The Telegraph
Monday , March 3 , 2014
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Apartments for aged in vogue


New Delhi, March 2: Retirement homes, or senior citizen living spaces, are becoming big business in the country.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle India, senior housing is a $25-billion industry worldwide. India has an estimated demand for 3 lakh such homes valued at over $1 billion.

The huge demand for senior citizen flats or townships with or without assisted living, such as medical care and housekeeping, is causing a price spiral with flats selling between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 1 crore and above.

“The concept of homes for aged has undergone a sea-change, with the name itself now being senior living or assisted living. The services offered include fulfilling the social, security, healthcare, administrative, food and other requirements, including understanding what the requirements of a 60-year-old person are against those of a 70-year-old,” said B. Sridhar, national director (social infrastructure practice), Jones Lang LaSalle India.

“In fact, the entire structure of senior living today is designed keeping in mind the requirement of seniors.”

Many real estate developers are coming up with exclusive sub-projects within major township plans to tap the growing demand for specialised housing for senior citizens.

Senior citizen housing properties are designed and maintained with a focus on special requirements of senior citizens who need care and assistance with growing age. These are provided with grab rails, anti-skid tiles, passage ways for wheelchairs and other features, which make life easier for the elderly.

“There is a huge market for specialised living in India though projects have just started coming up. Today there is a need for space that purely caters to senior citizens, which are safe, with 24-hour doctors on call and equipped to handle their needs,” said Anubhav Jain, director Silverglades, which is coming up with a premium senior living apartment complex at its residential project in the Delhi NCR region.

According to a Jones Lang LaSalle, around 30 senior living projects are in the pipeline in India. There are projects coming up in Calcutta, Kochi, Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Pune and Goa.

“Besides preparing for nursing, medical care, housekeeping assistance, we had to plan in a way that the housing complex was within a distance of a kilometer from hospitals, golf clubs, banks and the railway station, as senior citizens will wish to continue a healthy outgoing life even after moving into such complexes,” said Manish Arora, director of UCC Care, which is working on similar projects in Delhi.

“Most of the initial senior living projects were positioned at the affordable segment, bearing in mind the fact that the end consumers were senior citizens with limited resources. Now, there has been a gradual shift with the emergence of financially independent and lifestyle-oriented seniors,” said Sridhar.

Services in these apartments do not come cheap. On a per square feet basis, it can vary from Rs 3,000 to Rs 20,000 per person per month.