Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Retirement Home Industry Booms In India

In a country where family is society's strongest cultural anchor, the thought of the elderly living alone has long been anathema, but many old people today are embracing the notion.

Roughly a dozen development companies across India are offering sparkling retirement facilities complete with badminton courts, lap pools and game rooms to the wealthiest sliver of the country's 80 million people over 60.

Shashank Paranjape, the real-estate developer generally credited with introducing retirement homes to India, opened his first project, Athashree, in 2003 in Pune and Bangalore as a complex explicitly modeled on Western retirement homes.

With roughly 1,000 residents in four branches, Athashree is a thriving community that looks as though it were plucked straight from Florida, right down to the early-bird specials - spicy lentils and rice.

Paranjape, who plans to expand to five major Indian cities, says the retirement home concept is about providing the elderly a totally different lifestyle where everything is taken care of, including health, food, and recreation.

The selling point is getting hundreds of same age good neighbors and good friends for life. An elderly person may have a choice of a furnished single or a double room in a senior citizens home. This will cost between $7,000 to $11,500. If you want to rent it, it will set you back by $58 to $60.

In addition, a private home may charge you initial one time deposit ranging up to $11,500, which is necessarily refundable. A complete furnished apartment generally located on the outskirts of the city will set you back by $14,000 going up to $11,5000.

Experts say the new prosperity flooding into India is weakening the "joint family" system, where the next generation lived with the last, because the pace of life is speeding up and getting Westernized.

While some lament the breakdown in family as a sign of cultural decline, others - especially the well-off - are happy to devote their old age to themselves instead of their grandchildren.

By Jupiter Kalambakal


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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