March 19, 2016

World class retirement homes are here – But are they worth it ?

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Are you considering a senior citizen home for your parents ?

The life expectancy and finances of many present day senior citizens are in better shape compared with earlier generations. But the concept of a joint family system is giving way at a fast rate. As grown-up children of seniors move to another city or country for work, issues like safety, health care needs and loneliness have become the core problems for seniors in India. Senior citizen homes are promising to provide solutions for financially well off seniors. But are they worth it?

What are senior living homes

Currently, there are about 30 ‘senior living’ projects in India with a majority of them in the suburbs of Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore. The sizes of the houses in the projects vary from 500-sq-ft studio apartments to 2,500-sq-ft three-BHK flats.

These projects promise vibrant complexes that take care of food, housekeeping, health care and security, allowing senior citizens to enjoy their sunset years.

Far from the general imagination that these places are for the aged who are abandoned and are left to live on their own, they come with a promise of the following facilities for seniors.

  • Special lifts which can accommodate wheelchairs
  • Compact flats, requiring minimum maintenance
  • Spacious toilets, with grab bars
  • Anti-skid flooring
  • Emergency call switches in all homes
  • Primary health care facility on campus
  • Tie-ups with hospitals in the vicinity
  • Physiotherapy centre within the complex
  • Special canteen or mess
  • Spacious gardens
  • Auditoriums / Theaters
  • Yoga-cum-meditation & TV rooms
  • Library services

Pros and Cons of buying a senior citizen homes

Pros

  1. Safety and security                                                                                                                                                         There is a clear rise in crimes against senior citizens in cities. These facilities provide 24-hour security to residents by trained guards and CCTV’s to make sure that all is well. There is also a provision of emergency healthcare services. Emergency call switches are provided in homes to enable seniors alert for an accident or a medical emergency.                                                                                                                                                          
  2. Retirement homes is a chance to remain as independent as possible
    It enables seniors to continue to enjoy independent lifestyle that their generation is so used to.                        
  3. Retirement homes provides its residents a structured environment
    Most senior citizen homes try to provide a daily schedule that helps their residents lead a interesting life. Seniors can plan their day well with interesting morning activities, a set meal times, evening entertainment programs etc.  which would bring much needed entertainment.                                                                              
  4. Day today logistics required for an elderly loved one                                                                               Many of the seniors who find procuring groceries, home-keeping or even cooking for a meal boring and difficult will find these facilities welcoming.                                                                                                                      
  5. Wards of loneliness                                                                                                                                               Loneliness can play havoc with a person’s health and push him into depression. Living in a residential complex, where neighbors are in constant touch, can be uplifting. The residents may not exactly be family, but they provide the much-needed companionship that seniors are looking for.

Cons

  1. Isolation of seniors                                                                                                                                             Though senior citizen homes promise a like minded neighborhood, it would almost Isolate seniors from other age groups like children, teens and middle aged. This would mean conversations would largely involve around health and family issues and that could be depressing. What is the point in having a luxurious garden if there are no children playing in it ?
  2.  Finding quality services                                                                                                                                         Many retirement homes have difficulty finding and retaining qualified staff who can work with elderly people. Without qualified staff the whole purpose of living in a retirement home is defeated.                            
  3. Expensive affair                                                                                                                                                              If you are planning to buy a retirement home, you will end up spending more than what you spend on a normal house in the same locality. In some cases the cost of the senior citizen home may be as high as 40% more costly than a normal flat. The reasons cited for this are that there is a dearth of such projects.
  4. Resale is difficult                                                                                                                                                       Like any other project, the child of the resident can inherit the house, however he/she can’t live here until he/she becomes a senior citizen. That means the heir will have to either keep it shut or rent it out compulsorily to a senior citizen until a certain age. Also, if an heir wants to sell the property, the new resident should be a senior citizen. Because of these fewer options, liquidity problems are sure to rise.

Conclusion

The fact remains that 90% of seniors aged 55 and above prefer to age independently in their own homes, popularly called as ageing in place.

Although senior citizen homes promise comforts to seniors in terms of safety, health and companionship and much needed activities they come with cons like expensive, isolation of seniors from other age brackets.

We at emptynest feel that it is better option for seniors to age in place with services arranged to fix issues like:

  • Safety 
  • Health 
  • Home keeping 
  • Loneliness

Have you or your parents ever considered a retirement home ? Please let us know what made you decide for or against it.

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Krishna

Krishna is the originator and the primary contributor of this website. Engineer by profession and a avid reader. The mission of the website is to understand issues and find solutions which 60 plus parents may be facing as they enter the phase of emptynest.

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