Senior Living VS Old Age Homes VS Retirement Homes In India

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Senior Living Homes are Not Upgraded Old-AgeHomes

In past two years during pandemic, seniors who are above 55 yearshave been facing a lot of issues such as isolation, inactivity in their dailylife, safety and security, troubles in getting the household activities doneand the fear of getting infected from coronavirus. This have pushed the demandfor looking out for a community which could help them in solving all of theirday-to-day issues. Even their children and next of kins (NOKs) who are stayingapart are concerned. They want to move into a community which could help themin

  • leading an activelifestyle within the projection
  • living a safe and securelife
  • having a similar age grouparound to socialize from a distance too
  • leading a hassle-free lifewith household chorus being taken care by maintenance staff
  • having age-friendlyamenities within the project 

Citieslike Delhi/NCR, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur, Bangalore and other metropolitan placeshave witnessed a spike in demand and interest of such communities.

Withincreasing life expectancy and better medical services, the number of seniorcitizens in India is increasing rapidly. Studies predict that people over 60 years willconstitute nearly 20% of the country’s population by 2050. The officialretirement age is 60 years but it may be increased in the future looking at thepositive trend of senior citizens being physically and mentally fit than everbefore and being indispensable assets to an organisation till much later.Senior citizens who are 55 plus are taking retirement in a positive stridewhere their body may have aged but the mind is still agile and raring to go onnew adventures and take on new challenges. With better mobility and higherquality of life, senior citizens today are looking for the right retirementhomes to spend the golden years of their life.

With therise in nuclear families, children living overseas or in distant cities, moreand more seniors in the country are choosing senior residentialhomes becausethe architecture and facilities are age friendly, provide companionship andindependence. Many financial planners recommend that to have a comfortableretirement, one should start saving 10% to 15% of their income in their 20sitself. Retirement plans are nowadays inclusive of pension, savings and futureliving situation where elders are happily choosing senior living homes wherethey can reclaim their independence and pursue passions and hobbies.

However,there’s still plenty of misconceptions and myths about senior living options inthe country.

Busting the Myth- Senior Living Homes Vs Old AgeHomes

The onlything common between the two is that elders lives in these homes. The termssenior living and old-age homes are often used interchangeably, even in themedia, and this has led to misleading information about retirement choices forseniors in India.

Some evenuse words like ‘luxury old age home’ but then what they actually mean is seniorliving facility in India.

Here, inthis article, we show you the key differences between the two and help youunderstand what to expect from each.

What are Old Age Homes?

Theconventional old-age homes (both government operated or privately owned) areoften seen as places of loneliness and gloom. Understaffed and no propertraining for staff, lack of facilities – spending one’s retirement years inthese institutions (either out of choice or by no other go) doesn’t soundappealing.

Most ofthe taboos and fears around retirement living options stem from old-age homes.Considered as places of loneliness and abandonment, old-age homes are certainlynot the best residential option for senior citizens.

However,all that is changing thanks to the arrival of senior living homes that are a unique concept, widelydifferent from the old-age homes of the last decade.

What Are Senior Living Homes?

These areresidential hubs that are fast emerging as the number one choice for seniorcitizens. Thanks to the initiatives of private builders including AshianaHousing, senior living communities with world-class amenities are now availableall across the country.

Theseretirement communities are sprawling, residential, multi-unit complexesdesigned especially for seniors. Also, known as retirement villages, thesevillages are “campus” style and have independent living units (known as seniorliving homes) as well as various other facilities and amenities like –landscaped grounds, community halls, recreational, medical facilities and more.Some senior living homes also provide assisted living options for frail seniorswho need it.

Here arethree key benefits offered by Senior Living projects.

Senior Living promotes the idea of independenceand choice. Theseare 1BHk, 2 BHK, 3 BHK homes or villas with senior-friendly design andassistive technology. Seniors make their choice with regard to their dailyroutines and lifestyle. There is no compulsive routine or restriction imposedon them as done in several old age homes.

