Elderly citizens get care and company in senior living societies. (Representative photo)

Retirement societies spread in cities as elderly seek care and company

Old age can be golden years for silver citizens provided their holistic health and well-being is taken care of. With positive ageing, life could actually begin at sixty. As someone said, getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is the best ever! As India ages, the market to serve the elderly is expected to be worth almost $18 bn in five years

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

When Ramanan Rajaraman retired from a leading PSU in Delhi, he decided to move to his gated community in Bengaluru. But then he and his wife read about the senior living community within the same city and opted to stay there and put their regular apartment in Bengaluru for rent. Says Rajaraman, “In a regular gated community, one has to totally take care of the day-to-day requirements. Community activity is less and interaction with neighbours, limited. Whereas the Senior Living community is a small community where practically everyone knows each other, and this creates a pleasant atmosphere. The facility in the Senior Living Community consists of dining, housekeeping, wellness, security, club, group activity, and attendant (as per the need). Of course, one tends to see different age-related ailments and death at close quarters and accept the same as part of life.” His wife Sumitra Rajaraman adds that the senior living concept in a way “helps the society where the joint family is now vanishing, children also move out for better opportunity, but they want the parents to stay in a protected atmosphere with all facilities available. Of course, the best option is to have a Senior living Community as part of a big, gated community where you have the opportunity to live with the younger generation and enjoy their company also.”

The market size for senior living in India is estimated at $11.16 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach $17.99 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 10% from 2024 to 2029 according to data from ANAROCK Group. Key Tier 1 cities where senior living is prevalent includes Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Noida, and prominent tier 2 cities where senior living homes are present include Coimbatore, Puducherry, Kodaikanal, Vadodara, Bhopal, Mysuru, Dehradun, Kasauli and Kanchipuram, among others. Says Santhosh Kumar, vice chairman of ANAROCK Group, “Region-wise, the southern cities have a nearly 70% share of these projects, coinciding with the demographic assumption that elderly population growth in the Southern states will grow at a faster pace than the rest of India.” He advises choosing a senior living community carefully – “As per your needs and budget. A buyer must thus be very careful and do his due diligence and check for the type of facilities on offer. The buyer must also check for any hidden costs with regards to medical or any other facilities if any because nothing comes free of cost and while initially it may seem free but later that can be an added burden. Like any other regular projects, leasing is also possible in many of the projects.”

How to find the right senior living community? First and foremost, determine the needed care level. Decide on a price point and your budget. Create a list of potential matches in the target areas. Tour your top choices.

Senior Care: Opt for the Right Choice

The senior care industry in India can be categorized into three major heads – Senior Living, Care Homes, Care at Homes. According to Tara Singh Vachani, executive chairperson at Antara Senior Care and vice chairperson at Max India, who is building the largest integrated “senior care ecosystem” in India with products covering everything from Senior Living Residences to Assisted Living or Care Homes, Care at home and AGEasy verticals- “Today we are the most organised player in India and have managed to at least change the nomenclature and language from senior living to senior care industry. Worldwide this industry actually is called senior care, and it encompasses various products and services. We, at Antara, have always wanted to be an integrated platform, with multiple products and services at different locations, avatars and offerings.”

Take the first and oldest category of senior care which is Senior living. These are residential communities which are designed better, from an architecture standpoint with various design interventions needed to take care of seniors, ranging from better lighting to mobility facilitation and most importantly provide services that facilitate senior living. Projects include Arumbakkam, Perungudi Projects in Chennai by Athulya Assisted Living, Ashiana Nirmay in Bhiwadi, Delhi/NCR, by Ashiana Housing, Serene Shenbagam in Coimbatore by Columbia Pacific Communities, Athashri Developed in Pune by Paranjape Schemes, Madhuban in Coimbatore by Covai Property Center Pvt Ltd., Parkside Homes in Devanahalli Bangalore by Brigade Orchards, Riva Residence in Bangalore by Tata Housing, Antara Senior Living in Dehradun, part of The Max Group.

“As Indians live longer and healthier, there is a huge demand coming for lifestyle, travel, health, medical, and senior living. Recognizing the shifting societal norms, the acceptance of senior living is gaining traction, resulting in steady growth within the sector,” says Ankur Gupta, joint managing director at Ashiana Housing, a real estate company. The senior living societies by Ashiana — Nirmay, Shubham, Advik, Utsav, Amodh in Bhiwadi, Pune, Chennai, and Jaipur — cater to adults aged 55 and above through exclusively designed set-up and devoted staff. Ashiana Senior Living provides emergency treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as an in-house ambulance and doctors on call. For any type of sudden medical emergency or disaster, they have nurses and medical care help in the project. Aside from medical assistance, they have Emergency Response Systems (ERS) installed in each unit on an individual basis. The group has just launched Ashiana Vatsalya, spread over 17.9 acres in Chennai, located inside Mahindra World City featuring 6.3 acres of landscape area along with 41,900 sq ft of clubhouse with dining, gym, swimming pool facilities.

