landing img
Spend

The Rise of Senior Living Facilities Adding A New Dimension To Elderly Care In India

With rapid urbanisation, global job opportunities and the shift towards nuclear families, older people’s housing and care have been evolving in India, and senior living facilities add a new dimension to their lives.

May 17, 2024
May 17, 2024
Senior Living Facility

Senior Living Facility

In the bustling city of Pune, India, 78-year-old Lalita Deshpande finds herself at a crossroads. A widow for five years, she has been living alone since her son moved to the United States for his IT job. The solitude of her large family home, once filled with laughter and conversation, now echoes with the silence of her isolation. This story is not unique in today’s India, where rapid urbanisation and global job opportunities have led many younger individuals to move away from their hometowns, leaving their elderly parents to ponder their living arrangements as they age.

Also Read: NPS Equity Assets Delivered Up To 38% Returns In A Year: Know How Other Asset Classes Performed

Advertisement

Understanding The Shift

India, with its rich tapestry of family-centric traditions, is experiencing a significant shift. The joint family system, providing a built-in support structure for the elderly, is slowly giving way to nuclear family setups.

According to a 2020 report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Demographic Trends:

Advertisement

  • India is experiencing a significant increase in its elderly population (aged 60 and above), reflecting global trends towards aging populations. This shift is attributed to longer life expectancies and declining fertility rates.
  • The report anticipates that by 2030, older persons will outnumber children under age 10, with the majority living in developing regions like India.

This demographic shift is accompanied by an increasing need for alternative living arrangements for the elderly, as the traditional family support system crumbles under modern pressures.

The Rise Of Senior Living Facilities In India

Senior living facilities, once a rare concept in India, are now emerging as a popular solution. These facilities cater to the needs of seniors who, like Deshpande, find themselves alone in their later years. They promise not only a community of like-minded individuals but also the safety, healthcare, and daily convenience that might no longer be as accessible at home.

Benefits Of Senior Living Communities

Community and Companionship: In senior living facilities, residents find themselves in a community of peers, which can significantly decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. These facilities often organise social gatherings, cultural events, and group activities that foster strong bonds among residents.

Healthcare and Safety: With age come increased health concerns, and senior living facilities are equipped to handle these with staff trained in geriatric care, emergency response systems, and on-site medical facilities. This setup provides peace of mind not only to the residents but also to their distant family members.

Maintenance-Free Living: One of the most appealing aspects of these facilities is the freedom from daily chores and home maintenance. Seniors can enjoy their retirement without the burden of household upkeep, which can become both physically challenging and financially burdensome as one ages.

Also Read: What Type Of Mutual Fund Should You Pick To Build A Robust Retirement Corpus? Here’s What Expert Says

Challenges and Shortcomings

Despite their advantages, senior living facilities are not without their shortcomings.

Homogeneity of the neighbourhood: The homogeneity of the resident population can lead to a lack of diversity in thought and experience, potentially stifling personal growth and leading to boredom. The same like-minded environment that makes social integration easier for some can make it challenging for others who crave diversity and intellectual stimulation.

Need for Familiarity and Continuity in Later life: As people age, the desire for familiarity and continuity becomes stronger. Some seniors might prefer to return to their childhood communities where they can reconnect with long-time friends and relive their younger years. Such emotional needs are not always met in a new and organised setting of a senior living facility.

Loss of Autonomy: Another significant concern is the trade-off between safety and autonomy. While these facilities provide a secure environment, they often come with restrictions that can impact personal freedom. A client was mentioning how visiting his parents along with his children is like walking on needles. There are restrictions on running around in the corridors, making noise in the gardens and in some places even pet ownership. This can make residents feel confined.

Additionally, the structured nature of activities can sometimes feel imposing, leaving little room for personal choice or spontaneity.

Cultural Fit: In a country as diverse as India, finding a facility that matches one’s cultural and linguistic preferences can also be a hurdle, which might deter some from making the move.

According to a recent survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the demand for senior living facilities has increased by 40 per cent in the last five years. However, whether it is the most optimal solution for someone looking to age successfully and live a healthy purposeful life is yet to be determined.

Also Read: Power Of Compounding Can Work Magic When You Start Investing Early: Here’s How

The Need of the Hour: Balancing Safety with Engagement

As we look towards creating optimal living conditions for the elderly, it is clear that while senior living facilities offer a viable alternative to living alone or with overburdened family members, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

The ideal environment for aging should balance safety and comfort with opportunities for mental stimulation, creative expression, and social interaction.

It should also provide challenges that keep the mind and body active, along with the freedom to pursue individual interests. Opportunities to engage in charitable or community-driven activities can further enhance a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

In conclusion, while senior living communities currently serve as a reasonable substitute for many like Deshpande, the quest to craft the ideal setup for a fulfilling, healthy, and purposeful later life continues. As society evolves, so too should our approaches to supporting our aging population, ensuring that their golden years are not just safe and comfortable but also enriching and empowering.

The author is a certified financial planner (CFP CM), a Sebi-registered investment adviser and co-founder and head of financial planning at House of Alpha Investment Advisers Pvt. Ltd.

Related Articles

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous Retirement Issues

  • magzine
  • magzine
  • magzine
  • magzine

Group Publications

  • magzine
  • magzine
  • magzine
  • magzine