In our Tafta blog, we write about anything and everything to do with active ageing, and promoting a life worth living, regardless of age
In a recent survey to assess the impact of Covid-19 on retirement planning*, 66% of respondents stated that the lockdown had affected them financially. Among the steps they had to take to stay afloat were:
- Finding another source of income
- Making special arrangements with creditors to pay their bills
- Asking family and friends for financial assistance.
Over one-third of respondents dipped into their retirement savings. While some saw this as ‘borrowing’, a quarter of those who used their savings believe it is a permanent disinvestment or loss – which doesn’t bode well for their financial future.
South Africans are already notoriously lax about saving for retirement. Only about 6% of the population has saved enough to be able to retire comfortably. Lower income earners, in particular, find it difficult to save. Planning is especially difficult for those who are not in formal employment and/or who are unable to reduce expenses (e.g. cost of managing chronic medical conditions). Many spend everything they earn every month (if not more) and plan to carry on working until the day they die.
50% of those surveyed said they would rely on financial assistance from their children or grandchildren when they retire. Only 15% indicated that they would retire on a Government pension.
Pandemic forced people to think about retirement planning
The survey, which focused on people aged 50 and upwards across all race groups and income levels, revealed that the pandemic has forced people to give more thought to retirement planning.
90% of respondents mentioned the importance of paying off mortgages and credit card debts in order to have sufficient income to cover regular bills for the rest of their lives. 82% were aware that they might need to plan for medical expenses and long-term or frail care in their golden years, while 78% hoped to be able to leave money for their children and grandchildren.
The survey didn’t drill down further into how these different goals translate into specific actions that need to be taken now. For example, you may succeed in paying off your mortgage, but will you still be able to maintain your home as you get older and less fit and mobile? Will it still be suitable, or will it be too large (and lonely) if you lose your spouse? Are there steps or small, tricky spaces in the bathroom that will be a problem if you are confined to a wheelchair later on?
Long waiting lists
It could well be that you would be more comfortable in an old age home or retirement village – especially if you need frail care when you are older. But many of these, especially the more affordable places, have long waiting lists. It’s a good idea to add your name to the waiting list early … long before you actually need to move in. If your name gets to the top of the list before you are ready to take occupation, you can always relinquish your place to the next person on the list. Tafta has an online application system that makes the process quick and easy.
If leaving money to your children is important to you, buying into a life rights retirement development may not be your best option. Read the fine print carefully. When you buy on a life rights scheme, you never actually own the property – you are only entitled to use it for the rest of your life.
After your death, or if you change your mind and want to vacate the property for some reason, the owner is entitled to resell it. Depending on the number of years you’ve occupied the property and the specific terms of the agreement you signed, your heirs may or may not receive a portion of the original purchase price and/or any profit after the cost of reselling and refurbishment has been deducted.
Tafta’s Life Rights scheme guarantees that you (or your heirs) get back 100% of the purchase price or 80% of the resale price – whichever is the lesser. View Tafta properties available to buy on Life Rights.
Although most of the people surveyed in the Just Retirement study are aware of the need to plan ahead and save for retirement, they admit that they have difficulty choosing the best retirement products/investments and are not confident of achieving their goals.
Do you have enough saved to retire?
Three in five respondents said they were not sure that they have enough money to last. Newly retired people in the 65-70 age group had the least confidence that their savings will be sufficient.
Most confident were those in the 50-54 age group, who possibly feel they still have sufficient time to build up their savings, and paradoxically, older people (71-85) who have a decade or more of experience in managing on their retirement income.
Covid-19, with its widespread job losses and salary cuts, brought us face to face with the dire consequences of not having a nest egg or ‘rainy day’ savings to fall back on. And it was a grim precursor to what life might look like after we retire.
Make retirement savings a priority
Even if you feel that you can’t save for retirement because you just don’t have enough money, it may be time to relook your priorities. Making saving a priority means that you will have to do without something else that you want or need. It’s good to know the difference. Even things that you think you need – a new phone, perhaps – should be carefully assessed.
