Previously, senior citizen care in India was confined to old age homes. More so these were meant for the poor and run on charity. But now with the majority of young educated people moving to the foreign countries, many parents from the middle-class and upper middle-class sections find themselves rather alone in their old age with no one to take care of them during a medical emergency.
For this reason many aged people are moving to retirement homes, projects specifically designed for senior citizens. Better security and medical facilities, a less polluted environment and the opportunity to live with people of their own age group make retirement homes a good option of living to the aged people.
Many people are buying retirement homes as part of retirement planning.
Senior citizen facilities in retirement homes
The design of such flats are done to suit the requirements of senior citizens and generally have
- five storeys
- one- or two-bedroom units
- wider doors
- bigger bathrooms
- anti-skid vitrified tile flooring in all rooms
- intercom facility
- ramps for wheelchair access
- bigger lifts
- large flush doors to accommodate wheelchairs
- corridors with support railings/grab rails
These home also provide basic medical facilities. They have
- 24×7 availability of nursing staff
- doctor on call
- physio rooms
- Caregivers offered at an extra cost for the disabled, the bedridden or the sick.
- emergency switches
- other emergency facilities
- medical centres nearby
Besides, the retirement homes provide facilities like
- screening hall for movies
- convenience stores
- club area with rooms to play cards and follow hobbies
- housekeeping and laundry services
- community hall for cultural events and festivals
- mess facility offering customised or home-cooked food daily
Statistics about Retirement Homes
- The trend started in South India and moved towards Northern states.
- By 2013, there were 30 assisted living projects in the country with another 30 lined up.
- The senior living industry in India is still in its nascent stages.
- As the population of the elderly people above 60 years of age is expected to grow from around 76 million today to 173 million by 2025, the industry is estimated to expand.
- The current demand itself is more than 3,00,000 units.
Cost of buying retirement homes, Maintenance costs in retirement homes
- Retirement homes are usually costlier than a regular flat or house.
- The cost is typically 10-15 per cent higher than normal residential homes.
- The prices start from Rs 40 lakhs and may go up to Rs 1 crore
- These can be bought, leased or taken on a pure rental basis. Developers provide various options for purchasing a retirement home like instalments to lump sum payment .
- One needs to pay a monthly maintenance charge to the developers which could range from Rs. 15000 to Rs. 60000 per month for 2 people.
- Electricity, food, water, and certain other services are charged separately
- The cost for the amenities is included as part of the monthly maintenance charges. Amenities charges can be 40-50 per cent higher than standard residential projects and range from Rs 6 to Rs 12 per sq ft per month
- There could be some separate charges as well. For example, health care charges for Tata Housing’s project work out to about Rs 3.5 lakhs for a five-year period.
- These houses can also be given out on rent and inherited by children, too
Special Nursing Facilities and round the clock medical assistance
Retirement homes offer apartments which give special nursing and 24/7 medical assistance. Many such facilities tie up with hospitals like Apollo which operate 24×7 health care centre equipped with telemedicine facility so as to enable a resident to consult any doctor in their network across India.
The special medical facilities offered generally to the residents in this regard are:
- They provide specially trained caregivers/attendants.
- Nurses are available 24/7 too.
- Health centres are available nearby.
- A doctor is usually available during OPD hours. There are doctors available 24/7 on call.
- Emergency bell switches in the bedroom and corded switches in the bathrooms that, upon activation alert the security immediately to come to the person’s aid.
Disadvantages of Retirement homes for Senior citizens
Some of the most common problems that people encounter while opting for a retirement home.
- Paying for a retirement homes services can be difficult for many people because most insurance policies and Medicare coverage plans generally do not cover the cost of living in a retirement home.
- Many people find it difficult to afford a retirement home’s services because they generally charge high monthly fees to residents.
- If one needs skilled nursing care, living in a retirement home might be more expensive than staying in his/her own home.
- Many elderly people and their families also have problems finding retirement homes that provide top quality care because many retirement homes do not have trained/qualified staff who can work with elderly people.
- Many elderly people’s families have difficulty with staff members who are unwilling to work with clients’ families to resolve concerns.
- Retirement homes are ideal for people who love the idea of communal living and socializing regularly with other people. However many elderly who are independent minded would not like these homes where they will have outside people intruding into their freedom.
Some Retirement Homes in India
A few Retirement Home projects which are already operating are:
- Swarnalayam, located near the foothills of Siruvani of the Western Ghats, near Coimbatore
- Antara Senior Living near Dehradun
- Ashiana Housing in Delhi
- Covai’s retirement apartments in Coimbatore, Puducherry, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kanchipuram
- Mahadevi Birla Niketan at Joka, Kolkata
- The Peace, a sprawling resort-like home near Baruipur, Kolkata
Already a popular concept in the West, the trend of retirement homes is beginning to find a market in the Indian context. In fact, they are quite popular in and around cities such as Pune , Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi NCR.
It is important for an elder person or his/her children to research the care options before selecting the right option. The right choice can make a real difference in the elderly one’s overall quality of life.
Making a move in retirement is never easy, because people tend to have emotional attachments and sweet memories of the places where they have spent so many years of their lives. But whatever the decision , one must know that in retirement homes, a person has the choice of living a good life and getting the care needed when the time comes.
Debalina Roy Chowdhury