Spaces to Hone Your skills or Learn New ones.  A platform to help seniors rediscovertheir innate talents, hobbies and passions is provided here. In some cases,seniors who always wanted to learn to dance but never did have given themselvesa fresh chance to explore dancing. Likewise, for other hobbies like singing,painting, etc.- seniors get a chance to engage in learning and improving onvarious skills.

Impact on Overall Health: With various social, mental and physicalactivities, seniors live a fulfilling and stimulating lifestyle, leading toimprovement in their health and wellness. There have been several cases ofsenior moving to senior living projects are reducing their dependencies onmedicines and supporting equipment.

What are Continuous Care Retirement community(CCRC)?

These aresenior living communities that provide extra medical care and assistance toseniors as they grow older. As you age, you may require additional in-homeservices like – physiotherapy, bathing, medicated dressing, feeding, groomingand more.

Continuous Care Retirementcommunity (CCRC)provide you with trained staff, who helps you with your personal tasks right atthe comfort of your apartment in a senior living community. You can considerthem as luxury old-age homes without the drawbacks of traditional old-agecentres.

Key Differences Between Senior Living andOld-Age Homes

1. Available Facilities

Old-Age Homes:

Old-agehomes offer the bare minimum facilities. Seniors can expect it to be like aninstitution where they can spend their sunset years, free from household choresand tasks. But, beyond that, old-age homes lack major facilities.

Keyfacilities available – rooms for sleeping (mostly dormitories or shared with acouple of other seniors), a common dining hall, a lounge to receive visitors,and common bathrooms.

Senior Living Communities:

Retirementvillages are made up of independent living units (also known as senior livinghomes). You can consider it as an apartment complex, designed for seniors. So,you can expect all the facilities that you can find in a regular residentialapartment complex, with special features to aid seniors.

Allapartments are self-contained home units with master bedrooms, guest bedrooms,bathrooms, living rooms, balcony, kitchens, and dining rooms. You are in fullcontrol of your apartment, and you have the space to live independently, whilethe opportunities to mingle and engage with other seniors living in similarresidential apartments in the community.

However,since senior living communities are designed for seniors, most apartmentscontain several accessibility features like gentle slopes (no stairs),anti-skid floors, chamfered wall edges, easy-reach light switches, nightswitches in the bedrooms, grab rails in the bathrooms, emergency responsesystem and more.

2. Infrastructure

Old-Age Homes:

Old-agehomes provide only the barebones infrastructure for seniors. Individual spaceis minimal, and most seniors are provided with a bed, a cupboard to hold theirclothing and other knick-knacks, mostly in shared dormitories. Bathrooms arealso shared.

Also,known as skilled nursing centres, old-age homes can be compared to a hostel forsenior citizens. With minimal facilities, and mostly dorms or shared rooms,senior citizens in old-age homes have to give up their independence.

Senior Living Communities:

Theseretirement homes are designed from the ground-up keeping the comfort andconvenience of seniors in mind. This reflects in the infrastructure of the ILUs(Independent Living Units) as well as common infrastructure.

Opengrounds with manicured lawns, ample recreational facilities like gyms, swimmingpools, indoor and outdoor games, common community halls, restaurant-stylecafeterias, supermarkets within the campus are some of the commoninfrastructures you can spot at paid senior citizen living homes in aretirement village.

3. Medical Care

As we age,our bodies lose the mobility and flexibility of our youth and are likely tocatch frequent infections and other illnesses. Thus, seniors require the rightmedical care available at all times.

Old-age Homes:

Someold-age homes may have trained medical staff at the premises. Most old-agehomes provide their inmates with treatments at a nearby hospital, in case ofillness or emergencies.

Senior Living Communities:

Seniorliving communities have trained medical staff who live on the campus and canprovide first-aid and immediate medical attention in case of emergencies.Furthermore, all retirement villages have tie-ups with leading hospitals, whereresidents can go in for regular medical check-ups and special treatments. In aretirement village, you are free to drive around on your own, or you canrequest the staff to provide you transport from and to the hospital for yourcheckups.

Mostsenior living apartments also provide extra medical care and assistance whenneeded. Additional in-home services like – physiotherapy, bathing, medicateddressing, feeding, grooming are provided to seniors who have restrictedmobility and require extra care. You can also request the services of paid helpand maid to clean your apartment.