It’s also helpful to know exactly what you are spending your money on. You may think you do, but do you really? The takeaway coffee on the way to work or the chocolate bar slipped into your basket while you stand in line at the till only cost a few rand. But if you do it often enough, these non essentials can mount up into several hundred rand a month.
Living more frugally is a habit that has to be learned. It’s not easy when there are so many temptations or pressure to keep up with friends who always have the latest gadgets and designer clothes. But it is possible to learn to appreciate what you have and find peace in simplicity. Perhaps this is the greatest lesson that Covid-19 and the lockdown have taught us.
[* Just Retirement Insights Lite 2020]
[January 15, 2021]
If you’re active on social media, you may have noticed numerous posts recently of Tafta residents having a whole lot of fun!
From being included in our fabulous festive lunches to being gifted with all sorts of goodies from caring Durbanites, our elders are really spoiled … as they deserve … at this time of year. And the spoiling continues pretty much all year round! We enjoy a constant stream of visitors to our Homes, who bring entertainment, treats, pamper manicure sessions, dancing lessons, sports days, and opportunities to learn all sorts of handcrafts. There’s never a dull moment at Tafta!
Happy and active
Our Homes and Wellness Centres are active, happy places, offering seniors of all ages and fitness levels the opportunity to really enjoy their golden years. If you are over the age of 60, have been a permanent resident of Durban for at least one year and have a minimum income of a State Pension, why not think about joining our Tafta family?
Choose from a range of accommodation options to suit all pockets and fitness levels – from rooms to rent, to spacious, upmarket flats for rent or sale. Our buildings have been selected with convenience in mind; some are close to the beach or the hospital, others are centrally situated or near shopping centres, libraries and other facilities.
Most of our buildings are on bus routes, and many have their own facilities, such as communal laundries, ‘tuck’ shops, libraries (some with internet facilities), hairdressers, clinics and even chapels.
You’ll find a full list of accommodation and facilities offered by Tafta on our website.
Many older people resist the idea of moving into a retirement home. They value their independence and fear being “shut away in a community of dull, old people”. When circumstances finally force them to move, they are amazed at how their lives suddenly open up again.
Loneliness – a major problem for the elderly
Living on your own as an elder can be terribly lonely. Spouses die, children grow up and are busy with their own lives (often in a different city or even a different country). Safety is another major concern, with home invasions and car hijackings at an all time high.
As we get older, dwindling energy levels can make home maintenance a burden. Activities we previously enjoyed, like gardening, can become ‘too much’ for creaking knees; even changing a light bulb is a chore.
Compare this to life in a Tafta Home – where someone else takes care of all the boring maintenance tasks. You don’t even have to cook for yourself if you don’t want to!
Peace of mind
Sit back and enjoy peace of mind, companionship and security … in fact, the freedom to live your life the way you want to. And if you should fall ill or become frail and unable to care for yourself properly, there’s the comfort of knowing there are well trained people at hand to help you.
For the fit and healthy, our social clubs and Wellness Centres provide an opportunity to meet new friends and participate in a range of activities – from bingo, bridge and chess, to dancing, exercise and ‘Masterchef’ classes and a variety of sports. We even have an annual sports day with teams competing against each other.
So if you’re looking for a place to live that will keep you safe, enable you to stay active, to make friends and to be part of a greater family, please contact the Intake Social Worker on +27 31 332 3721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about living in one of our Homes. Or you can apply online on our website.
[December 10, 2020]
With the festive holiday season fast approaching comes the challenge of finding fun things for the kids to do. If you need to include elderly parents or friends who are unable to walk far in these outings, this handy list of wheelchair friendly venues is full of inspiration. Remember, you can hire wheelchairs, crutches and other assistive devices from Tafta at nominal rates. Please call 031 332 3721 or email email@example.com.
Durban Botanic Gardens
Established in 1849, this is Africa’s oldest surviving botanic garden, and well worth a visit. Every day from 7h30-17h15 you can wander to your heart’s content through 15 hectares of paved walkways providing easy access for wheelchairs. Or you can take a guided golf cart tour. Entrance to the gardens is free and there is a gift shop and gourmet coffee shop.
