At the moment, European Seniors are living in their homes for as long as possible, contrary to US citizens who have no problems changing their home when retiring. Many of them move to the south like California, Arizona, or Florida where they buy either new homes for independent living or serviced opportunities. So far, this concept is not very popular in Europe. European seniors are not as mobile, most of them stay in their homes living independently, or if they cannot get along with Hausarbeit, they get homecare assistance ranging from a few hours a day to 24-hour care.
Checking into a nursing home is another option, but at the moment it’s a not so popular alternative as it’s viewed as a step closer to the end of your life. It can be seen to some as a one-way road. Once you enter, there’s no going back, this is it. This is the main concern for seniors when they make decisions about their living situation as they grow older, which is why senior residences in Europe aren’t that popular.
Living in the same place you have your entire life has some advantages, of course. You know where your local shops are, the entertainment spots and the restaurants. But things are changing rapidly all around us. Shops close and reopen in different locations. The supermarket is no longer within walking distance. The local doctor has retired and the urban area around your neighborhood is changing with the times.
It’s often the case that once you grow older, the place that you used to call home and it’s surrounding neighborhood isn‘t what it used to be. The people who you chatted to on the street walking to your local grocer have left. Maybe your beloved has passed. Your kids left a long time ago to another city or even another country. At times like this in your life, it’s becoming more difficult to meet new friends and make new connections. So living in your big house and garden which you built with your family many joyful years ago may now seem a bit lonely, empty. With all of this comes the maintenance of your lovely home, a place which you can‘t mentally leave right now.
There may be a group of seniors who left their home country to pursue their dream of working abroad, far away from home. But by the time they retire and head back home, nothing is as it was. This may just not feel like home anymore.
When you excel in your professional career you make contacts, you meet many people all around you, but once you retire you may come to find that these people were drawn to you because of your professional position. So maybe it’s time for a new chapter in life.
There are quite a few seniors moving to south Europe like Spain, Greece and French Cote D’azur, or even Cyprus. But what tends to happen is people go down the same road. They buy a new house with a garden, usually far from the next village and it tends to be more work than expected. A new environment, new unknown rules and laws of the country, and even a new language that they don’t understand. All these factors hinder their ability to follow their interests and start doing what imagined they would be doing.
There’s another option. Why not sell your house and move into an alternative model of living? To a destination with a moderate temperature, not too hot in the summer and mild in the winter. Outside the bustling loud city away from the traffic jams, but still close enough for an evening filled with entertainment and socializing. Who knows, maybe a football game or a concert, the options could be endless.
Move to a place where you meet likeminded people. People with the same social status who find joining a 5-star country club in an outstanding setting as appealing as you. People who see retirement as a new chapter, a new challenge to be welcomed. People who want to face this new part of their lives not in solitude but in company with similar minded people. A new life with open-minded people from all over Europe surrounded by beautiful parks, gardens and all the amenities you could think of. A restaurant, a gym, a spa all along with the best medical services, event rooms, concierge service and so on. These are the things that will make you really enjoy what life can offer you.
To be honest, who needs a 300m2 villa when they are 70 years old? What do you want to represent if you could not do it before, with 70 it might be too late. It’s a lot more convenient to just go walk the stairs and meet your bridge party instead of making appointments for a week in advance, then take a taxi driving 1/2 hour or more to finally get to your game.
When it comes to serviced living, there’s a lot of advantages to be spoken about. You get a hotel-like experience and service. Opting into getting your house cleaned, or doing it yourself. The freedom and options are there. Meals cooked and ready to be served right at your door. With a concierge service, spa, gym, pool, physiotherapy, indoor and outdoor pool, restaurants and meeting rooms all under one roof. This giving you the opportunity to really relax and enjoy each day without having to leave the property unless you wish to do so.
The amount of time spent when living in your own house or apartment to book appointments at the spa or physiotherapist adds up. Think about the time it took to get read, get your car out and search for a parking space. If you’re lucky enough and have a pool, think about the cost and time it takes to maintain. With serviced living, all of this goes away. As we said, social contacts are getting more and more lost the older one gets, and often you end up living alone in your house or apartment.
Taking all this into consideration, Golden Age Society was found by Dr. Alexander Kraft, a former orthopedic surgeon from Vienna.
His aim is to create a model for senior living in a 5-star hotel like a country club with serviced apartments for those who see their retirement not as the last chapter, but as a new chapter in their life.
Golden Age Society is looking for plots all over Southern Europe to develop senior living serviced apartment clubs with 60 to max 100 units. Each of them will have an adjacent country club with the above amenities and is focused on the best medical care.
At the moment our main focus is on Portugal due to the special tax regulations for foreign retirees (no tax on your pension). This along with the very cheap costs of living makes it a very attractive location. Locations we are also taking look into with regards to similar projects in South Croatia, Greece and Cyprus.
Pensioners who want to move to southern Europe usually sell their property and buy or rent a new home in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece or Cyprus. They do so with the aim to flee cold temperatures in middle and northern Europe.
Health problems with increasing age can be another challenge in this situation, this may make people afraid of making the decision to move. Often they don’t trust in the medical system which sometimes is absolutely justified, so they go back home for treatment, surgery or rehabilitation. Sometimes they stay back at home, even if they wanted to come back south, afraid of getting relapsed.
But the biggest problem for these people appears when they become seriously handicapped and need permanent help. That‘s the time most of them return to their initial country to check into a nursing home with all its negative aspects. It might actually take one or more years to finally get settled in the new home and quite often some of these expatriates end up giving up and return totally frustrated.
This may be the reason why much lesser numbers of those who desire to leave to a new home in the south give up their dreams.
So how could theses group of people be helped to get settled in their new home and avoid all these above-mentioned problems?
As mentioned before, in the US many pensioners retire in specially adapted settlements in the south of the USA, most of them are country clubs often connected with golf courses. One can buy either villas or flats of various sizes.
Moving into such a community of serviced living brings the advantage that all the above-mentioned problems will not occur.