Interview with Deepak Gupta
Founder, Eden Senior
Deepak has 35 years of global experience in management consulting, banking, executive search and now in senior living and wellness. He has been a Senior Advisor & Advisory Board member to companies and management universities. He was the Country Head and Managing Director for Korn/Ferry International’s India office for 12 years and as the Executive Chairman for DHR International’s India office for 2 ½ years.
- The concept of creating residential spaces for SeniorCitizens is both novel and sensitive. How you thought about coming up with the seniorcitizens homes, what was the thought process behind it?
A report released by the United Nations Population Fund and Help Age India suggests that the number of elderly persons is expected to grow to 173 million by 2026 which is approximately 76 million today. Out of the 76 million 29% of seniors, sixty years andover live in Urban areas.
Luxury senior living facilities available in North India are currently inadequate; we therefore felt this need should be addressed. Further, there isn’t a single senior living facility currently in India that combines integrative medicine into the facility for the health and wellness of the residents living there. We tried to come up with something unique and very beneficial for senior citizens by combining top end senior living amenities along with integrative medicine.
- What extra measures and amenities are mandatory for creating seniorcitizen homes?
There are real estate features like grab bars in bathrooms, panic buttons near floor levels for emergencies, emergency call system in all bathrooms, anti-skid and anti bacterial vitrified tile flooring in all rooms, intercom facility, ramps for wheelchair access, bigger lifts, wide passages and large flush doors to accommodate wheelchairs.
Basic medical facilities like,24×7 availability of nursing staff, doctor on call, physiotherapy rooms, caregivers offered at an extra cost for the disabled, the bedridden or the sick, emergency facilities, ambulances, medical centers nearby.
- Tell us about your project, what is the USP of it?
The most outstanding USP of Eden is integrative medicine and Wellness within the complex. This can be explained as Eden’s 5 steps to Comprehensive Health
- Eden Diagnosis
- Eden Integrative Medicine Therapy
- Eden Anti-aging & Rejuvenation Therapy
- Nutrition Dietetics
- Eden Lifetime
Other than this some real estate features make Eden a building that is future forward with systems like Intelligent building Management system, Home Automation(optional package), Water treatment plant for potable water supply, Sewage Treatment Plant for water supply for landscape irrigation, LED lighting in common areas, 24×7 running hot water using centralized Hydro Pneumatic water supply, Geothermal/solar thermal technology with insulated pipes, zero VOC(volatile organic compounds) / non toxic, washable and bacteria resistant paint
We are also offering free 5 years common area maintenance along with 5 years warranty on all kitchen appliances and air-conditioning.
- What kind of response you have got for your senior-citizen project?
The response has been very positive with a lot of interest coming from potential buyers in the age group of 60 and above and also particularly from NRIs wanting either for their parents or for themselves at a future date when they plan to return back to India to retire.
- Any Govt Incentivisation for creating senior-citizen residential spaces?
No. Nothing at all!On the contrary this should be there from the Government like we have in the Western world. The only aspect that I know is from the Union Budget 2018 which has meant some relief for seniors, is the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana which the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed to extend till March 2020. Under this, seniors will receive an assured eight per cent return by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). The limit on investment has been doubled to Rs 15 lakhs. This converts into higher interest rates. Now seniors can bank on exemption limit from interest that has been increased to five-fold to Rs 50,000 per year. Limit of deduction for health insurance premium and medical expenditure is also up from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 per year. While the Budget has been good for senior citizens in the country, it is time to provide affordable and luxury homes to this steadily growing segment by promoting the need for senior living in a PPP mode.
- What kind of design element you follow for creating senior living homes?
Design elements include no stairs, wheelchair access throughout and hence wide pathways everywhere and wider doors and corridors to allow for the wheelchairs to have easier access, lift to accommodate a stretcher in case of emergency, infirmary created to allow for emergency stabilization before movement to a hospital, pleasing façade to the eyes and also conducive to the surroundings, etc.
Also, our concept is focussed on vertical Living. In an article by**Bradford Perkins,titled 10 Top Design Trends in Senior Living Facilities, Jan 2009, the drift is to make Urban options as” a lot of empty nesters and seniors want to move back into city centers to enjoy the richness of an urban lifestyle and amenities such as having a doorman and home meal deliveries. This phenomenon is stimulating a variety of interesting new projects……in an urban high-rise setting.” It is also mobility specific as the entertainments and recreational areas are just a lift ride away no matter what the weather is like. The design concept is also drifting to hospitality features where all facilities are a few steps here and there.No long walks to the dining area or to medical facilities,etc.
- What is the location strategy?
Location needs to be in a place that has year round moderate temperatures, clean air yet not too far from the city, pleasing views of hills / water, etc., proximity to a hospital, close to some scenic visiting spots, etc.
- What kind of untapped opportunity is there in creating SeniorLivingprojects?
There is a huge untapped demand in both categories: one is the domestic market and the other is NRI market that needs to be addressed appropriately.
As per a statistics by 2013, there were 30 assisted living projects in the country with another 30 lined up. The current demand itself is more than 3,00,000 units.
According to M H Dalal, founder and chairman, Association of Senior Living in India (ASLI), “nearly 99 per cent of the housing for senior citizens isold age homes”. “These old age homes though provide for the old, do not promote a lifestyle. Moreover, in 2010 the demand for senior housing stood at 3,12,000 while the supply was only a mere 8,000. There is a huge gap still that needs to be fulfilled,” says Dalal.
Also according to a survey by Track2Realty, 88% of NRIs are ready to invest into senior housing. The senior housing that these expat Indians are looking for their post-retirement life is not just an apartment with healthcare and assisted living facilities. No less than 72% of the NRIs want senior living housing solutions in India that offer luxury.
**Bradford Perkins, FAIA, MRAIC, AICP, is the founder of Perkins Eastman Architects, a New York-based architectural, interior design, and planning firm with a national practice and branch offices in Charlotte (N.C.), Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Stamford (Conn.), and Toronto. He is the principal author of Building Type Basics for Senior Living (Wiley).