May 21, 2019
Housing The Ageing Population
Caring for the aging population is currently a key agenda across the globe. While the growth of this population is on the rise, the cost affiliated to support the aged is escalating fast. For the affluent, senior care is sought from the perspective of comfort, lifestyle, convenience, and healthcare services. However, for the remaining majority, such senior care aspiration is beyond reach, with no definite solution in the near future. In fact, in a number of countries, including developed nations, the options available for senior living can be limited and under-developed. Some of the key trends in housing the ageing population are highlighted below:
- Increased Demand for Senior Housing. In some countries, particularly in Asia, it is customary for adult children to care for their aged parents. However, with faced-paced lifestyles and changing values, the younger generation is finding it difficult to continue looking after for their aged parents. Caring for the elderly, especially those with health problems can also be financially and emotionally straining. This gives rise to the demand for more specialised housing facilities to care for senior citizens.
- Changing Retirement Lifestyle Choices and Needs. The lifestyle choices and needs of senior citizens are constantly changing, with preferences beyond healthcare support. Some are accustomed to high-density living, and thus, would like to have retirement homes located in central areas. Other retirees prefer to be in close proximity to facilities such as hospitals/ clinics, markets and social clubs, amongst others; hence, allowing them more independence. As such, seniors today are inclined to spend more in order to enjoy a comfortable retirement.
- Sustainability of Senior Care Policies and Financing Systems. Governments with generous senior care policies and financing systems are beginning to face cost issues that are no longer sustainable in the long run. These issues are exacerbated by significant growth of the senior population who are still unable to afford senior care, and require the respective governments to support them. This gives rise to innovative ways to provide for the well-being of their seniors. For example, sending elderly citizens to rehabilitate and retire in countries where long-term care for the elderly tends to be less costly.
- Promoting Programmes to Help the Elderly. Highly-developed economies are initiating programmes that promote the well-being of their elderly. There are communities that allow for their senior citizens to continue living in their homes by providing tools and support, which enable them to live healthily and safe. Others require their youth to be more pro-active by engaging the younger generation to volunteer their time in senior citizens’ homes. Activities such as conversations, going for walks, or celebrating birthdays, which help reduce the feeling of loneliness and social isolation among the elderly.
- Growing Interest in the Aged-Care Market. An ageing population gives rise to increased demand for aged-care facilities and services. From retirement homes to healthcare facilities and nursing care, investors’ interest in the aged-care market is growing. Private equity players are pouring-in investments into this sector, while property developers are looking for ways to accommodate the demand. Challenges in caring for the ageing population suggest more future opportunities in this area.
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