Saturday, June 3, 2023
Support Our Journalism
HomeIndiaGovernanceYoga centres, ambulances, emergency alarms: Govt to set rules for private retirement...

Yoga centres, ambulances, emergency alarms: Govt to set rules for private retirement homes

Text Size:

Modi govt has devised draft guidelines to ensure retirement homes in private sector are equipped with facilities that cater to the targeted customers.

New Delhi: Anti-skid tiles, easy-to grip doorknobs, emergency bedside alarms, yoga and exercise centres, on-call ambulances and care providers.

These are a few of the services that could become mandatory requirements for real estate projects in the private sector that target elderly customers, a market segment that is increasingly finding favour among realty companies.

There are approximately 7.6 crore senior citizens in India, according to Census 2011 figures. The number is likely to shoot up to 24 crore by 2050, according to the India Ageing Report 2017 released by the United Nations Population Fund.

Till now, there were no norms in place for the private sector when they built such homes for senior citizens. So the Narendra Modi government has devised draft guidelines to make sure the projects are equipped to handle the special needs of their targeted customers, senior officials from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs told ThePrint.

The ministry is currently finalising the document, which will specify the facilities that a builder of retirement homes has to provide, as well as the specific building design.

Where a promoter is not able to provide the services, the guidelines state, they can appoint an operator to deliver the services.

The draft guidelines, accessed by ThePrint, will not just spell out the physical standards and specifications for constructing retirement homes, but also lay down a schedule of basic rights for allottees/residents. This schedule of rights will have to be made a mandatory part of the sale agreement.

“We are proposing that a tripartite agreement between the allottee, developer and retirement home operator should be made mandatory so that they can be held jointly responsible for the duties and obligations they have to provide to the allottee,” a senior housing ministry official told ThePrint.

“This will ensure that in case of violations, not only the developer, but the retirement home operator can be taken to task under the provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA),” the official added.

The guidelines, once finalised, will be sent to state governments for adoption.

Lack of guidelines 

“Retirement homes targeting the middle and upper middle class started coming into the market about 10-15 years ago,” said Mathew Cherian, the CEO of HelpAge India, a charity dedicated to the care of the elderly.

“The problem arose as many builders treated it as just another real estate project without factoring in the special requirements of old people,” he added.

Cherian said these guidelines were a welcome step, as they will create some kind of a compulsion for developers to introduce the specifications they lay down.

As of date, only a handful of states, including Tamil Nadu and Kerala, have guidelines for old-age homes.

Among the guidelines brought in by the Kerala government are that the living area (including sleeping area and ancillary areas like kitchen and dining hall) should be 129 sq ft, and there should be separate accommodation for caregivers, as well as healthcare facilities.

These guidelines in Kerala are, however, only for government-run senior citizens’ homes.

More and more takers

Housing projects that focus on the elderly are finding ever more takers with the concept of nuclear families taking deeper root in India.

With people now ready to shift base for jobs, more and more families are choosing to have relationships where the parents and grown-up children live in different places but visit each other every now and then.

The sense of abandonment that once haunted elderly Indian parents living alone is wearing off, and they are looking to make the most of their retirement days, ready to shell out money for comfortable accommodation in well-equipped housing societies.

There are currently only a handful of private players in India catering to the retirement home market.

These include Paranjape Schemes Constructions, which introduced retirement homes in India, Ashiana Housing, Antara Senior Living, Tata Housing, etc.

Most upscale projects have come up in Coimbatore and Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu, and Pune, Maharashtra. In the north, Uttarakhand capital Dehradun and Bhiwadi in Rajasthan, have such facilities.

Depending on the size and the facilities available, a two-bedroom retirement home in Ashiana Housing Society in Bhiwadi can cost anywhere between Rs 43 lakh and Rs 54 lakh.

A 1,400 sq ft flat in Antara Senior Living, Dehradun, is priced at Rs 1.5 crore.

Also read: The rise & fall of Amrapali, from real estate giant to company struggling to pay its dues

Why housing ministry stepped in

However, as people began to move into retirement homes, there were growing complaints of harassment on account of contractual violations by those who operated and managed the projects.

The promised facilities were not in place, and that’s when the government decided to step in.

“It was difficult to hold developers accountable for breach of contract in the absence of any standard guidelines on what all facilities they have to provide while building a retirement home,” a senior ministry official said.

Although issues related to senior citizens are dealt with by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry, the Housing Ministry found jurisdiction in that the violators were developers.

The Housing Ministry constituted a committee in July 2018 headed by Jagan Shah, director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, a research institute, to examine the issues concerning retirement homes and draft model guidelines on the requisite physical standards and specifications for such facilities.

The committee, which had representatives from stakeholder ministries such as Social Justice and Empowerment, and Health, and organisations such as HelpAge India, Delhi Development Authority and Housing and Urban Development Corporation, submitted its report to the ministry a fortnight ago.

So far, the government’s focus has centred on old-age homes meant for abandoned, destitute senior citizens with nowhere else to go.

“The current model is inadequate to respond to a new demand for facilities for senior citizens who are economically independent and willing to pay for their accommodation and services,” said a housing ministry official.

What do draft guidelines say?

The draft guidelines specify, among other things, that bathrooms in retirement homes must have anti-skid tiles, there should be ramps throughout the building for wheelchair access, and rails on both sides of stair flights.

They mandate a certain width for doors to allow convenient passage for wheelchairs, and obligate the builder to provide easy-to-grip doorknobs and lever-type handles of large size and light weight, as well as emergency bedside alarm and light controls.

It also spells out the services that have to be provided, such as 24×7 on-site ambulance service, basic medical facilities with a nurse, care-giving facilities for those who need it, and yoga, physiotherapy and exercise centres.

Also read: Godrej is now selling ‘clean air’ with its Gurugram flats

The retirement home market in India

According to a 2016 report by global real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, the demand for senior citizen housing in India is approximately three lakh units. As against this, the supply is between 10,000 and 15,000 units.

Ankur Gupta, joint managing director of Ashiana Housing Limited, welcomed the government’s government’s move.

“The retirement home market is growing and has huge potential,” he told ThePrint.

Gupta’s firm has completed five projects comprising 1,600 retirement homes in Bhiwadi, while four more are coming up in Jaipur, Lavasa, Kolkata and Chennai.

“There is a large segment of old people who have the paying capacity and want good services,” he added. “Though most of the big players adhere to quality construction practices, having uniform standards for such facilities will boost the sector further,” said Gupta.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. Old people, who cannot even sit on floor with ease, I don’t know what good Yoga will do to them — except for making them unnecessarily feel “old” for not being able to do it properly!

    Ramdev does some tricks like a circus man, which I doubt are useful even for the young with a supple body. We Indians suffer so deeply and intuitively from an inferiority complex that we look with awe even on a dubious thing like yoga to bolster our self image. Foreigners feel attracted to it out of idle curiosity, I don’t think any of them expects to benefit out of it in tangible terms, but we feel mighty thrilled that something of “ours” is being appreciated by the “gora-loag”!! We Indians will almost feel offended if black-skinned Africans start saying good things about yoga.

    Anyway, these are idle ruminations. But it’s good if government is asking old age homes to pay heed to the need for ambulances. (Some old bloke may dislocate a bone while doing yoga!)

Comments are closed.

Most Popular