Senior living – the emerging market
The desire among today’s senior population to lead an independent and productive life has translated into an opportunity for real estate developers.
India is currently witnessing a demographic shift, owing to a steady increase in life expectancy on the back of improved healthcare access. Consider the fact that our much touted ‘demographic dividend’, urban youth population, will reach a median age of about 29 years in less than a decade (according to UN-HABITAT), making us one of the youngest nations globally. Such benefits, however, come with their own realities including an equally large ageing population in the next few decades.
In recent years, there has also been an aspirational change in the mindset of senior citizens in general. There is an increasing desire among today’s senior population to lead a secure, independent and productive life after retirement. This growing trend has translated into an opportunity for real estate developers to provide residential products customised to the specific needs of the elderly in India.
Factors to be considered:
While the southern part of the country was one of the early adopters of the concept of senior living, we are witnessing projects coming up across several parts of the country in recent times.
With affordability being a key factor for end-users, developers of such projects need to keep construction costs as low as possible;
Hence projects need to be in the peripheral areas of cities where such large tracts of land are more affordable than locations near the city centre.
To ensure that senior living projects are viable, amenities are a must in the project.
Projects need to have basic amenities including 24X7 power and water supply, 100 percent power back up, security, maintenance and housekeeping.
Other specialised offerings include, assisted care for the elderly and ailing, dedicated medical staff and tie-ups with surrounding hospitals, in-house healthcare offerings (medicine store, emergency response system, doctor on call, nurses, etc).
For connectivity and travel, transport facilities to and from surrounding social spaces (parks, malls and restaurants), recreational facilities, community rooms, concierge services for day-to-day requirements of the residents and so on.
While the finer details would vary from project to project, these are a few key amenities, which should be part of any senior living project in India.
Over the past two years, several regulatory reforms have brought about a change in the real estate sector in the India. Increasing transparency coupled with a changing consumer mindset has led to confidence returning in the market, and the emergence of alternate asset classes. Such assets are also garnering the interest of investors who can see the long-term benefits in the changed environment. While such new formats might see a comparatively slower pace of expansion vis-à-vis other formats such as Tech Parks and Logistics Parks, the growth of this sunrise segment is imminent in the longterm, given a sustained demand for the same from a large aging population in decades to come.
Anshuman Magazine, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai