Real Estate

A checklist for those looking to relocate to a retirement home

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on May 17, 2019 Published on May 17, 2019

NEW DELHI, 21/10/2015: A Senior citizen take a walk in the campus of the Old Age Home in Bindapur, Dwarka. Old Age Home managed by Department of Social Welfare, Govt. of Delhi. Photo: Prashant Nakwe   -  Prashant Nakwe

Senior citizens looking to relocate to private-run retirement community homes often fail to look beyond the amenities. Invariably, they are awed by the location and facilities.

But are these enough to move in? “These are our primary concerns. We realise that as we age, we long for good food, someone to converse with, listen to devotional lectures and music, and at times the concern for each other. If I do not turn up for the morning walk, the two ladies who accompany me every morning, will promptly turn up at my door to check if all is well,” said Kunju, an octogenarian resident of one such home.

She moved in six years ago. “My health is far better now as we follow a routine, be it the morning walk, timely meals or community discourse,” she said.

As her sons live abroad, she decided to shift here rather than reside in a gated community.

For Mythili, a retired banker in her early 60s, the circumstances were different. With two daughters, both comfortably settled in India, she and her husband decided to move into a retirement community settlement.

Checklist

Asked what helped them feel at home in their new surroundings, when many seniors have started voicing concern over the way such establishments are run, Mythili said, “I made an extensive study before we took the decision.”

Here’s the checklist she said one should consider before investing in a retirement community.

Ensure that the property title deeds are clear and all the approvals required for construction are in place. Make sure to get a lawyer’s opinion on the same. This is applicable when one is considering to invest in any property, leave alone retirement homes.

Service agreement

Understand in detail the services available and also those that will be available in future. You may want to lay stress on dining facility, availability of medical services, assisted care if and when required.

Get a copy of the detailed service agreement signed by the operator, read thoroughly, understand your rights and the operator’s responsibilities.

Common amenities

This is crucial. So be clear about the ownership model of the common amenities. The buyer invests in the services, and services will be available only with the amenities. So, whatever the ownership model, the buyer should be sure of the ownership model of common amenities, as it is critical in the long-term.

Cost of living

Before making the purchase, understand that a typical commercial retirement home does not subsidise the cost of living, but only makes all services available, which otherwise are difficult to access and manage.

So, there is bound to be an increase every year. But you need to ask the operator how it is charged. Make sure there is transparency in such accounts, so you are not overcharged. Your income does not increase after retirement, so you have to spend it wisely.

Inclusive management

Enquire and understand the model of management in the community.

Make sure that the management of services is inclusive and the opinion of the residents counts. Hassle-free living should be on the investor/ buyer’s terms. So try to know more on community management models.

A cross-section of seniors that this correspondent spoke to conceded that they had not bothered to study the terms and conditions of the service agreement, nor did they delve into the ownership of common amenities before they decided to relocate to a retirement space.

The response was mixed when asked about transparency in accounts and costing in retirement homes.

Published on May 17, 2019
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