety and security of all residents.

For residents who require medical care, The Retreat has a Frail Care Centre with 52 beds and a team of medical professionals on hand to provide comprehensive care. The on-site medical services include 24-hour emergency services, personal health advice, and rehabilitation.

The Retreat also offers a range of social and recreational activities through its Social Club, which aims to foster a sense of community and provide entertainment for residents. There is something for everyone, from music evenings to the book club, bridge, snooker, happy hours, and even braais at the Lapa.

The Clubhouse offers facilities such as a gym, indoor (heated) swimming pools (3), and a steam room. There is also a well-established library, a beauty boutique, as well as a restaurant (unlicensed) which provides daily sit-down or delivered meals.

The estate’s beautiful gardens and walking trails showcase over 116 bird species and 40 indigenous tree species, allowing nature lovers to connect with the environment. Protected wildlife such as steenbok, rabbits, guinea fowl, and others are free to roam the estate.

The retirement estate homes at The Retreat are available to residents who are older than 50 years. Currently, there is a new development underway, which is approximately 80% complete. This expansion aims to add around 75 new fenced-off homes with 2 or 3 bedrooms.
Click here for more information.

Meet The Retreat Residents Ronél and Charles Piani

Charles and Ronél moved to the estate in September 2017. Their previous home, a comfortable double-storey house with a beautiful garden, became a concern as they grew wary of using the stairs and the risk of falls and injuries. While in their late 60s, they began searching for a replacement and came across The Retreat’s advertisements for ongoing developments. They found an ideal site to build a 3-bedroom home initially intended for rental purposes. However, as Ronél made choices regarding fittings and flooring during the construction process, she convinced Charles that this was meant to be their own home. Fortunately, they were able to sell their existing home at a good price within three weeks and moved into their new home immediately upon completion.

There are many features at The Retreat that Charles and Ronél appreciate, including the free-standing concept of the houses, the beautiful gardens teeming with vibrant flora, birds, and other wildlife, as well as the inviting walking areas and nature park of The Meadows. However, the availability of 24/7 medical support and the use of the Frail Care facility, if needed, was the ultimate clincher for Charles and Ronél. They also take advantage of the on-site gym, restaurant, meal delivery services, hair salon, and medical services.

Charles and Ronél have an active social life within the community on the Estate. They enjoy their daily walks and often engage in intermittent chats with fellow residents along the way. They partake in social activities such as braais, especially with their close friends and neighbours. They regularly attend weekly teas and lectures that pique their interest. Ronél is involved in charity knitting and crocheting activities, while Charles takes an active role in the Retreat’s management as the Chairman of the Architectural Review and Compliance Committee.

Residents at The Retreat benefit from its close proximity to the Hazeldean shopping centre, situated only around three kilometres away. This convenient location provides easy access to a range of amenities, including Pick ‘n Pay, Woolworths, restaurants, and the Intercare Medical Centre with several doctors available. Furthermore, the Wilgers Hospital is conveniently situated six kilometres away.

Reflecting on their experience, Charles and Ronél believe that moving to The Retreat was the best decision they made.

Retirement Villages Spotlight – Amber Ridge, Howick, KZN

Amber Ridge Estate, situated in Howick in the beautiful province of KwaZulu Natal, offers residents a luxurious and peaceful lifestyle. Amber Ridge was released in August 2011, and construction was completed in 2014. Designed to emulate the successful look and feel of its bigger neighbour, Amber Valley, Amber Ridge is a separate development catering mostly to the retired market at affordable prices. However, it also shares many of Amber Valley’s, Amber Lakes’ and Amber Lee’s facilities by arrangement, while still having its own Body Corporate.

The large Community Centre is a significant feature of Amber Ridge, which represents the estate’s contribution to the concept of the “Greater Ambers.” The facility is shared by Amber Ridge, Amber Valley, Amber Lakes, and Amber Lee, and includes an auditorium and a string of Assisted Living Units (ALUs). The 350-seater auditorium is one of the many wonderful features of Amber Ridge, with a separate bar area and an 80-seater functions room. The auditorium has a suspended acoustic ceiling, a substantial stage area, audio-visual facilities, sophisticated stage lighting, and a high-quality sound system. The auditorium opens onto a large, covered patio overlooking a dam, adding to the serene and peaceful atmosphere of the estate.

Click here to read more about Amber Ridge

Meet Amber Ridge Residents Errol and Pam Cunningham

Chartered clients Errol and Pam Cunningham moved to Amber Ridge in 2013, seeking a quieter environment than the busy surroundings of Johannesburg. Having lived previously in Boksburg, Gauteng, they were drawn to the beautiful mountain view from their home and the various services offered by Amber Ridge, such as excellent frail care facilities. The facilities on the estate that they use include the dining room, library, and auditorium for presentations and concerts. Errol particularly benefitted from the high-quality frail care services. They also appreciate their close proximity to everything they might need – doctors, hospitals, lawyers, restaurants, supermarkets and shops. For those considering a move to Amber Ridge, Errol and Pam advise reaching out to the administration to receive answers to any questions. Amber Ridge is well-managed, and residents are kept well-informed about all aspects of the estate, as well as security issues in and around the town.

A review of The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

Reviewed by Karen Wilson

Morgan Housel provides some sage commentary on how our behaviour affects our financial outcomes. Our individual worldviews, the times we’ve lived through, and our experiences invariably colour the investment and spending decisions we make.

