Living in home versus living in a retirement home in India

TomorrowMakers ™

Living in home versus living in a retirement home in India

26 January 2018
More and more senior citizens in India are opting for assisted living in a retirement home instead of living with their kids or living alone after retirement. Here’s a close look at how this setup works.

Mr. and Mrs. Nair’s comfortable post retirement life

There are only a few days in Mrs. Nair’s life that have not seen her going for a morning walk. But until five years ago, she always had to make haste to reach back home in time to prepare breakfast. Mr. Nair, being a disciplined man always ate at 7:30 A.M on the dot.

So what changed in the last five years?

The couple, after Mr Nair’s retirement five years ago, opted for assisted living.  Now, by the time Mrs. Nair reaches home, her husband has already had his meal. For the last two years, Mr. Nair has been bound to a wheel chair, but this hasn’t stopped him from moving around the housing complex to catch up with his neighbours and friends, as the complex has been designed and constructed keeping in mind the needs of people with limited mobility.

The couple’s only son, who is settled in America, has often insisted they move abroad with him. The Nair couple however prefers the comforts of assisted living in their retirement home. To read more on how retirement changes people’s lives, click here.

Like Mr. and Mrs. Nair, the number of retirees opting for assisted living in a retirement home is increasing these days. The era of joint families is slowly ending, at least in most urban areas, with families turning to nuclear setups and young people seeking careers in bigger cities.

As a result, parents are often left to look after themselves and live on their own.

Thus, living an independent life, with some assistance, in a city of their choice, and among people of their own age group, makes for a good retirement option for the elderly these days.

So, what is Assisted Living exactly?

In an Assisted Living facility, retirees move to a housing complex or society created especially for senior citizens who are at least 55 years old. All facilities and comforts, like cooking, cleaning, or nursing help, as and when needed by the resident, is provided by the society itself. Apart from that, it provides basic medical facilities, and other related care services like physiotherapy.  It also houses entertainment facilities like a theatre, club, library etc.

Related: 5 easy steps that make retirement at 45 a possibility

Assisted living v/s living alone

Living in a retirement home has a lot of advantages over living in a home, especially because the kind of assistance you need can be totally personalised as per your requirements.

  • If you find yourself fit enough to run most of your errands on your own, you can opt for independent living in a retirement housing society.
  • If you would prefer to have someone take care of your medicines and housekeeping needs, etc. then you can opt for assisted living.
  • For people suffering from a certain illness, the society can also provide nursing care and food that is recommended according to the patient’s diet.

While you can certainly avail these facilities while living in a house in any regular society, you will have to pay for all these services separately, and the combined lump sum cost of all these facilities would be greater than that of availing them in assisted living, as with latter, everything is a part of the fee.

Safety and security

Construction and design of the complex is done keeping the physical ease of the elderly in mind, which is why the risk of environmental hazards is reduced to a minimum with sturdy buildings and robust security measures like security guards and alarm systems. Such complexes are also better equipped to deal with medical emergencies, with facilities such as ambulances and medical centres available nearby.

Related: Lifestyle creep and how it can impair your retirement

Assisted living in India- what do the stats say?

The trend started in South Indian cities first and then spiralled towards Northern states. By 2013, there were 30 assisted living projects in the country with another 30 lined up.

The senior living industry around the world is worth $25 billion (Rs. 16,410 crores), but in India it is in its nascent stages. However, as the population of  the elderly above 60 years of age is expected to grow from around 76 million today to 173 million by 2025, the industry is estimated to expand. The current demand itself is more than 3,00,000 units.

The cost of assisted living

The comfortable post retirement life with assisted living comes with its own price, and the price is a little dear, which is why its takers are usually upper middle class retirees like retired IAS officers, senior executives at international organisations, etc.  These retirement homes are usually costlier than a regular flat or house.

For e.g. in the Tata Housing Development Co. Ltd’s township in Bangalore, the usual residential houses cost Rs. 3,400 per sq. feet, while residential units for seniors cost Rs. 3,950 per sq. feet.

Apart from this, you will also have to pay an annual maintenance charge to the developers which could range between Rs. 15000 to Rs. 60000.   Due to this, you may sometimes end up paying for services that you have not availed. Electricity, food, water, and certain other services are charged separately. To know how much retirement could cost you, click here.

Buying a retirement home

Developers provide various options for purchasing a retirement home, ranging from lease to lump sum payment, allowing you to pay as per your convenience. These houses can also be given out on rent and inherited by your children. However, buying a retirement home should never be considered as an investment. It is only for comfort during your golden years.

Related: Are you ready for Retirement? [Infographic]

Conclusion

Whether you decide to spend your post retirement years in assisted living is a decision you can take as you near your retirement, depending on your circumstances at that time.

However, if the idea excites you and you would like to have it as one of your post retirement options, you must remember that to make it feasible, you need to start planning your finances right away. To get you started, here is a 7 step financial planning guide

If you have any questions about assisted living in India, comment below and we will get back to you.

 
 

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