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Scouting For Retirement Home? Read This

By Namrata Kohli
August 05, 2023 14:21 IST
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Before you buy an apartment within a project meant for senior citizens, ensure that the services are of a high standard.
Senior citizens should not sell their current home before they are completely sure about moving into a senior citizens' project.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

Bengaluru-based Gopalkrishna Vishwanath (aged 69), and his wife (aged 64), moved from their three-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom apartment in Parkside Senior Living, Brigade Orchards, Devanahalli.

Says Vishwanath: "We convinced our children this is the best option so that they don't have to worry about us constantly. We own the apartment and pay for the support services, which are excellent."

 

Rising number of seniors

India adds about five-six million senior citizens to its population every year.

Improved healthcare has led to life expectancy rising from 41.4 years in 1960 to 68.8 years in 2018. This 'silver tsunami' has led to an increased demand for retirement homes.

"By 2026, India is expected to have a population of over 173 million seniors, making retirement homes a promising and underserved market," says Shaan Zaveri, partner, Collated Ventures, IKARIA.

IKARIA is a joint venture between Adani Realty and Collated. It is situated at Shantigram township, located between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Need for greater support

Post-retirement, senior citizens experience difficulty in finding and supervising domestic help and other service providers for maintaining their often-large houses.

As health-related issues grow, they require regular medical checkups and supervision.

Senior citizens often also suffer from increased loneliness. These issues get compounded by the fact that their children often live in other cities, or abroad.

A retirement home tries to take care of all these needs.

"We strive to design retirement homes that promote active aging, foster social connections, and offer a wide range of amenities and services that enhance the residents' quality of life," says Ankur Gupta, joint managing director, Ashiana Housing, which recently launched its seventh senior living project, Ashiana Amodh, in Pune.

Pay heed to service standards

Before you buy an apartment within a project meant for senior citizens, ensure that the services are of a high standard.

Says Zaveri: "At IKARIA, our service-led approach is rooted in three aspects: care, community, and convenience. We understand that seniors require a range of specialised services like housekeeping, maintenance, nutritious food options, and emergency medical coordination."

The apartments and, in fact, the entire project should have a design that is suited to the needs of senior citizens: larger hallways, adequate radius for wheelchairs to turn, grab bars, sensory lighting, and anti-skid tiles.

Says Sanjay Bhatia, senior director, community development, Antara Senior Living, which operates retirement homes in Dehradun and Noida: "At Antara, we are careful about the intricate details in design such as configured rooms, rounded walls and corners to avoid injuries from fall, emergency buttons that are easily reachable, and ramps for easy wheelchair access."

Proximity to a high-quality hospital should be a major criterion while selecting a project. It should also not be too distant from the main city.

Rent or buy?

People planning to move into a retirement home must evaluate whether they would like to rent or buy a house within such a project.

"Renting offers greater flexibility. In case the senior citizen couple finds it difficult to adjust in the new community, they will have the option to move out," says Vishal Dhawan, chief executive officer and founder, Plan Ahead Wealth Advisors.

The decision to purchase should ideally be made after living within the project for some time.

Dhawan adds that senior citizens should also not sell their current dwelling place before they are completely sure about moving into a senior citizens' project.

Rules regarding access and stay by friends and family members should be examined closely.

"Also remember that selling a house within a retirement project may not be easy since the target segment is limited to people above 55," says Dhawan.

Evaluate the cost

Factor in the overall costs of moving into a retirement home. Besides the cost of purchasing the house, there will also be costs related to maintenance, caregiving, and other services.

Says Colonel Achal Sridharan, founder, CovaiCare, "There is a fixed monthly maintenance cost. In Coimbatore, this is around Rs 6,500-Rs 7,000 (plus 18% GST) per dwelling. In addition, there are variable costs which depend on the services that a person opts for, such as caregivers, housekeeping staff, and so on."

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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Namrata Kohli
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