The life expectancy and finances of most of the present Urban Seniors are in better shape compared to their 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 seniors 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 in a pitiable state, 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
- Tie-ups with hospitals in the vicinity
- Special canteen or mess
- Physiotherapy centre within the complex
- Spacious gardens
- Auditoriums / Theatres
- Yoga-cum-meditation & TV rooms
- Library services
- Anti-skid flooring
- Primary health care facility on campus
Pros and Cons of senior citizen homes
Let us look at the pros and cons of Retirement homes.
Safety and security
There is a clear rise in crimes against senior citizens in 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.
It enables seniors to continue to enjoy independent lifestyle that their generation is so used to.
Most Retirement 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.
Day today logistics
Many of the seniors who find procuring groceries, home-keeping or even cooking for a meal boring and difficult will find these facilities welcoming.
Wards of loneliness
Loneliness can play havoc with a person's health and push him into depression. Living in a residential complex, where neighbours 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.
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 ?
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.
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 Retirement 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.
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.
No guarantee of hospital services:
Senior citizen homes promise comfortable lifestyle, they do not take responsibility of hospital services. What they do have is a tie up with hospitals for cashless admission and ambulance services.
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 Retirement 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 and difficulty in finding quality services in retirement homes.
We at Joyfulageing feel that it is better option for seniors to age in place with services arranged to fix issues like:
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