In booming India retirement homes spread

Retirement CommunityPune: She grew up listening to her grandparents’ stories over dinner, three generations gathered in the house they shared, like nearly every Indian family she knew.

But now that Uma Paranjpe is a grandmother, she finds herself living alone in a small apartment, her children abroad, her grandchildren far from her cooking and her stories.

And she’s thrilled.

“Grandparents also want their own independence,? said the 62-year-old widow, who lives in a bustling retirement community in this southwestern Indian city. “We want freedom. We would like to travel, to pursue our hobbies.?

A cultural revolution is under way in India, led by an unlikely gray-haired vanguard that is dramatically changing what it means to be old here, and what it means to be a family. 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.

With the economy booming, children are moving away for jobs, leaving elderly parents on their own. 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.

The new retirement communities are so far available only for the rich. There’s nothing between the high end faux Florida facilities and bleak government-run homes for those with nowhere else to go.

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

“I don’t think my son or my daughter will look after me — and I’m damn happy about it,? said Minoo Shroff, 72, who lives in a housing complex for seniors in Pune, a pleasant city popular with retirees because it’s more temperate than much of the rest of India. “I’m independent, they’re independent.?

Seniors in India traditionally occupy a role somewhere between family pillar and dependent hanger-on, with more than 71 percent of the elderly living with their children or grandchildren, according to the 2001 national census.

Grandparents can be revered keepers of family lore or ghostly presences cooking nearly forgotten recipes. But from teeming cities to sleepy villages, caring for one’s parents is to most Indians a duty as important as caring for one’s children, and home after home across the country is crowded with the same mix of generations.

The arrangement is one borne out of custom and financial necessity — the Indian government provides no Social Security type benefits and less than 10 percent of the population receives even a small pension.

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.

“The younger generation is very busy. They don’t have time to spend with older people,? said Harvinder Bakshi of HelpAge India, an activist group for the elderly. “The joint family system is disintegrating.?

Newspapers frequently carry lurid stories of children abandoning their parents to the street, and activists have called on the government to open more affordable old-age homes.

Bakshi says his group, a major one, gets a half-dozen calls a month about abandoned seniors.

Even the expensive retirement homes can’t make up for the joy of growing old among family.

“I miss that bonding, that security, that comfort, the love, the shelter. We don’t feel that here,? said Madhukar Gokarn, 73. She and her husband live in an exclusive retirement community called Golden Nest in Pune, but her afternoon walks on the building’s roof are small consolation for what she has lost. “Who wouldn’t want to be with their own children as long as possible??

Shashank Paranjape, the real-estate developer generally credited with introducing retirement homes to India, opened his first project, Athashri, in 2003 in Pune as a complex explicitly modeled on Western retirement homes. With roughly 1,000 residents in four branches, Athashri 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 plans retirement homes in five more Indian cities, but he and other developers face major hurdles.

To most Indians, communities exclusively of old people seem as impractical as neighborhoods of children would be. Also, the buy-in prices of $75,000 to $125,000 rule out the vast majority of the population, although with the economy growing every year, developers are betting the market will increase.

The communities buzz with card games, book clubs and music lessons — activities all but unthinkable in generations past, when old age was spent helping with grandkids and household chores.

“My mother used to love the violin, but she never had time to play,? said Pushpa Salem, 67, who has become an avid butterfly collector since moving to Athashri nearly five years ago. “She would have loved it here.?

“When we stay with our children we feel very old,? she said. “Here, we feel young.?

Source : http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jlFUFTh4yOdO6NzrCntAjWuWRAjgD8VA268G0

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13 Responses to “In booming India retirement homes spread”


  1. 1 Vinesh Mar 14th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I like the artikel above. Can some one help me to send
    the adresses of Reirement home’s near Delhi and Kanpur.

  2. 2 rene May 23rd, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    can you send me the addresses of the reitirement home in Pune :smile_wp:

  3. 3 Jitindar Jun 9th, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Need contact numbers for Retirement Homes in Delhi. Thanks.

  4. 4 daru Aug 1st, 2008 at 5:53 am

    :smile_wp:
    Please let me know about retirement homes in Secunderabad / Hyderabad. I am interested in buying one.

  5. 5 Sateesh Mehta Aug 29th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Please send me the address of the retirement home in Pune.

  6. 6 pp Sep 2nd, 2008 at 12:46 am

    I have been looking for retirement homes of late. After an extensive survey I realised that I did rather stay in my existing home than opt for pretension retirement homes that are outrageously expensive for elderly who are already paying out of their pockets for health services. There is hardly any motivation to shift in such settlements. Are these retirement homes financially viable for the builders? why are they so expensive? especially when they are for old persons?

  7. 7 aarti agrawal Feb 13th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    can youhelp me retirement homes around hyderabad-A.P. Homes where elders can wwtihout worries and with their self respect.

  8. 8 Neeraj Apr 19th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Hi, I m impressed with yr site, Can someone mail me the addresses of some good RETIREMENT HOMES IN PUNE.
    Thx.
    Neeraj

  9. 9 James David Apr 17th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Please see the address of retirement villages or paying guest accommodation for senior citizens in Bangalore
    Thanks

  10. 10 P BHASKARA SARMA May 9th, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Ithink retirement homes are to be c onstructed in semi urban places nearer to an urban or metropolitan place so that the venture can be completed economically.In case a good cbse/icse school is also constructed nearby the grandparents and grandchildren can stay together at least for sometime and this will strengthen the joint family relationship and the future generation can be benefitted by the golden experience of grand parents.so i suggest that any retiremnt home is to be very near to a good school and temple and in fact some of the senior citizens can serve the school in much better fashion.every such complex should have a community kitchen where soft vegetarian food is served at reasonable rates.these are good annexures for a success of a retirement home.

  11. 11 latha Jun 27th, 2010 at 7:34 am

    please let me know about retairment homes in hydarabad. l am intersted to buy one and stay there.pls tell me.

  12. 12 ramesh tripathi Jun 28th, 2010 at 1:53 am

    we are looking for a retirement home with all amenities and services to lead active retired life and care .can we get locations,sizes,lay outs,cost of aquisition and monthly expeses .Also how does such a property -whether will be owned by us or later can be disposed off also.

  13. 13 Sastry Tejomurty Jul 23rd, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Is there a residential apartment complex for seniors in Hyderabad-Secunderabad. I am intersted in buying a flat. Please inform me if any.

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