How COVID-19 impacted demand for senior living in tier 2 and 3 cities?
The pandemic and the consequent restrictions it brought on daily living and social interactions highlighted the difference in experience of seniors living in independent homes or apartments that were part of mixed-family condominium complexes and that of residents of a senior living community.
Seniors living on their own have to depend on several external resources to support their activities of daily living. This involves different persons who provide security, housekeeping and laundry support, gardening, chauffeur, cook and all sorts of deliveries that come to their doorstep from newspapers to services such as online shopping and food deliveries.
During the pandemic, not only were these deliveries severely restricted, but every incoming person increased the risk of infection. In mixed-family condominiums, senior residents were dependent on the protocols devised by the Residents’ Welfare Associations. These protocols were more often than not compromises designed to manage the expectations of the diverse population occupying the community and oftentimes were not in the best interest of the most immuno-compromised demographic – the seniors.
On the other hand, residents of senior living communities were able to have their daily needs fulfilled, have medical support at hand and a daily calendar that ensured physical distancing did not cause social isolation and brought peace of mind to the residents and their families.
Consequently, the senior living industry has seen exponential growth in demand for both ready-to-move-in communities and those under development. Columbia Pacific Communities has the privilege of serving senior living communities in the metro cities of Bengaluru, Chennai.
Furthermore, we also serve communities in the smaller cities of Coimbatore, Kanchipuram and Puducherry.
We now have a waiting list of future residents who would like to move into these communities. They are open to purchasing homes on re-sale or availing of the services of the community as tenants. At the same time, our website, www.columbiacommunities.in has seen a 4x increase in organic visits which is reflective of the increasing awareness of and interest in senior living communities.
The CII report in 2018 on the Senior Living Industry estimated a requirement of over 200,000 homes as part of communities designed with specific needs of seniors in mind. At that time, the total number of homes under various stages of development were 20,000.
Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic within our population mix. This growth in numbers of seniors combined with the growing nuclearisation of families has resulted in an increased incidence of seniors staying alone. With the long gestation period required for creating communities, this 10x gap between supply and demand has only increased.
Indians have always seen education as an enabler of upward mobility. Parents have unhesitatingly invested a large portion of their earnings to provide their children with the best education possible. Globalisation has allowed these individuals to pursue their careers and growth across the world. As a consequence, the demographic of 50 plus individuals who are proud of their children’s advancement, who do not wish to relocate from their home
city and are staying alone has grown and will continue to grow exponentially.
COVID-19 and the resultant experience of both the parents and their children over the last 15 months have made senior living communities the preferred lifestyle option for seniors living on their own.