The Concept of Retirement Home
A retirement home is a privately owned facility designed to accommodate individuals in the golden years of their lives. These housing projects are not similar to old-age homes, where many elderly people live after being abandoned by their family to live many times in deplorable conditions. On the other hand, these retirement homes are vibrant spaces that takes care of food, housekeeping, health care and security, allowing senior citizens to enjoy their old age and on their terms and conditions. For those who can afford this, it is surely a time to introspect on investing in a good retirement home post the age of 60 – 65 years – this may come in handy in the future.
Under this concept, broadly there are two categories.
- Independent Living: for active senior citizens who can take care of themselves.
- Assisted Living: In assisted living, you will get 24×7 services and this is meant for those senior citizens who are in need of help to be taken care of.
Necessity for Retirement Homes in India
According to Census-2011 data, 8.6% of population was above 60 years age.
According to the projections available in Economic Survey 2018-19 presented in Parliament on 4th July-2019, It will become 16% of the population in year 2041. It is expected to be around 24 Cr people out of 151 Cr people. This indeed a very large number.
Demographics of India
This demographic change provides an ample opportunity for this emerging concept of Retirement homes with good facilities and infrastructure to thrive and do well.
Let us discuss, why this concept is important for us, whom it will be suitable for, advantages and its limitations.
The Emergence of Retirement Homes
For senior citizens to live independently throughout their life without depending on their children to take care of them in their old age is NEW TO INDIA, primarily because of the centuries old joint family system which was prevalent in our society. However, the nuclear family system is going to be the new normal going forward. In this context, following are some of the factors behind the emergence of this concept of Retirement homes.
- Social changes with the Emergence of Nuclear family system & shrinking joint family systems
- Children looking for privacy after their marriage.
- Children have left their parents and have settled overseas.
- Urbanization – Children migrate to other parts of the country for employment and leave their parents in their home towns to take care of themselves.
- Inability to find good staff to take care of elders at homes.
- Women of the home are now working full time and don’t have time to dedicate to the care of elders.
- Innovation in Healthcare and Increasing life expectancy (Currently, the life expectancy of Male in India is 68.3 year, female – 71 years)
- Impact of Social media. It makes people more self-absorbed, changes their mindset, removing ancient social value systems of responsibilities and respecting & taking care of parents.
- Mainstream media – It promotes nuclear family system as a good way of leading a successful life through various serials, dramas, films etc (Most serials focuses on Mother-in-law & daughter-in-law misunderstanding, etc) for past 2-3 decades which causes distrust in the joint family system.
Advantages of living in Retirement Homes
Companionship: During our Retirement period, most people feels loneliness due to various reasons. Retirement home concept bridges this gap. Here, like-minded people will be together and surrounded by their own age group.
Health care: Healthcare is the most important aspect taken care off by Retirement homes, since post 60, medical issues and emergences become normal. There will be a doctor on call 24*7 to take care of medical emergencies. Despite high cost of medical assistance, if one can afford it accessibility to medical facilities will be much easier.
Food and Diet: Maintaining proper nutrition and diet is very essential for senior citizens. There are canteen facilities, with group dining as well as in-room dining facilities provided in the retirement homes where basic menus are designed based on the nutritional needs of senior citizens. Customized foods are also available for special need due to illness.
Home like ambience: One of the biggest facility provided in retirement home is emotional comfort. Because it should not look or feel like a nursing home or old age home. People should feel like they are at their own place and still have all these amenities.
Security: Security of old aged people is most important. It is wise to choose living at retirement home with 24×7 security rather than living alone at individual home since we have seen several cases of robbery, theft and even murder of senior citizens living on their own in the big cities today.
Housekeeping & Workforce management: The retirement homes also provide services like dry cleaning, washing, housekeeping etc. Individuals don’t have any worry to manage these work force or spend time on household chores. It is a needed advantage at later age. Trustworthiness of workforce is a major factor while employing them. This will be taken care by service provide and senior citizens don’t have any need to involve or worry about it.
- This concept is currently prevalent only in the main metro cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Pune etc. It is not yet available in Tier 2 or Tier 3 cities. Even in metros, it has just started few years back.
- During old age, people will usually prefer and also expect love & affection of the family rather than the amenities. This may become difficult on some occasions.
- Costs of living in retirement homes are high. How much the service provider will charge in future is always a question mark. It depends on future interest rate, inflation etc. Hence, there is no guarantee of affordability in future. And therefore this needs to be planned well.
- Since currently this concept prevails only in some metros and if anybody wants to opt for it, moving out of their home town is always a challenge at later age. People are used to their circles of neighbors and friends in their respective home town. Adaptability to a new environment at retirement age is quite tough.
- Many aspects of Retirement home are not flexible. Some amenities may not be required for the few however, they may have to pay for that by default. Some people may require additional amenities, it may not be available.
There is no double that the concept of Retirement homes will become more and more prevalent with time to come with today’s generation adopting the nuclear family social structure as their way of life. Affordability is a key issue for such homes, especially over a longer periods of time and costs may currently be a major drawback for this concept.
But for a HNI who can afford to think about this concept, who is above the age of 65 years and with children living overseas, it is indeed time to introspect and start looking at this way of life as a possible way for a more comfortable life in their golden years.