Trail of Lights
From 11-30 December (including Christmas Day), visit the Trail of Lights from 6-10pm and get into the Christmas spirit in support of various charities (including Tafta). An illuminated trail winds its way through the dark gardens, providing a magical experience and fun for the entire family in a safe and secure environment.
With new displays, over 1 million lights, a festive market, food gardens, live entertainment and holiday activities, the Trail of Lights continues to create magical memories over the festive season. Entrance is by ticket only (no tickets at the gate) from R50 per person. Prebook at Web tickets or Pick n Pay.
uShaka Marine World
Everyone’s favourite, uShaka Marine World, is totally wheelchair friendly – from the water park to the aquarium and a selection of restaurants. While you’re there, browse through the mall alongside or take a walk along the new promenade, with its wide paved walkway offering magnificent views of the beach and sea and invigorating sea breezes. The Umhlanga promenade is another enjoyable option for people confined to wheelchairs to get out into the fresh air and sunshine.
Everyone wants to go to the beach!
Want to take a disabled person onto the beach and let them feel the sand between their toes? At last, this is a reality, thanks to a project to install MobiMats at some Durban beaches. These mats provide a slip-resistant surface that is rigid, while allowing the flexibility of the mesh surface to contour the sand beneath.
Another option is to hire a special beach wheelchair, available at various beaches around Durban. These wheelchairs can carry granny or gramps across soft beach sand and even into the water.
For more information, please visit The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) website or contact one of the venues below to book a beach wheelchair free of charge:
- Suncoast Beach – 031 314 7878
- uShaka Surf & Adventures, South Beach – 031 332 9949
- Southroom Beach Granny’s Pool – 082 771 3158. There are two beach wheelchairs, as well as wheelchair access to the beach via a ramp with excellent ablution facilities
- Ocean Braai restaurant on North Beach: Beach wheelchairs can be rented free of charge.
Umgeni River Bird Park
The Umgeni River Bird Park has wide paved walkways that are easy to navigate in a wheelchair and, apart from the stunning array of birds on display – from North and South America, Africa, Indonesia and Australia – you can also enjoy wonderful green vegetation, tall shady trees, waterfalls and amazing rock faces.
Time your visit for around 11am when you can enjoy a free flight bird show with critically endangered species like the Wattled Crane, as well as owls, storks, hornbills and a Cape Vulture in free unrestricted flight. There is also a café and children’s playground to keep all members of the family entertained. Special rates for pensioners and children under 3 are free.
Another favourite with Durbanites, Mitchell Park is a gardener’s delight with stunning flowerbed displays, mature trees and green lawns. There is also a menagerie and a collection of aviaries housing exotic birds, animals, tortoises, tropical fish and reptiles, plus a children’s playground and restaurant. Perfect for a family day out.
This hidden gem is not only interesting and informative, but wheelchair friendly with on-site parking and entrance is free!
Situated in a building that was once one of the most despised structures in Durban – the Department of Native Affairs – the building has been transformed into a place of hope and optimism, a place in which diversity is celebrated and those who were once a part of the struggle against injustice are honoured.
Please note the museum is closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Phezulu Crocodile and Snake Park
Take a drive up to the Valley of 1000 Hills for an enjoyable visit to Phezulu Crocodile and Snake Park, where you can see giant crocodiles in their natural habitat, as well as an astounding number of snake species including African Rock Pythons, Green and Black Mamba, Boomslang, Vine Snake, Puff Adder, Spitting Cobra, Rinkhals, Anaconda and Boa Constrictor. There is a tearoom and curio shop too.
Mandela Capture Site
More time on your hands? Continue up the N3 to the Mandela Capture Site and Apartheid Museum, dominated by the unique landmark sculpture of 50 steel columns (representing the 50 years since Mandela’s capture) that reveal the face of Madiba when viewed at exactly the right angle. Special rates for pensioners and children under 12 are free.
If you can recommend other wheelchair friendly outings, please use the comment section below to share details with others. Thank you!
[December 3, 2020]
Are you caring for an elderly or disabled family member? Regardless of how much you love them, or your sense of duty and responsibility, the truth is that all caregivers need a break from time to time. If you neglect self care, your reserves will become depleted and you will not be able to give of your best to care for your loved one.
