1. Mr and Mrs B. are in their 80’s; they lived in a flat on the 2nd floor, with no lift. In spite of entreaties from their family who were emigrating, they refused to leave their home. The family had no sooner left than Mr B. had a major stroke, with speech loss and partial paralysis. Their age and his health precluded them from most retirement homes, and the ones that would take them had 3 – 5 year waiting lists. Result – Mr B. is in an assisted care facility at R6000pm, Mrs B. was forced to sell the flat to pay

for medical costs and future expenses. She is renting a studio flat near the frail care facility as she doesn’t drive. If they had moved to a retirement home in their 70’s, Mrs B. would have been secure in a suitable environment, have the comfort and support of a caring community and be able to visit her husband easily.

2. Mr and Mrs S, both late 60’s, have a very nice home. They looked at moving to an “over 50’s” development, but decided they were still too young, and loved their large garden and 3 dogs. Mr S. died suddenly, and Mrs S. now has to:

a) Wait for the estate to be wound up and the house to be transferred into her name.

b) Sell their home – pack up on her own.

c) Look for suitable accommodation alone.

In the meantime she is lonely, unsafe and responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of a large house and garden.

3. Mr and Mrs H. are in their early 80’s and for years have resisted attempts by their family to encourage them to move to a safer environment. One day the unthinkable happened and they were attacked in their home of over 40 years. He was pistol whipped and beaten, she was raped and left for dead. They were hospitalised for months and when discharged, their family placed them in an old age home that would not have been their first choice, but was the only one available. Due to the attack, they are both now frail and dependent on their family to make critical choices for them. They have lost all their independence.

4. Mr and Mrs Y. are active, intelligent individuals in their mid 70’s. Having bought a simplex townhouse, they lead a very comfortable life. Unfortunately, Mrs Y. develops Alzheimer’s. Mr Y’s days are now confined to the house as he doesn’t leave her alone. He eventually has to hire a night nurse, and finds that his days are not only onerous, but very lonely. Unfortunately, no retirement complex will take them as a couple because of her Alzheimers. If they had only moved much earlier, Mr Y. would have had the support and help of a caring community and Mrs Y would be in frail care nearby.

5. Mrs J., age 68, has a 38 year old son, Neil, who is married to a New Zealand girl, and they have two children. Mrs J. invests R250,000 in her sons property and builds a granny cottage. Neil is tragically killed and his wife, who inherits everything, decides to move back to New Zealand. Mrs J. has no legal claim to any proceeds from her sons estate, and her daughter-in-law tells her to view the R250,000 as a donation towards her grandchildrens’ education. Mrs J. is left with her pension of R2,200 per month, her possessions, and no home or financial resources. She has not only lost her son, but also her home and her money.

6. Mr and Mrs K. move from the East Rand to Westville to be close to their son and daughter, and their grandchildren. Both in their 70’s, they build a granny cottage on their daughter’s property. 18 months later their son emigrates and their daughter gets divorced. They and their daughter now discover that her ex-husband is bankrupt and the bank repossesses the property as the bond hasn’t be paid for months. Mr and Mrs K. lose everything.

7. Mr and Mrs C., in their late 60’s, sell their large family home at a reduced price to their son on condition that they can live in the granny flat. After a few years they start realising that they actually have no life of their own and all their activities are centred around fetching grandchildren from school, running them to ballet, drama, extra maths etc. whilst their son and daughter-in-law concentrate on their careers.

Weekends are spent either house sitting the animals or babysitting the kids. Mr and Mrs C. are fed up, but are locked into the agreement as the cash they received from the sale they have spent unwisely. They face an unhappy future and are worried about what will happen when they are no longer useful to their family.

8. Mrs D., in her early 60’s and recently widowed, is persuaded by her family to make her home with her divorced daughter and two grandchildren. She moves in, and shortly thereafter, the domestic leaves, and to help out she undertakes a few chores. Before long she is doing all the housework, cooking, washing, ironing etc. Mrs D. has the courage to say “Enough” and leaves, not without a bitter family argument.