Green House Project: Future of elder care in India

The world is ageing. And so are its inhabitants. To put it in perspective, the no of people above the age of 60 in the world in 2008 were over 506 million. This number was to grow upto 1.3 billion by 2040. India and China are to have over 50% of these seniors in their country. And to see the overall picture, by 2021 the no of seniors will be greater than the number of kids below age of 5.

While it is true that the seniors now are more independent and better equipped to take decisions post their retirement, it is equally correct to say that their needs are not rightly understood and therefore not met appropriately by both public and private sector at large.

Senior housing is a USD 5 billion industry worldwide. In USA alone there are over 2,000 senior housing projects with over 500,000 residents. While the sector commands large numbers, it is also important to get a sense that only about 12% of seniors in the USA live in formal senior living projects and less than 4% stay in Australia.

As per Census of India projections, the percentage of elders as a percentage of total population in the country would jump from 7.4% in 2001 to 12.4% in 2026 and touch 19.7% in 2050. In 2011, India had about 76 million seniors above the age of 60 years and it is expected that this figure will grow to 173 million by 2025, further increasing to about 240 million by 2050.

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Although healthcare needs remain paramount for seniors across the world with ageing bringing various physical and mental ailments along with it, a host of other needs too need to be met. This includes cultural aspects regarding how seniors are treated in India and offering community life upholding their sense of respect, local support system and self-esteem.

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Residential projects for seniors like Ashiana and Athashri which have come in India offer both assisted and independent living facilities. Unlike skilled nursing centres, these projects offer seniors the choice to live independently with facilities ranging from basic modifications in architecture of the house to providing accessibility to care workers.  Least prevalent but very useful are Continuing Care Retirement communities which offer host of independent, assisted and skilled nursing care all under the same roof.

A step ahead in this direction unlike the host of residential projects which have come up in India is the Green House project under the visionary leadership of Dr. Bill Thomas. Such homes provide for 10-12 people with private room/baths and create a real home environment with an open kitchen, great room and easy access to outdoors. It respects flexible routines, welcomes family members and friends and encourages personal growth and enables elders to continue pursue their interests and passions.

For home healthcare players looking to crack the code of the Indian market amidst high attrition, frequent absenteeism, low margins and high competition, this is a unique offering to families looking for daily assistance for their parents and needing a homely and local touch.

At YouCare, we help elders and infants give that joy of life to their family members which they look forward to without worrying about the the physical needs of their loved ones. A step ahead in this vision is to be able to provide a residential care facility for families to bring their loved ones to for not just their health needs but also to help them enjoy company, spiritual care and to be able to contribute in being a part of a larger community.

The senior community presents a tremendous opportunity to service providers and entrepreneurs to not only innovate on their housing needs but addressing their various lifestyle service and product needs.

Till next time, #YOUCARE!!

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