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Demand for Retirement Communities on the Rise

Considering the vulnerability of elderly living alone, the demand for retirement communities or assisted living facilities is on the rise. “We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of enquires along with 4x increase in organic traffic to our website,” said Mohit Nirula, CEO, Columbia Pacific Communities. In an exclusive interview with RoofandFloor, he spoke about how the company is addressing Covid-19 challenges, changing buyers’ preferences, and much more. Here are the excerpts. What are buyers looking for in a retirement community? Are there needs evolving with time?The demand for wellness and wellbeing programmes aimed at positive ageing and a healthcare support structure is the top priority. Further, today’s well-travelled buyers are also looking for a more socially active and enabling service design that allows them to leave the day-to-day chores to the service provider while allowing them the freedom to pursue their interests and passions. What changes did you make in the retirement communities during the pandemic?More than changes, there was a reinforcement of current practices. This involved greater education and dissemination of credible information on the pandemic and the best ways to cope with it. The advice and expertise of our healthcare partners helped in countering the misinformation overload that accompanied the pandemic. We were also able to ring-fence the communities and provide services through team members residing with the community. This ensured that residents were kept protected from the external environment. There was also the introduction of immunity-boosting beverages and augmentation of such ingredients in the daily menus. The most important thing was the increased use of digital platforms to keep residents engaged so that physical distancing did not result in social distancing and loneliness. Is the demand for retirement homes and assisted living facilities in India increasing? If yes, what are the reasons?Yes, the demand for assisted living facilities in India is on the rise. We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of enquires along with 4x increase in organic traffic to our website. Demand for Retirement Communities on the RiseConsidering that the elderly are among the worst hit due to the ongoing pandemic, the demand for retirement communities will only increase in the times to come. Who are the potential buyers? There are two distinct segments—first, senior citizens who desire to reduce their dependence on external service providers. Secondly, there is a high degree of interest from future residents in the age group of 50 – 60. Which price segment has the highest demand?There is a demand for communities at different price points. Generally, the prices vary from Rs 20-50 Lakh for a 1BHK (excluding the more expensive metropolitan cities such as Mumbai and Delhi) depending on the size of the home and the location. Similarly, monthly maintenance charges may vary from Rs 8,000-40,000 depending on the range and quality of services provided within the community. What should the government do to promote senior living as an attractive asset class for investment?I do not believe that one should look at senior living communities as an asset class or a financial investment. Having said that, the government should: Waive off GST on services provided in senior living communities Relax the FSI and parking norms for senior living communities Consider financial initiatives that make the reverse mortgage more attractiveCreate guidelines to govern the physical structure and services at communities designed for seniorsYour advice for selecting a senior living home in the post-Covid world.Select the community as a whole and not just the home. Your neighbours, after all, are going to be your neighbours forever. Also, the selection should be based on the needs you wish to address today or expect to have in the future.

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Community living during a crisis situation

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. Authorities around the world have emphasised on the importance of hygiene practices, social distancing and self-quarantining owing to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19. While most governments are taking requisite measures to contain the spread of the disease, citizens worldwide are experiencing something in common – dread and panic. Older people, who are believed to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their weakened immune systems, are especially concerned. During times like these, seniors living in independent senior living communities have the means to cope with the situation better. Let us understand how.   They feel safe People living in independent senior living communities rely on their service provider to smoothen things out when times get stressful and chaotic. At Columbia Pacific Communities, we provide a safe environment for our residents during tumultuous times. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first message on the outbreak, our protocol embraces the principle of “precautions, not panic.” The initiatives being taken across our communities during the lockdown period rest on the pillars of raising awareness around COVID-19, preventing its spread and boosting the wellbeing and morale of our residents. Sharing the right information and dispelling myths about COVID-19 that are being widely shared via WhatsApp, is an important example.   They stay connected The essence of a community lies in feeling connected with others. Especially during a crisis such as the COVID-19 outbreak. Residents of Columbia Pacific Communities have each other’s back and comfort each other during difficult times like these. Whether it is exchanging messages on the community WhatsApp group or going for walks while maintaining social distancing, seniors don’t feel shut out as the world battles the pandemic.   They are worry-free Unlike seniors who live on their own in stand-alone homes or mixed family communities, where they have to fend for themselves or depend on others, seniors living in communities don’t have to bother themselves with chores. At Columbia Pacific Communities, residents can get their meals, medical supplies and other essentials delivered at their doorstep.   They feel secure With strict security measures and hygiene practices in place, residents have the assurance that they are well protected from the disease. To minimise the chance of spreading COVID-19 within the communities, the entry for visitors has been restricted at Columbia Pacific Communities. Outsiders are not allowed into the community, and home delivery of essentials is being driven by the community staff members.   They are cared for Caring for seniors doesn’t end with defining safety protocol. The staff members at Columbia Pacific Communities have been instructed to wash/sanitise their hands as well as commonly touched surfaces often. They have also been asked to report immediately if they feel unwell. Single residents are checked upon every day by the wellness staff and couples have been educated to report any symptoms to the medical teams.   Above all, seniors are nurtured in an enriching environment that encourages them to continue being socially, physically, emotionally, intellectually and mentally engaged.  

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Expressions of Love

Sunflowers

71st Republic Day of India

OK boomer, what’s all the fuss about?

