Senior Living societies are gaining momentum within Indian real estate market. They target the middle and high income group of senior citizens who are financially stable. I recently visited Bhiwadi, an upcoming satellite town of NCR and checked out a senior living facility by Ashiana Housing Limited. Here are the findings:
It is not an old age home
When you buy a Senior Living property, you own it completely and legally. You can pass it on to your heirs. Flats can also be made available on rent if the property owner decides so. These homes are offered on both freehold and lease basis.
The society is equipped with many medical facilities like 24×7 ambulance service, physiotherapy, a round-the-clock nurse and OPD (out-patient department) service, among others. Yet it does not have the feel of a nursing home – something that distinctly separates it from an old age home.
Senior Living Societies also have a multi layered security system in place. Vendors and domestic helps need identification proof and badges to enter. Security staff also regularly checks up on each resident once or twice a day in their flats.
A home designed especially for seniors
The whole concept of a senior living society is built around age-friendly construction techniques. Use of international technology in construction, specially designed fittings and fixtures, and emergency response system installed in every flat reduce the risk of falling and becoming trapped for hours or even days, a scenario quite common for senior’s living alone. Some of its features are:
- Fully automatic lifts which can accommodate wheelchairs and stretchers
- Compact flats, requiring minimum maintenance
- Broad doorways and galleries with rounded corners
- Night lights below bed level that does not obstruct sleep
- Anti-skid flooring in washrooms and kitchen
- Light switches at low level with light indicators that are visible at night
- Spacious toilets, with grab bars and emergence response button
- Special canteen or mess with a common dining area
- Emergency care service, OPD facility, doctor-on-call, nurse and ambulance 24X7 inside the campus
- Physiotherapy centre within the complex
- Yoga-cum-meditation & TV rooms
- Activity center with hobby rooms
- Primary healthcare facility on campus
No home maintenance stress
It takes some effort for seniors to regularly maintain their garden, or change light bulbs or look after the day to day maintenance of their house. Maintenance Services at Senior Living societies take the pressure off by neatly maintaining common areas like gardens, parks, swimming pool, streets, pathways, drains, concierge, lifts, etc. They take care of household refuse disposal; change damaged fixtures and fittings, water and electricity distributions and the general upkeep of the place. Domestic helps are arranged for by the maintenance service. Most facilities have an in-house common dining hall with availability of nutritious meals suitable for elders. There is an option of food delivery within the complex. Other services include bill payment, move-in, resale and rental facilities.
Life begins after 55
The most heartening thing about this senior living society is the deep camaraderie between all its residents. Some of the seniors I met informed me that they look forward to meeting each other and doing activities together. They have learnt to let go of all inhibitions to find enjoyment in carefree singing, dancing, or taking up their favorite sport again. Senior living communities strive to keep elders engaged in games, discussions and celebrations.
In India it is assumed that elders are always happy to babysit their grandchildren. Elders need their space and independence too. They feel lonely and neglected. Also, seniors who have lost their spouses often become isolated; which is unhealthy. At the senior living facility I visited, I met two such couples who had found partners here and married once again proving that you do not have to stop living just because you are retired.
Improved family relationship
Older people in India frequently become dependent on their grown up children after retirement and have to make many lifestyle adjustments. Their sons and daughters also have to make compromises on their lifestyle to take care of their parents. Inevitably, this leads to friction and can strain relationships.
With elders living independently at Senior Living facility, their children are relieved from the job of “Parenting the Parent”. Older people can live a life of dignity, where they are their own bosses but are at the same time well taken care of by professional staff. This leads to a more meaningful and high-quality relationship between elders and their grown up children.
- You have to be 55 years of age to live here. However, you can buy it before that and rent it out to other seniors who may not be able to purchase the property.
- Relatives, children and grandchildren may visit you but are not allowed to stay for more than 60 days in a year. This is done to maintain the sanctity of a senior living home.
- Unmarried or widowed daughters who are dependent on their old parents can live with them.
- Your children can inherit the house after you but they cannot live in it until they are 55 themselves. They can resell it or rent it to another senior only.
Under the senior living concept, there are two categories—independent living and assisted living. In assisted living or Care Homes one can get 24×7 services. This is meant for those senior citizens who need help in doing day-to-day things. Independent living is for active senior citizens.
Ashiana Senior Living
Ashiana Housing is one of the forerunners in tapping the senior living market with three projects delivered and two more in the process. While the concept is still in its infancy In India, Ashiana has gone full throttle ahead in creating an ideal living space for the elderly. Ashiana has India’s largest chain of senior living projects in India with over 14500 seniors already enjoying their life.
Ashiana’s senior living facilities is a place that keeps seniors active, busy, healthy and safe; all at the same time. Here day to day activities are planned for all seniors. All kinds of entertainment are offered ranging from celebrating every small and big festival enthusiastically, playing games and sports, spiritual gatherings, birthday parties and much more. Apart from this, the club house is always open for residents to walk in and enjoy a game of chess or snooker. There is free wi-fi among innumerable other facilities at the club house. Ashiana Senior Living operates at a no-profit no loss model. The maintenance fees collected from residents is minimal. The focus is solely on creating a comfortable and loving environment for the elderly.