Why is se­nior liv­ing still com­ing of age in In­dia?

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Anuj Puri let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com The au­thor is Chair­man – ANAROCK Prop­erty Con­sul­tants

Se­nior liv­ing es­sen­tially refers to homes that cater to adults aged 55+ who are look­ing to live in­de­pen­dently in a peer en­vi­ron­ment. Se­niors who grav­i­tate to­wards such hous­ing op­tions tend to have no ma­jor health is­sues and are ac­tive enough to more or less take care of them­selves. Such projects usu­ally pro­vide a va­ri­ety of fa­cil­i­ties for re­cre­ation and so­cial­iz­ing, in­clud­ing a club­house, health club or gym, fa­cil­ity man­age­ment ser­vices, squarely fo­cused on the needs of the el­derly.

As­sisted liv­ing, on the other hand, per­tains to homes for adults who need con­sid­er­able as­sis­tance to live their daily lives. These se­niors are not en­tirely bed-rid­den yet need as­sis­tance such as full-time nurs­ing care.

The more tra­di­tional old-age homes are es­tab­lish­ments usu­ally run by NGOs or gov­ern­ment agen­cies and are pop­u­lated by se­nior cit­i­zens who can, for any num­ber of rea­sons, no longer co­habit with their fam­i­lies or are en­tirely home­less. There are more than a thou­sand old-age homes in In­dia with most of them of­fer­ing free ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Old-age homes, in most cases de­servedly, tend to have a poor rep­u­ta­tion. How­ever, it is un­fair to tar all old-age homes in In­dia with the same brush.

Many such es­tab­lish­ments in Delhi, Ker­ala, Ma­ha­rash­tra and West Ben­gal do have fairly good fa­cil­i­ties for the aged and pro­vide ad­e­quate se­nior-fo­cused ser­vices and ameni­ties in terms of med­i­cal care, am­bu­lances, nurs­ing and age-ap­pro­pri­ate meals.


The se­nior liv­ing sec­tor in In­dia is still at a very nascent stage and not many de­vel­op­ers have tried to ex­plore this op­por­tu­nity to its full po­ten­tial. If we go by the In­dian Cen­sus pro­jec­tions, the share of el­ders as a per­cent­age of to­tal pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try will have in­creased from around 7.5% in 2001 to al­most 12.5% by 2026 and sur­pass 19.5% by 2050.

The fact that In­dia’s el­derly pop­u­la­tion can grow to 173 mil­lion by 2026 sug­gests that there lies huge un­tapped po­ten­tial, with very min­i­mal cur­rent sup­ply in the se­nior liv­ing seg­ment. As per ANAROCK data, there are cur­rently around 4,500 se­nior liv­ing units avail­able in the mar­ket, and more than 2,000 units are in dif­fer­ent stages of con­struc­tion. Ap­prox­i­mately 10 new projects are slated to come up over the next few years.

Ge­o­graph­i­cally, se­nior liv­ing projects were ear­lier largely con­cen­trated in the south­ern states of In­dia in­clud­ing Ker­ala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. This geo­graphic distri­bu­tion was, para­dox­i­cally, largely be­cause of out­ward mi­gra­tion.

Count­less ed­u­cated pro­fes­sion­als from these states grav­i­tated to the West for bet­ter job op­por­tu­ni­ties and pre­ferred to set­tle there if pos­si­ble. Their par­ents were left be­hind, which gave rise to the con­cept of re­tire­ment homes in these states. The con­cept there­after spread to other states and ci­ties as well, with both few big and small builders en­ter­ing this seg­ment.

Ker­ala has a par­tic­u­larly high num­ber of age­ing cit­i­zens who will live a lot longer, thanks largely to the ex­cel­lent health­care fa­cil­i­ties and NRI-orig­i­nat­ing wealth to pay for it. As per the Min­istry of Statis­tics, the per­cent­age of el­derly pop­u­la­tion in Ker­ala is nearly 12.6% of the state’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion, the high­est in the coun­try. This caused Ker­ala to be­come home to a high den­sity of se­nior liv­ing projects.

Se­nior liv­ing is also seen as a grow­ing trend in ci­ties such as Coim­bat­ore, Puducherry, Goa and Dehradun, which have tra­di­tion­ally been re­tire­ment ci­ties. More­over, since most ci­ties are sat­u­rated, the pe­riph­eries of most large ci­ties are also at­tract­ing such projects be­cause of the less clut­tered and more salu­bri­ous sur­round­ings suitable for a re­tired life­style, as well as the avail­abil­ity of large tracts of land which can ac­com­mo­date full­stack se­nior liv­ing projects with all the bells and whis­tles.

Most of the ex­ist­ing and planned se­nior liv­ing projects are es­sen­tially lo­cated in the satel­lite towns of ma­jor met­ros like Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Delhi, and non-met­ros in­clud­ing Kochi, Jaipur, Bhopal, Coim­bat­ore, Rishikesh and Goa.

In terms of costs, there is slight vari­a­tion in the over­all cost struc­ture, size ranges and other add-on costs from city to city. Prices largely de­pend on sev­eral pa­ram­e­ters in­clud­ing the lo­ca­tion of the project and builder type.


The se­nior liv­ing sec­tor in In­dia is still at a nascent stage

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