Living Next Door To Granny

By shaye • June 18th, 2010


As opposed to a pure senior living model, developers today are getting ready to launch inter-generational townships

Manohar Singh, a marketing professional who travels extensively, constantly worries about his father’s security and medical needs. The duo share a strong bond and yet cherish their independence. They’re looking for a modern housing option where they need not live under the same roof but at the same time stay close to each other. Well, the Singhs can count themselves lucky as some developers are planning to introduce inter-generational (IG) townships in the market soon. These would be integrated townships that include an enclave or a special cluster for seniors with special facilities such as nursing care and a wellness centre.

What is IG housing?

Studies have indicated that seniors, especially the post independence generation, do not wish to be isolated in remote retirement villages but prefer to be actively involved in the changing urban cityscape. A popular concept in the US, these inter-generational communities can become relevant from an Indian standpoint too. Developers can carve out well-planned enclaves aimed at seniors within their integrated townships and carefully integrate the same in the overall plan.

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“These dwellings enable elders to look at retirement from a fresh perspective -the beginning of an active new lifestyle where they are not only well taken care of but even get to deploy their skills to serve society or pick up a new hobby,” says Saumyajit Roy, assistant vice president, strategic business unit, education, healthcare and senior living at Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj.

Varied products The Indian housing market has been experimenting with models for senior living. From old age homes built on a single plot to senior living resorts located away from the city, spread across three to five acres, the sector will now see the advent of IG communities located on land parcels that are as big as 50 acres to 1000 acres.

Rakindo Developers Private Ltd will launch one such project, Kovai Hills, in June this year. Located on the fast developing Coimbatore Pallakad corridor, the project is to be developed over 1,000 acres and will have a 100bedded hospital, a wellness spa, schools, colleges and even a 18-hole golf course thrown in. Says Dr Prashant Koneru, the company’s director-development, “It’s wrongly assumed that seniors want to live a secluded life. They would much rather interact with and play an important role in giving back something to society. That’s why we decided to introduce this concept in our integrated township. We also plan to replicate the model in our future townships in Kumarakom and Chennai.” Impact Senior Living Estates Private Ltd, too, is coming up ILLUSTRATION: ABHIMANYU SINHA with a similar facility in Amritsar. This will be part of a larger township spread over 50 acres with three to four acres reserved for senior residents.

“It will be a gated colony within a colony. The focus is on service and medical care.

There will be nursing care and healthcare provided by Fortis. The seniors’ facility will be located at the far end of the colony for their security and to enable them to enjoy a great view,” points out Jaivir Singh of the group.

Different formats there are two ways in which IG communities can be created. The first way, according to Roy, is to develop an age-targeted enclave or a cluster within a master planned community, something that the developers targeting senior accommodation in India are focusing on. The second involves a pre-planned infill pattern wherein senior housing is sprinkled over a larger neighbourhood involving multiple generations in agetargeted homes. A massive experiment of this nature was undertaken in Denver, US, over a 4,700 acre redevelopment exercise. The layout pattern had both small and large lot sizes. This promoted natural selection wherein a community was created with different age groups living together in spaces specifically designed for them.

In both cases, placement of amenities and landscape can play an important role in connecting the private home areas to the common areas such as a clubhouse, dining areas, nursing care, or wellness centres. In a particular neighbourhood in the US, an architect placed the club house and the common areas such as coffee shops, restaurants and convenience stores in such a manner that it was convenient to the senior for his active daytime usage and for youngsters’ usage in the mornings or late evenings. This also promoted intermingling of generations, which is extremely healthy for seniors and young people. Schools, colleges, creche, day care facilities and even small time businesses can be designed inside the township so as to encourage seniors, repositories of knowledge and learning, to work as teachers and advisors.

Such engagement activities help the social fabric develop in a township and also provide seniors with a sense of identity.

The model As in the US, IG colonies can be based on equity, lease, deposit fee or a combination model. These communities, unlike standalone senior living resorts, provide for economy of scale as many facilities are shared.

“It is possible to develop well-planned senior enclaves within larger townships since it cross-subsidises the cost of development of common area facilities among larger townships and makes the neighbourhood attractive for seniors,” says Roy.

Usually, in many senior living facilities, developers offer a payback scheme for these homes after the demise of the residents.

People get to buy membership to live there and use the facilities for as long as they live.

Impact Senior Living Estates Private Limited offers two models -a high entry charge and a monthly amount (approximately Rs 20 lakh as entry charge and Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 that includes food and housekeeping) or a low entry amount and a high monthly charge (approximately Rs 42,000-Rs 48,000 per month), points out Singh.

Adds Koneru, “We are planning to introduce a lease model (creating a low entry barrier) which will cover housing, food, regular medical check-ups and specialised services such as house accountants, etc.” The future Inter-generational colonies have a bright future in India.

This is because many township projects in the country cover areas of well over 30 acres, where the developer can easily use a part of his project to create an enclave which has facilities that elders can appreciate.

Courtesy: HT Estates 27th Feb 2010

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