Cities preferred by retired senior citizens to settle down

From ET Realty

CHENNAI: Coimbatore and Chennai are among a handful of retirement home destinations in the country where the elderly prefer to settle down, thanks to the social infrastructure they offer.

Bengaluru, Pune, Goa and Dehradun are the other hotspots where dedicated projects are being promoted exclusively for the elderly, says a study by international realty consultant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). These cities offer facilities like independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and optionally even Alzheimer’s care. Over the next five years, more developers and cities are likely to join the list, the report says.

Developers are evolving as realisation dawns that they are not constructing merely old-age homes, but creating a new lifestyle with the care they need. Social infrastructure on the project premises was key to their success, said JLL director (strategic consulting) Manish Kumar. Senior living homes are concentrated in the budget and medium price segments in the `25-50 lakh bracket. Smaller ticket sizes with apartment villa area ranging from 500 sq ft to 1,400 sq ft, make these dwelling units affordable to the users and ensure quick movement of inventory for developers.The elderly prefer smaller units as they are easy to maintain. The units are designed to ensure mobility and assistance in the day-to-day activities. Apart from the range of services and amenities the projects offer, the passion with which such centres are managed and the compassion with which the inmates are treated play a significant role, said Col. A Sridharan, MD of Covai Property Centre, a pioneer in the sector.

People who moved out of the country in their youth are coming back after retirement in large numbers. “In some cases, children working elsewhere want their parents to join them. But parents want a familiar location and prefer moving into well-run senior living homes,” said Ashiana MD Vishal Gupta . Social acceptance of retirement homes had gone up in recent years and they were no longer seen as places for dumping the eldery, Gupta said.

The most important service facility sought in a senior living project is healthcare. Most retirement homes have clinics to treat minor ailments and tie up with nearby hospitals to treat residents in an emergency .

Coimbatore is perhaps the country’s retirement home capital. In the last decade, more than 20 retirement homes had come up in Coimbatore with each home offering 50-220 units, said Sridharan.One should add cities in Gujarat also to the list of hot future destinations as elderly Gujaratis abroad were returning home, he said.

Sridharan has a word of caution to developers trying to promote such projects as an asset class for real estate appreciation. “Elderly people are not bothered about the capital appreciation of the houses as they are not worried about what happens to the asset after their death.What they need is quality and happy living . I do not consider myself a 67-year-old man, but a 67-year-young man,” Sridharan said.

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