The second category of senior care is Assisted Living where the residents require significant care and nursing assistance, owing to severe physical or mental disabilities. The care workers do constant monitoring, and assist the residents on a daily basis with medical services, often having occupational and rehabilitation therapists. According to Dr Vandana Bhasin- head for quality at Kites Senior Care, an assisted care community in Bengaluru, “Dementia care is the most critical aspect of assisted living senior care which requires institutionalized care and at our center, the entire day is structured in a scientific manner. In the morning, residents are taken for sunbathing and made to do yoga exercises followed by breakfast. Then, a psychologist comes and conducts a lot of cognitive exercises, puzzles, games etc to help improve the condition of the patient’s brain and behaviour. After that, they are served food. All these activities done collectively greatly help from a companionship point of view. Lot of patients have shown great improvement, and everything is based on scientific research and evidence. Often these dementia patients are above 70 and remarkable improvement is difficult to achieve but the goal is to help improve quality of their life, nonetheless.” Dr. Bhasin shares that a big part of the whole process is counselling of the children of these patients who feel “nearly guilty” to leave their parents at assisted care community centers. “It’s difficult to be taken care of at home because they need 24 by 7 care. Moreover, by the time patients are in the stage of dementia, their children are also not really young and healthy to be able to handle them. These patients can get aggressive and violent, a lot of times they remove their clothes and go out of the house and have no clue what they are doing,” she adds.

Some of the leading assisted care projects pan India include The Golden Estate at Faridabad, Vedaanta Senior Living at Coimbatore, Anandam Retirement Community at Bengaluru, Athulya Assisted Living at Chennai, Epoch Elder Care and Antara Care Homes at Gurugram, Haryana.

What is the cost of Care Homes and Care-at-home service? According to a spokesperson from TechSci Research, a market research and consulting service company – “The cost of care home and care-at-home services can vary significantly based on various factors such as location, level of care needed, type of facility, size and quality of accommodation, amenities and services, staffing levels and quality, additional fees and expenses etc. On an average, the cost of a care home in India can range between Rs 45,000 and Rs 80,000 per month. On an average, the cost of 24-hour nursing care at home can range between Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 per month.”

The third category of Senior Care is the Care-at-home model. For those who do not wish to move to a retirement community, there are companies like Emoha or Nightingales etc who cater to healthcare and miscellaneous needs of seniors living in their homes with trained attendants for activities like bathing, dressing, eating, specialized physiotherapy and ICU home support as well as errand management with care buddies taking care of routine jobs etc. They are also trained to assist with mobility, check vital signs, prevent bedsores, avoid falls and injuries and provide foot and nail care, especially for diabetic patients and provide emergency services.

There was a time when only parents of NRIs looked at premium senior housing options. Today it is a choice rather than compulsion for many Indians, staying within and outside India. “More than 50% of our customers have children living in India and around 10% to 25% of customers who have children living in the same city. The numbers vary from region to region within the country,” says Sivakumar V, director at Columbia Pacific Communities, with ten operational senior living communities in Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Chennai, Kanchipuram and Puducherry and upcoming ones in Pune, Chennai and Kerala. A one bedroom, hall and kitchen (BHK) unit in a Columbia Pacific society sells for an average price of Rs 64 lakh. The average monthly maintenance starts at Rs 30,000 for a person staying in a 1BHK apartment. The company has two and three BHK units as well.

Some senior living communities provide rented homes. “We have around 20 per cent of customers who are tenants and 80 per cent who have moved-in as owners,” says Sivakumar. “Customers can either purchase or rent an apartment in our communities. We offer rental and resale services to our owner-customers.”

In retirement, the elderly need friends and company. Dr Sumithra Gajapathy, 89, made new friends when she moved to Manasum Senior Living society in North Bengaluru after working as a physician for 60 years. “Until the pandemic I was working, quite a busy life I had. After the pandemic started, I became very lonely. Manasum was introduced to me by my nephew,” she says. “I am very happy staying here because people around me are very, very friendly.”

Finally, as American businessman Samuel Ullman said “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” Today’s Senagers, or the 60-plus seniors, are in many ways like teenagers open to new avenues of lifestyle and consumption. They travel, and know how to put the spotlight on themselves, as they secure their second innings with senior care.

Price Chart

Which are the key projects in senior housing pan India? The price chart below by TechSci Research outlines some of the key projects in senior living in India

Chennai Arumbakkam, Perungudi by Athulya Assisted Living 55 lakh – 90 lakh
Bhiwadi, Delhi/NCR Ashiana Nirmay by Ashiana Housing 33 lakh – 37 lakh
Dehradun Antara Dehradun, part of The Max Group 2 cr – 8 cr
Noida Antara Noida Sector 150, part of The Max Group 1.08 cr – 2.21 cr
Pune Athashri by Paranjape Schemes 43 lakh – 74 lakh
Coimbatore Serene Shenbagam by Columbia Pacific Communities 65 lakh – 1.10 cr
Coimbatore Madhuban by Covai Property Center Pvt Ltd. 56 lakh – 1.3 cr
Bangalore Parkside Homes in Devanahalli by Brigade Orchards 47 lakh and above
Bangalore Riva Residence by Tata Housing 45 lakh – 70 lakh

Credits: TechSci Research

Source: Business Standard https://mybs.in/2dTe5eo

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