He cautions against trying to duplicate another individual’s path to success and advises that people rather focus on broad patterns of success. For Housel, this translates simply to living below his means, not succumbing to greed or rampant materialism to impress others, maintaining risk at a level that lets him sleep at night and trusting compounding to do its work over the longest time possible. He illustrates his points with true stories, including one about the (mis)fortunes of Richard and Ronald. One man was Harvard educated, had an MBA and retired early from an executive position with a prestigious firm. He borrowed heavily to expand one of his showpiece homes – with eye-watering monthly maintenance costs. The other man held two lowly jobs his entire working life, lived in the same 2-bedroom house, and invested the little he could save into blue chip shares over several decades. One man slid into bankruptcy after the 2008 financial crisis; the other died in 2014, leaving $8 Million. These are extreme examples, but they make his point.

The author asserts that money is governed by odds and not certainties, therefore everyone should “Plan on your plan not going according to plan”; things do go wrong because of unforeseeable events or risks (there is a quirky little anecdote about field mice vs German tanks in the book), so have a margin of safety. He advocates a life-long savings habit, even if you are not saving for anything specific, because enough money will give you options and flexibility when you need it.

Some other takeaways from the book: Luck and risk are both real and hard to identify; Less ego, more wealth; Define the cost of success and be ready to pay it – because nothing worthwhile is free. The book is an easy read, with mention of many well-known figures – including a few financial felons. And on the topic of luck, would Bill Gates be where he is today if he had gone to a different high school? Read the book, and you decide.

A copy of The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel is available in our Chartered Client Library.

Cleaning up your Mental Mess by Dr Caroline Leaf

Reviewed by Karen Wilson

The workings of the human mind and the brain (Dr Leaf explains the distinction) make fascinating and complex subject matter. The author of Cleaning up your Mental Mess tells us that people are not totally at the mercy of their thoughts, and that anxiety, stress, trauma, and toxic thinking can be addressed with some mind management techniques. In her words, “events and circumstances can’t be controlled”; however, “we can control our reactions”.

Throughout the book Dr Leaf highlights the neuroplasticity of the brain – how it changes in response to positive or negative thought patterns that also impact our physical health. Her solution for “mental mess” is a five-step learning process she has dubbed ‘the Neurocycle’, which is designed to make you more aware of your thinking/feeling/choosing around an issue, reflect on it, write it down, reconceptualize, and take action steps to implement your new thinking.

According to Dr Leaf’s extensive research, her Neurocycle needs to be practised consistently for at least 63 days (the widely held belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit doesn’t apply here!) to produce real change. She claims that toxic stress and anxiety can be reduced by up to 81% using her five-step Neurocycle and, since your mental landscape is not static, suggests that the ideal approach would be to make this an ongoing lifestyle. She also refers to an app (not free), which she developed to complement the book.

The book is divided into two parts, with the first half focusing on clinical research data that may prove heavy-going for readers who don’t want to learn about the finer points of alpha and beta brain waves or the effects of unmanaged stress on blood measures and chromosomes. This forms the foundation for the Neurocycle that she elaborates on in Part 2. Her writing is inclined to be a little repetitive.

Dr Caroline Leaf is a US-based communication pathologist and neuroscientist who has done research in her field for over 30 years. Her book is available in our Chartered client library for short-term loan.

2023 – the year of trying new things

ChatGPT and why you need to know about it

There’s a new buzzword on everyone’s lips, ChatGPT. So, what exactly is it? To find the answer to that question, I typed the following into ChatGPT:

Write a 400-word article explaining how ChatGPT will change our lives and why it’s important that people of all ages understand it.

And this is what it said.

ChatGPT, an advanced AI-powered chatbot, is set to revolutionise the way we communicate and interact with technology. As a large language model trained by OpenAI, ChatGPT has the ability to generate human-like responses to a wide range of questions and requests, making it an invaluable tool for both individuals and businesses alike.

One of the most significant ways that ChatGPT will change our lives is by providing us with instant access to information. Whether you need to know the answer to a complex math problem or want to find out the weather forecast for your upcoming vacation, ChatGPT is always available to help. This means that people no longer need to spend hours researching or browsing the internet to find the information they need. Instead, they can simply ask ChatGPT and receive a prompt, accurate response.

Moreover, ChatGPT can assist people in learning new languages. As an advanced language model, it can understand and generate responses in multiple languages, making it an ideal tool for language learners. It can help individuals practice their writing, reading, and listening skills in a safe and supportive environment, allowing them to improve their language proficiency.

Another way ChatGPT is poised to change our lives is by improving customer service experiences. With its advanced natural language processing capabilities, ChatGPT can understand complex customer queries and respond to them in a way that is both accurate and helpful. This means that customers no longer need to spend hours waiting on hold or navigating complicated phone menus to get the help they need. Instead, they can chat with ChatGPT and receive an immediate and personalised response.

It is important that people of all ages understand the potential impact of ChatGPT on their lives. For younger generations who have grown up with technology, it may be easier to adapt to using chatbots as a regular communication tool. However, older generations who may not be as tech-savvy may need more guidance and education to fully appreciate the benefits of ChatGPT.

Additionally, it is essential that people understand the limitations of ChatGPT. While it is incredibly advanced, it is still just a machine and may not always provide the most accurate or relevant responses. Users should always be aware of this and use critical thinking when evaluating the information they receive.

In conclusion, ChatGPT is set to change our lives in many ways, from providing instant access to information to improving customer service experiences. By understanding the potential impact of ChatGPT and its limitations, people of all ages can fully appreciate its benefits and make the most of this revolutionary technology.

It’s impressive, isn’t it? A few Chartered clients have started using ChatGPT to write stories for us. In fact, this article featured in last month’s Inflight was written with the help of ChatGPT. It’s so easy to use; all you have to do is go to https://chat.openai.com/chat and register. Play around with it, have fun, and as you know, we love hearing from you, so if you want to write a story about an adventure you have been on recently, then definitely give ChatGPT a try.

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