Also knownas Continuous Care Retirement, you can avail the services of trained staff, whohelp you with your personal tasks right at the comfort of your apartment in thecommunity.

4. Food and Nutrition

Old-Age Homes:

In old-agehomes, food is served in a mess-style cafeteria. You can choose between veg ornon-veg food depending on your dietary preferences. However, there are nofacilities for you to cook on your own.

Senior Living Communities:

In asenior living community, you can continue cooking meals in the kitchen in yourapartment. However, if you wish to take a break from cooking your own foodevery day, you can have delicious, nutritious and balanced meals in thecommunity café halls.

You canenjoy restaurant-style meals that are fresh, delicious and tailored to yourspecial dietary requirements. With a break from cooking, you no longer have tobother with grocery shopping, meal planning and spending hours in the kitchen.

5. Hosting Family and Friends

Old-Age Homes:

Old-agehomes have fixed visiting hours. Inmates can receive their friends and familyonly during these hours. It’s not possible for your children and grandchildrento stay with you.

Senior Living Communities:

In a retirementvillage, you are the owner of your apartment, and you can continue receivingand hosting your children, grandchildren, extended family and friends as always– as you do in your regular home.

6. Recreation and Entertainment

Old-Age Homes:

Most old-agehomes don’t have much recreation and entertainment to keep inmates occupied,apart from common TV viewing halls

Senior Living Communities:

In seniorliving communities, you have a wide range of activities available on campus tohelp you make the best of your silver years.

Yoga,swimming, gyms and fitness centres, table tennis, badminton, indoor game halls,meditation and Satsang classes – senior living communities provide you with awide range of recreational activities and hobbies to spend your timeengagingly.

The bestpart – you become a part of a like-minded community of friends and neighbours,who become family. The emotional support system provided by senior communities helps youenjoy a long, healthy and happy life, even post-retirement.

7. Safety and Security

Bothold-age homes and senior living communities are safe and secure for seniors.They have security staff on campus, monitoring the premises and providingimmediate help to seniors in case of emergencies.

Seniorliving homes are monitored by trained staff, and you can find CCTV cameras atall vantage points with round the clock surveillance. Additionally, all staffare trained to provide emergency first aid.

Mostsenior living communities offer an emergency response system in each apartment.On-call doctors, ambulances on alert, and 24 x 7 emergency care, you no longerhave to worry about your safety and health care in a senior living community.

8. Lifestyle and Emotional Support System

Thebiggest problems seniors face post-retirement are dull social life with no orfew peers nearby, and loneliness, which takes a toll on their psychological andemotional well-being.

Old-age Homes:

Thoughold-age homes have several seniors living in close proximity, they feel likethey are living in a “hostel-like” institution. They don’t have the space orfacilities to engage in an active and vibrant social life.

Senior Living Communities:

In aretirement village, you have several peers in your age group living in thecomplex. And, thanks to the wide array of engaging activities and entertainmentoptions, you can build your social network and make like-minded friends.Retirement villages are more than luxury old-age homes. They are vibrantcommunities, where you get to enjoy your sunset years in the best of companyand emotional support.

Decide for Your Golden Years

Withworld-class amenities, thoughtful infrastructure, trained staff members whotake care of the nutritional and other needs of senior citizens – senior livingcommunities today in India are on par with what’s offered in the western world.More and more seniors looking to spend a quality life during their golden yearsare opting for Senior living communities.

Choosingthe place where you will spend your golden years is a huge decision. So, beforeyou pick any one choice, visit all the different options available to you,consider the pros and cons and then arrive at a decision. Some senior livingcommunities even offer you a trial living experience, where you can stay, evaluate the features andfacilities available on campus and then arrive at a decision.

Make aninformed choice and enjoy your sunset years happily, comfortably and healthily.

Category: Senior Living,

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About The Author

Ashiana, Ashiana Housing build homes. Homes surrounded by vast green spaces and fresh breeze. Homes cocooned in secured gated complexes. Homes where futures are forged and there are opportunities to grow. And Homes in environments brimming with healthy activity, trust and respect. At heart, we build communities with care.

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