RETIREMENT HOMES – PROS AND CONS
First, we learn so we can start working. Then we work so we can start earning. Then we save for the second innings of our lives where we won’t be working. This is a simple sum-up of an average person’s life. Retiring from work is usually called the second innings of life because as old age steps in, the efficiency of the human body decreases thus changes everything.
It is often said that childhood and old age are the same – for we require utmost care, love, and warmth during both these phases of life. Retirement homes, often called as luxury old age homes are communities exclusively set up for the elderly. But can they provide the feeling called home and warmth? Let’s find out.
“ Retirement is when you stop living at work and start working at living.”
“ We’ve put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it.” – Frank Howard Clark
“ Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Henry Ford
STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?
- According to a 2016 report by the ministry of statistics and program implementation, India has 103.9 million elderly people which is about 8.5% of the total population.
- The overall population of India is estimated to grow by 40% between 2006 and 2050, while the elderly population will have grown by 270%
- According to a survey conducted by Agewell Foundation in 2016, 65% of elderly people found themselves financially dependent or facing a financial crisis. Almost 80% of those facing a financial crisis said that the medical costs were the reason behind it.
- In an AISCCON survey, it was found that 60% of elderly people that lived with their families face harassment and abuse and almost 39% have been abandoned or live alone.
- The census updates suggest that there is a demand for 2.4 lakh units of senior housing in urban areas and 51,500 residences in rural areas of India.
- There are only 728 retirement homes in India out of which the detailed information of only 547 is available. These operate free of cost, pay and stay facilities and both.
DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive
Retirement homes are often confused with the old age nursing homes where elderly people struggle to live independently. This is not the actual case. Retirement homes are usually housing residences stretched over spacious lands. They have various healthcare facilities and also different recreational facilities like clubhouses, gyms, art and yoga centers, etc.
People living in these retirement homes are not usually abandoned by their children and society, they choose this lifestyle as it is more convenient and independent. Also, many parents have their children settled abroad, it becomes easier to live in a retirement community as everything is designed according to the needs of senior citizens. Many elderly parents who live with their children face inconvenience asking for help with daily activities, retirement communities thus enable them to live independently.
ADVANTAGES/BENEFITS OF RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES
- One of the biggest advantages of retirement homes is that they are designed according to the convenience of the elderly people. The floors have non-slippery tiles, stairs are replaced with slopes of a lower gradient, etc. This eases the daily struggle.
- They are provided with constant supervision and healthcare facilities.
- There are defined schedules of meals and different activities that help in building a healthy routine and lead a more enjoyable life.
- The feeling of being alone is eradicated as everyone around is in constant touch due to the group activities scheduled at the retirement homes. A similar-minded senior company thus becomes like family.
- Most of the retirement homes come with 24-hour security which provides a safe environment for the elderly.
- Retirement homes also encourage indulgence into hobbies. Yoga and music gatherings are refreshing and act as therapy in various cases.
DISADVANTAGES OF RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES
- Living in a retirement community can be expensive considering the facilities provided. Also, many insurance policies and medical coverages do not cover the cost of living in a retirement home.
- Retirement homes in India are very less as compared to the elderly population. They are located only in specific areas which may not be convenient for everyone.
- The love and emotional connection that is established with one’s children is irreplaceable. Finding emotional connect apart from family at an elderly age may be difficult sometimes.
- Sometimes elderly people prefer doing everything independently. Accepting help from the staff becomes difficult for them. Getting along with certain people is not possible because of the diverse personalities making it hard in some situations.
- Attachment with home makes it difficult to move out and start everything again as many memories are attached to the place you have lived all these years.
Everyone wants to live in the last phase of their life in a dignified manner. Living it as a burden to someone makes each day difficult. Retirement homes provide all facilities enabling oneself to live independently. India is yet to adapt to the positive perspective towards retirement homes. Even today most of the people see towards it as the home of the abandoned.
Though there are many benefits of retirement communities, they aren’t a common sight. Also for a population struggling with a financial crisis, such housing with dignity lifestyle charges becomes unaffordable. Indian problems cannot be solved with western solutions. Affordable retirement homes and communities need to be set up with a government backup. The acceptance and perspective will turn positive eventually.
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Author – Mitali Shingne