In South Africa we are fortunate in that there are over 1 000 retirement communities countrywide, ranging from very modest to very luxurious, giving a potential buyer the opportunity to make an appropriate choice. Retirement complexes are a relatively new concept in this country. Previously, elderly people spent their retirement years in:

* Old age homes where the majority of the residents were in need of assisted living or full frail care. Government subsidies were freely available for this type of facility.

* Their own homes.

* Sub-economic housing schemes provided by the Government or charity organisations.

* Families were able to take care of their elderly and ‘granny flats’ became popular.

By the early eighties crime became a factor to be reckoned with and a huge need arose for accommodation for retirees that was not strictly an old age home, but provided them with a secure and comfortable standard of living where they could live out their remaining years in peace and

harmony and where medical and frail care facilities were close at hand.

Property developers gradually began recognising this, and by the mideighties large-scale developments, which were often sold out before the first brick was laid, were taking place. Unfortunately, unscrupulous developers were able to take advantage of this situation, promising that

facilities such as frail care, sports and community centres would be built at a later stage. Often though, this did not happen, resulting in considerable loss and inconvenience to the owners.

These scandals, in which some retired people lost all their savings, eventually led to the Government passing the Housing Development Schemes for Retired Persons Act 65 of 1988 and amendment number 70 of 1990. This meant that senior citizens could now buy into a retirement community and know that they had the full protection of the Government behind them.

Other acts such as The Sectional Titles Act No. 95 of 1986, Share Holdings Act No. 59 of 1980, Aged Persons Act No. 81 of 1967 and as amended Act No. 100 of 1998 have all contributed to the financial

security of buying into a retirement complex.