Medical help, security at the push of a button, a spa, a golf course and even spirituality… Such safe and luxurious housing for the elderly is coming up, perhaps for the first time in India, targeting in particular the parents of NRIs. The first such neighbourhood under the Impact Senior Living Estates (ISLE) will be established in Amritsar in the next two years, keeping in mind the predicament of NRIs who constantly worry about their aged or ailing kin back home. Located close to the Golden Temple, the colony will mainly target Sikhs who would like to spend the last years of their lives close to a religious place.
Vinay Singhal, director of the project, said such housing projects are already there in Britain and Canada, but India is yet to explore such retirement options for the elderly. "The need for a project like this was dormant earlier. But with joint families breaking up and the children of nuclear families moving away, aged parents end up alone in metros, fending for themselves. "Not only will this colony be just three kilometres away from Fortis hospital but the residents will also have 24-hour on call medical help, security at the push of a button, housekeeping on request, and there will be regular tours to the Golden Temple. Thus almost every need of the residents will be taken care of," Singhal told media.
A physiotherapy centre, a hydro-pool to cure osteoporosis problems, a meditation centre, laundry service, a club and regular health check-ups are some of the other features of the colony. "There will also be a food court in case someone wants a change in the palette. Then there will be a salon, a spa, a library, a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool and other facilities for indoor sports. Also, there will be a regular shuttle service to the city for anyone wanting to go out," Singhal said.
But how viable is the idea of asking an aged person in the last days of his life to leave the place he has lived all along? "We are trying to encourage people to come in groups, friends, relatives. And the trend in the bookings have been like this. When groups of friends come to stay in the colony, they would feel at home," he said. The prices vary with the size of the apartments. For a one bedroom apartment, one has to pay Rs 500,000 as admission fee and another Rs 2.5 million as a refundable deposit. Thereon one has to pay Rs 10,000 per month. "The colony will formally be opened in the first half of 2010. The bookings have already begun. We are also working with the ministry of overseas affairs and the British high commission to get better access to the NRI population," Singhal said.