According to the 2011 Census, 8.3 per cent of India’s population was above 60, up from 7.44 per cent in 2001. It is expected to rise to 12.4 per cent by 2016. The Union Health Ministry estimates that India’s elderly population ( 60 years and above) will rise from 100 million in 2013 to 198 million in 2030.
More builders are now developing communities that are friendly to the elderly. A doctor is available 24 hours on the premises. Facilities such as housekeeping, laundry and dining— much like a hotel. Only, the occupants are permanent residents aged 55 years and above. At Coimbatore’s Serene, residents are encouraged to sign up for yoga and are entertained with Carnatic music concerts. India is trying to follow the Western model that divides elderly care into four stages— independent living, assisted living, speciality care and nursing care. The challenge, says Mansoor Dalal of Golden Nest commune in Pune, is to develop housing for the two latter stages. “It’s not building houses for senior citizens but running them that needs commitment,” he adds.