Th­ese homes are com­ing of age

The In­dian real es­tate mar­ket is just be­gin­ning to ad­dress the need for qual­ity re­tire­ment home projects

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - HT Es­tates Cor­re­spon­dent

Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, re­tire­ment home projects are de­vel­oped keep­ing in mind cer­tain age groups, and should ide­ally be de­signed with spe­cial fa­cil­i­ties to make life more com­fort­able for se­nior cit­i­zens. How­ever, the on-ground in­ter­pre­ta­tion in In­dia has for the long­est time been that any pro­ject and lo­ca­tion that fits a cer­tain bud­get and re­quire­ment is po­ten­tially a suit­able ‘re­tire­ment home’.

In fact, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of sec­ond homes pur­chased by In­di­ans each year are bought to serve as po­ten­tial re­tire­ment homes. The lo­ca­tion of sec­ond homes is de­ter­mined largely by how ac­ces­si­ble th­ese are from the buyer’s pri­mary home, and the am­bi­ence, comfort and in­fra­struc­ture they of­fer.

How­ever, such projects are a res­i­den­tial prop­erty seg­ment that must be con­ceived and de­vel­oped specif­i­cally for the aged. It is ac­tu­ally just be­gin­ning to gain trac­tion on the In­dian real es­tate mar­ket and we are now see­ing such projects com­ing up in and around cities like Delhi NCR, Pune, Ker­ala, Ban­ga­lore, Chen­nai, Mum­bai.

I nter­est­ingly, t he Delhi De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (DDA) is plan­ning to set up an oldage hous­ing so­ci­ety in west Delhi. The DDA plot had been ear­marked for the pur­pose in Master Plan 2021.

Buy­ers of re­tire­ment homes in In­dia to­day de­mand as­sur­ance of se­cu­rity, good ac­ces­si­bil­ity, ap­peal quo­tient in terms of nat­u­ral sur­round­ings, as well as en suite fa­cil­i­ties that ac­tu­ally speak to the needs of el­derly res­i­dents. They need to be of true value to both to the aged res­i­dents as well as their fam­i­lies.

The re­tire­ment com­mu­ni­ties that are crop­ping up in more and more cities are fol­low­ing the West­ern blue­print, and are def­i­nitely more spe­cialised and thought­fully-planned un­der­tak­ings.

Ob­vi­ously, a res­i­den­tial com­plex that caters to the needs of the el­derly must rise above com­monly avail­able fa­cil­i­ties and ameni­ties. It must have at­tended lifts and es­ca­la­tors, wheel­chair ramps and hand rail­ings, bath­rooms equipped with spe­cial­ly­de­signed fit­tings that pro­vide safety and ease of op­er­a­tion, and club­houses with en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties that keep the phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tion of the el­derly in mind (such as more in­door games and sit-back en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems).

Other recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties of such projects in­clude lowdepth swim­ming pools with vig­i­lant life­guards, med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties such as fully-staffed emer­gency rooms, and am­bu­lances and paramed­i­cal staff on call to fa­cil­i­tate speedy med­i­cal care at a larger hos­pi­tal.

Im­por­tantly, re­tire­ment home projects need to be de­vel­oped on the ‘ev­ery­thing within walk­ing dis­tance’ for­mat. Trans­port must be avail­able round- the­clock and the pro­ject ad­min­is­tra­tion must also take the ini­tia­tive of ar­rang­ing reg­u­lar com­mu­nity out­ings, pic­nics, sight­see­ing tours, etc.

In­di­vid­ual dwelling units in projects aimed squarely at se­nior cit­i­zens need to be equipped with elec­tronic alarm sys­tems that can be used in­stantly to call for help in case of sud­den dis­tress, says a se­nior homes spe­cial­ist.

This is ob­vi­ously a rather big list of re­quire­ments, and not all of the re­tire­ment home projects that are now seen dot­ting the In­dian real es­tate land­scape are fully de­liv­er­ing on th­ese. As de­vel­op­ers ac­quire bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the needs of re­tire­ment homes as a spe­cific seg­ment with its very spe­cific re­quire­ments, the prod­ucts they come up with will doubtlessly get more so­phis­ti­cated.


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