Sunday, April 25, 2010

Houses for senior citizens

Houses for senior citizens

Saumyajit Roy
Tags : senior citizens, Old-age home
Posted: Saturday , Apr 24, 2010 at 0028 hrs

The standard of living of senior citizens has undergone a sea-change
in the last few years. With their growing numbers, increased financial
independence and change in mindset, the elderly, these days, have
started living life on their own terms and not at the mercy of their
children and family. They are no longer considered as a withdrawn,
risk-averse and financially-dependent section of the population. The
immense potential of this segment, with its unique needs and promises,
offers an array of opportunities to the Indian real estate market.
Need-based product development

While opportunities exist, it is important to understand the ecosystem
in which seniors live in India. The aged population faces numerous
issues, therefore, it is imperative that real estate developers
understand and acknowledge the unique requirements of this sector. A
growing sense of insecurity, absence of companionship, fear of getting
obsolete, loss of relevance within the family, increasing physical
disability, difficulty to access transport, a need for quality
healthcare and geriatric care, and complexity in conducting the daily
chores of family life are some of the several issues that this
population faces today. These, compounded with poor access to the
government and other support systems, insurance and legal assistance,
simply immobilises them. These nuances of old age need to be
thoroughly recognised by India's developers.

Collapse of support systems

The fast collapse of India's traditional family support system has
given rise to an increased number of nuclear families in the country.
In India, more than 60 per cent of households are nuclear and 8.94 per
cent of the population is aged above 60 years - indicating that the
aged are in greater need of support than ever.

Social stigma

Though the concept of old-age or retirement homes still has a social
stigma of abandonment attached to it, this retrograde mindset is
slowly changing. Today a large number of seniors are adapting
themselves to the idea of 'senior living'. Elderly, now, prefer
spending their sunset years with similar-aged companions and share
facilities in settings of enablement and security. Interestingly, a
recent survey of households with senior citizens revealed that over 60
per cent found the concept of a senior citizen's club or a senior
citizen's association as a viable and practical one. Contemporary
retirement homes or resorts have replaced the earlier concept of
old-age homes, which symbolised the last option for needy and
abandoned elderly.

Advanced facilities

Today, retirement homes offer a multitude of facilities to their
occupants. The residents no longer have to worry about minute details
of daily household errands, paying bills, security issues and timely
medical treatment. Rather, they can opt for an active lifestyle and
utilise their time in recreational activities, suitable companionship
and participation in social work. There are arrangements for prompt
response to medical emergencies by way of doctors, ambulances and
tie-ups with nearby hospitals. Some projects also offer continuing
care units for ailing residents. These living spaces are designed for
the aged and their day-to-day needs.

Existing projects

Private entities who have already made a foray into enabled senior
living projects are Shobhaa Developers, Rakindo Group, Brigade Group,
Ashiana Group of Builders, Paranjape Schemes and Riverdale Retirement
Resorts. Their projects are already operational in major cities like
Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore. LIC Housing Finance Ltd
has made an entrance in the sector with Care Homes at Bengaluru as a
part of the social responsibility. Apart from these, there are
charitable organisations working in this area of real estate
development. A majority of these developments have 50-100 units in the
resorts or complexes. The typology of units varies from 1 BHK to 3 BHK
units, resorts and studio apartments.

The author is assistant vice president (senior living) Jones Lang
LaSalle Meghraj.

Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278

You can take a horse to water but not a donkey.

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