New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) A growing number of financially independent senior citizens now prefer staying in retirement resorts to languishing in the quintessential old-age homes that they feel are 'overcrowded' and 'unsafe'.
Insecurity, loneliness and lack of companionship - some of life's hard-to-swallow problems - become a daily reality for these elderly people whose children either settle abroad or in some other state for better career opportunities.
The concept of retirement resorts or complexes is gradually emerging as the most viable option among the senior members of society who are financially independent. They want to live with dignity and above all want to be secure.
'Retirement resort is a new trend in India for people whose children live abroad or have transferable jobs. These resorts, apart from providing luxurious facilities, provide companionship and security - the two things most needed when you are old,' Mathew Cherian, chief executive of Helpage India, told IANS.
R. Thiruvengadam, 78, and his wife Kanaka sold their house in Chennai in 2003 to shift to a flat in Classic Kudumbam, a retirement complex situated in Sholinganallur on the outskirts of Chennai.
'People retire from work, not from life. I think most of the old-age homes present a pathetic picture, housing an abandoned lot. These resorts not only provide facilities and comfort, they provide security,' Thiruvengadam points out.
Classic Kudumbam director Rajesh Shankar told IANS, 'Seniors are often caught between the need for safety, access to medical care and other basic comforts. Their children are often not there to provide the care and security they need.'
This retirement resort offers a gym with age-friendly flooring, swimming pools with double gripping, prayer centres, medical centres, paramedics and emergency services.
Classic Kudumbam also offers a week-long trial stay for prospective residents - an opportunity to examine life in the community up close.
Cherian however says, 'These resorts are meant for the upper class only who have the money and resources to buy an apartment there'.
Disagrees Ankur Gupta, executive director of Ashiana Housing, a Delhi-based real estate firm that is building India's first retirement resort in Lavasa (Pune), Bhiwari and Jaipur (Rajasthan) called Ashiana Utsav.
'We have a clientele from the middle-class segment as well, the apartments range from Rs. 600,000 to Rs. 2.5 million,' says Gupta.
'We studied the market before venturing into this business and found that the demand for such retirement complexes and resorts was on the rise,' emphasises Gupta.
The company already has over 500 bookings from clientele from across the globe.
'The idea is to bring everything at their doorstep without them having to go through the trouble and inconvenience,' Gupta adds.
Rajeev Mehrotra, 51, an engineer with Indian Airlines, told IANS: 'I don't think buying a flat in these resorts is expensive at all. My wife and I plan to shift there after we retire. I believe staying independently will strengthen the bond with my children. Moreover we will get to spend time with our age group,' he adds.
According to a Helpage India estimate, there are nearly 4,000 old-age h