Advice to down-scaling couples

The Somerset Lifestyle & Retirement Village

Advice to down-scaling couples

What advice can my wife and I share with those who are thinking about scaling down and making the brave move to a retirement village?

  • Once you have decided to scale down, be positive about it, put your foot down on the accelerator and make your move!
  • Do not wait too long before you move into a retirement village. If you are married or living together as a couple, do so while you both are still fairly healthy and active. Moving from your settled surroundings to a new environment is in itself a traumatic experience. Doing so after the death of your spouse or partner generates more trauma and it gets even worse when you are forced by your children to make such a move.
  • Making new friends and allowing strangers into your private life and habits get more difficult the older you are. The older you get, the more selfish you get. So try to move to a retirement village before you get too old and while you are still young at heart.
  • Make sure that the difference between a life right and freehold property ownership is explained to you in detail by the sales team, and most important that you understand it before you put your signature on any sales document. If in doubt, consult your financial adviser and/or attorney.
  • Be brave and get rid of all the unnecessary “baggage” you have stored or carried with you for the past 40 years or more. Sell it, give it away, donate it to charity, or even throw it away. Just do it! You will feel liberated once you’ve done it.
  • Decide beforehand what you want to bring with you to your new house and make sure that it will fit in your house. Take measurements of these and discuss it with the architects in the planning phase of your new down-scaled house. Otherwise you might find that you haven’t got the space for your beloved 200-year-old piano which survived the Anglo Boer War, and now it is far too large for any room in your new home!
  • Approach your move to your new smaller house as an adventure – after all, it is the start of a new and exciting part of your journey through life.
  • Be positive about making new friends and reaching out to other people living in your village. We have met fantastic people in The Somerset and have made many new friends.
  • Please do not get glued down in your new house or unit, but get out of it. Even if it is just to have your lunch in the dining room or joining other residents for happy hour once a week in the club house. Not all people are the same, but there will be one or even a few that you might become friends with. Life is like a fruit salad, and if you do not like the few pieces of pineapple in it, remember it is an integral part of it, because it gives the fruit salad that special flavour!
  • Remember that there are conduct rules that you will have to abide to. These rules are not intended to make life difficult for you – on the contrary, they are there to make life for all living together in a village or sectional title unit comfortable and enjoyable.
  • Get something to keep your mind and body busy. Get involved in a hobby, a book club, in a formal charity project, your own one-man business, or any other activities, actions or projects organised by management. This will do you a lot of good, make you feel wanted and at the same time you will be adding value to your own life as well as to the lives of others. Most importantly, it will keep you away from gossiping and those who thrive on it!
  • Become a member of a big happy family within the retirement fraternity and try not to find fault with every single thing that is happening around you. A positive, constructive attitude in a retirement environment is contagious and will make you a happy person living in a happy place amongst other happy residents.

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Author: Marius Kritzinger

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