OK boomer.   The phrase made international news when 25-year-old Chlöe Swarbrick, a member of New Zealand’s parliament, used it in response to an interruption by a much older parliament member. While “OK boomer” may have been used by the indignant next generations to define or mock an attitude (read – deep-rooted power structures of a society), one cannot deny that it is an ageist catchphrase.   It stereotypes all baby boomers and seniors as narrow-minded and conformist individuals who try to impose their ideas and opinions on the younger generations. And this is precisely why it is important to address the implications of the widespread popularity of “OK boomer.” As India’s largest independent senior living community operators, we believe that age is just a number and are committed to shattering age-related stereotypes.   At Columbia Pacific Communities, we believe that individuals, across age groups, have a part to play in society. It would be unfair to deem an entire generation as biased and indifferent to the concerns of the youth. For it is a generation that has a sea of experience, perspective and insight sought by younger generations. For it is a generation, like the generations before and after, that believes in relentless pursuit of the incredible. We believe that positive ageing is a way of approaching life because people are a sum of their experiences and aspirations and cannot be defined by a number.   We enrich the lives of our residents by providing both tangible and intangible means to age positively. We believe that one should be able to spend their golden years the way they desire. Our newest project, The Virtuoso Club and Serviced Residences, is India’s first independent senior living community designed to international standards. In addition to premium serviced apartments, a signature club equipped with unmatched senior-friendly amenities and world-class healthcare, our residents at The Virtuoso will also have all the support to age positively and live life just the way they want to. While the world tries to put labels on people and expiry date on ambitions, we politely yet firmly push back age-related stereotypes and set a new benchmark for senior living in India.  

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Obsessed with food ?

The fly got tired of hearing the loud noises on the road. As it got hungry, it started looking for a place to eat. As it flew, it sensed a wonderful aroma from a nearby building. It followed the smell and entered the building through a window. Once inside, the fly found itself in a hall filled with the loud chatter of elderly persons, seated at tables and having food. The fly decided to look around for options before deciding on the menu.   A gentleman at one of the tables said, “The idlis are soft today and taste so good with the chutney.”   Another person said, “Yes, but the thickness, size and diameter of the idlis are small.”   At another table, a lady said, “The masala dosa is very good today.” The person seated in front of the lady said, “Yes, but the quantity of vegetables inside is very less.”   At yet another table, two elderly people were analysing and criticising the Upma served on that day.   (The fly tasted small quantities of all dishes when the diners were busy talking and did not notice it)   One gentleman was talking loudly with food in his mouth, even as the food particles flew from his mouth – left, right and centre.   One person appreciated the crisp Medhu vadas while her friend beside her commented “Yes, but the holes at the center are small.”   Another lady commented “The puris are soft and tasty,” to which, her husband replied, “Yes, but so much oil in the puris. Too much oil is not good for health”   The fly stopped by a table where two persons were having coffee. One said, “Ha! The coffee tastes just the way I like – hot, thick and dark – without any sugar.” The other person responded, “I don’t know how you drink such bitter coffee. I like my coffee light, with more milk and 3 spoons of sugar in it.”   The fly’s curiosity got the better of it and it tasted a drop of coffee from the cups carried by the bearer.   The fly heard many voices, and found some persons were smacking their lips with loud noise, some licking their fingers. Then it remembered the advice given by its parents –   Don’t be obsessed with food Eat to live and not live to eat Eat with your mouth closed Don’t indulge in idle chatter while eating Eat only half your stomach and quit for you have to be alert and swift when a human tries to swat you.   So the fly ate till its stomach was half full and flew to the next room which was empty and rest on a wall, away from the loud noise, until lunch time. This blog post is by Serene Urbana (Bengaluru) resident E.S. Sivakumaran.

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My Queen

Give peace a chance

“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”  – Wayne W. Dyer   We think of peace of mind as a destination and feel the need to chase it.   It is not easy to choose peace when we go through difficult times. Circumstances do affect our mental state, but by making the right choices, we don’t feel the need to control them.   Like other desirable states of mind, it requires effort but is always available.   What is the value of peace of mind?   Mind is efficient only when it is cool. It increases the intellectual power of a man. The cyclone derives its power from a calm centre. So does a man.   Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher says, “The mind is never right, but when it is at peace within itself.”   Make some room for silence in your life. It is an aid for peace of mind and helps the personality to grow. The power of silence is inestimable. Silence is a friend who never betrays.   Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish historian, rightly wrote, “Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves.”   Another aspect of mastering peace is to learn to manage our emotional state as it affects our mental and physical being and also our relationships. Peace of mind heals. Don’t trust your emotional reactions unless you are in full control.   “Sometimes it is better to be kind than to be right. We do not need an intelligent mind that speaks, but a patient heart that listens.” Anonymous.   At times we have questions, for which we have to wait for answers. Sometimes, we get answers to the questions that we never knew were there and sometimes the questions themselves become redundant. Many worries never come to pass. Keeping your expectations realistic and being in control of your emotions is the only way to find peace of mind, which comes with daily practice and patience.   This blog post is by Serene Pushkar (Chennai) resident Geeta Gopalakrishnan.    

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The Blind

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Bengaluru

2999, 12th A Main Rd,
HAL 2nd Stage Indiranagar,
Bengaluru - 560008
Phone: +91 80 4018 1000