Top Active Senior Living Trends In India
Times have changed and so has the definition of retirement. Today, senior citizens want to retire on their own terms and at a place of their choice. So, when more and more of India's younger generation is taking to work or study abroad or wanting to live an independent life devoid of the responsibility of their ageing parents and grandparents in their own country, senior citizens are showing interest in living an independent life away from the humdrum of the city even at the cost of being alone. This trend has given rise to the concept of retirement homes in the country.
Well, a serene and peaceful environment to live in is what is desired by most of the senior citizens these days and the retirement homes provide just that. Although, this concept is not new and quite popular in the West, it is now that India has started to look at it positively not long ago.
Although, more than 50 per cent of the Indian population falls below the age of 25, the country is also ageing rapidly. According to the projections, Indias older population would rise significantly by the middle of the century and there would be 323 million seniors by the middle of the century. In fact, as per the United Nations Population Division, people aged 60 and above may increase from eight per cent in 2010 to 19 per cent in 2050. Thus, the numbers speak for themselves and it would not be wrong to say that there is huge scope for development and growth of retirement homes in the country.
While, during the period of 1980s-90s, senior care in India was confined to old-age homes only, things have changed drastically now. The concept of retirement homes has itself undergone a major change from the erstwhile image of being charitable institutions with minimum facilities to self-sufficient and active senior living communities/townships. Thus, Retirement Homesthe concept which was first originated in South Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, has now gained popularity across India.
Particularly, sentiments and outlook changed considerably over the last few years. Furthermore, many elderly people now have sufficient monetary reserves and have begun valuing their independence even after retirement. Thus, developers have begun catering to this emerging demand and the concept is gaining ground rapidly.
Emerging locations for retirement homes
Locations such as outskirts of Mumbai like Bhiwandi, Delhi NCR region, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Coimbatore, Goa, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Dehradun are emerging as an attractive destination for active senior living in India. Many builders are focusing on building such idyllic retreats in these regions.
Of them, Ashiana Housing Ltd is the pioneer. At the time, when other builders were just thinking of venturing into active senior living projects, the company launched its first project in Bhiwadi in 2005 by the name Ashiana Utsav. Today, the company, synonymous with quality, has 3 fully-operational active senior living projects in Delhi NCR, Jaipur and Lavasa (near Pune). As on date, nearly 1200 families are residing in these three projects. Further, one more project is under construction in Chennai.
Difference between retirement homes and usual projects
As opposed to small space, cramped roads, a suffocating environment and lack of safety measures in city apartments, retirement homes have more space, are situated away from the city and equipped with better safety measures and facilities.
Since the retirement homes are constructed for the elderly, developers in the segment have to ensure the following features in such homes:
Age-friendly design: It includes skid-resistant tiles and curved wall edges across the apartment floors, coloured light switches and grab-bars in bathrooms and night lamps and emergency bell switches in the bedroom.
Facilitating an active life: Supporting an active life is a must for retirement homes. Thus, the retirement homes generally have various indoor and outdoor sports events, day-trips and festival celebrations. They also have swimming pools, games area, Yoga classes, meditation classes and other fitness options at the gym and activity centres. If we talk about Ashiana Housing, then its maintenance team plans a range of entertainment and learning activities i.e., over 2000 events in just one year across all Ashiana projects.
Safe and secure environment: Retirement homes need to ensure maximum safety and security to its residents. Thus, they are guarded 24x7 by trained and equipped security staff and have CCTV cameras for round-the-clock surveillance. They even have emergency response system in each and every apartment to ensure added safety to the elderly.
Medical facilities: 24X7 Emergency care are readily available with a nurse, a doctor on-call and ambulances.
Hassle-free living: To ensure a hassle-free life, most of the senior living projects have maintenance services offered by the in-house maintenance staff. Electricians and plumbers are made available on call.
Thus, retirement homes typically include enhanced features that can make living for the elderly far more secure and comfortable. All the Ashiana Active Senior Living homes have the above-mentioned facilities. They offer comforts of a regular home with additional functionality and detailing to suit the needs of its senior residents.
Challenges faced by developers in the segment
While there are various opportunities for growth, the segment is not devoid of challenges. The key challenges for the developers launching active senior living projects in the country are mainly the affordability factor and the lack of trained manpower sensitive to and capable of handling such specialised projects.
Bright future ahead
Despite the challenges, the future is bright for retirement homes segment in the country. The demand for retirement homes has been going up continuously, despite initial apprehensions of Indian real estate sector. Today, many developers including Ashiana Housing are coming up with a variety of retirement homes in the country.
A report by international consulting firm estimates that there are about 32 senior living projects in India spanning across the country and about same number of homes are under construction.
Thus, definitely, these active senior living projects or popularly known as retirement homes in the country are bringing back the smile on the faces of the oldies.
The article is authored by Ankur Gupta, Joint Managing Director, Ashiana Housing. He is a renowned speaker on ‘Retirement Communities’ all over the world. He is on the advisory board of Ageing Asia, Retirement Living World (India) & Co-founder of ASLI (Association of Senior Living in India).