This is where respite care is so useful. It provides short-term relief for primary caregivers – anything for just a few hours off to relax and pursue personal interests and activities, to several days or even weeks to enable the caregiver to go away on holiday or to recover from an illness. Respite care can be provided at the elderly person’s home, or in a care facility such as one of our Tafta Homes.
Often, caregivers disregard the importance of their own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being due to feelings of guilt or concern about the quality of care their loved one might receive elsewhere, or how it might look to others.
But, just as flight attendants always instruct us to put on our own oxygen masks first before attempting to help a child or other passenger, so at-home caregivers need to first make sure that their own needs are taken care of.
This is particularly important if the elderly person is severely disabled or bedridden, or regularly needs to be helped to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Caring for someone with Alzheimers can also be stressful and draining, especially if they need to be constantly monitored to prevent accidents, e.g. leaving a pot to boil on the stove, or wandering away and getting lost.
Not a sign of weakness or selfishness
It’s not selfish to put your own needs first. Nor is it a sign of weakness to ask for help. By using respite care services, you can make sure you get enough time to exercise, pursue hobbies and activities that give you pleasure, and get the rest and relaxation you need. You will also have time and energy to nurture other relationships – spend more time with your spouse or children, relatives or friends who may feel they are being ignored.
Of course it’s important to know that your loved one is in a secure, loving environment where he or she will be well cared for. Elders using our respite services are cared for by qualified care practitioners, who have extensive experience with older people.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
[November 24, 2020]
Thanks to the sudden and widespread financial insecurity triggered by Covid-19 and the national lockdown, many of us have been brought face to face with the reality of our financial vulnerability.
With no guarantee of a paycheck at the end of the month, we belatedly realise the importance of having saved for that ‘rainy day’. Those with healthy savings have a much better chance of weathering the Covid-19 storm, while those who put off this vital aspect of planning for the future – or worse, have been overspending on credit for years – face a very anxious time indeed.
No more paychecks
If nothing else, the financial implications of widespread retrenchments and job losses offers us a glimpse of what our lives will be like when we retire. When there are no more paychecks … ever. And it’s not an encouraging picture.
South Africans are notoriously bad about saving for retirement. Only about 6% of the population have saved enough to be able to retire comfortably. The vast majority have no formal plan on how they will fund their retirement. Or how they will manage on a government old age grant of just R1 700 per month!
Old Age Grant
If you consider that a decent medical aid alone costs more than R1 700 per month – and that’s before you’ve paid rent/levies, electricity and water, food, clothing and other essentials – you don’t have to be a financial genius to understand that retirement is going to be a time of deprivation and extreme hardship … unless adult children and other family members step in to help.
For those working for minimum wage, or barely making ends meet as it is, saving for retirement is simply not possible. But this lack of saving is not just an income issue. People in the mid to high income brackets are equally guilty of failing to plan adequately for their retirement. Unrealistic expectations, financial ignorance and ill-discipline all play a part.
Are you on track?
Even those who do have retirement savings often fail to monitor their progress. Most have no idea whether or not they are on track to meet their goal to be able to support themselves in retirement. And the problem is compounded by not knowing how many years we have to plan for. There’s a big difference between funding five or ten year’s retirement (assuming we die between the ages of 70 -75) or having to make our savings last for 20-30 years, should we live well into our 80s or 90s.
By forcing people to suddenly cope with dramatically reduced income, the Covid-19 pandemic has fast-forwarded South Africans to a potential future where they no longer have an income, and little to no savings to fall back on. But the lessons we have learned from the current situation may just save us!
Learning to live with less
Hopefully people who have had to downgrade their lifestyle will take the lesson to heart; it’s possible to live on a lot less than we thought possible.
Do we really need a new car every few years, wardrobes full of designer clothes, all the latest electronic gadgets, or expensive overseas holidays? By cutting back on spending and putting the money we save into an investment account, we’ll not only cushion ourselves from life’s unexpected ups and downs – we’ll hopefully be better prepared to retire comfortably when the time comes.
If you are over the age of 60 and are in desperate need of help with accommodation and other necessities of life, please contact email@example.com.
[November 17, 2020]