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India’s senior care market to hit USD 40-50B

Senior living homes, once considered a luxury, are soon becoming a necessity in most Indian cities, as demand continues to grow, experts at 4th Ageing Fest Annual Conclave said.

They believe the demand for senior homes is expected to spike in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, outpacing the supply, with a projected demand for around 2 lakh units in the coming years. Currently, around 50 senior living projects are in progress, mainly in Tier 2 cities.

Experts at the fest organised by the Association of Senior Living India (ASLI) in Delhi on November 17, stressed that more people are today willing to spend on senior homes that provide modern healthcare services and a range of assisted living facilities. They also underscored the need to further develop and strengthen the Indian healthcare system to cater to their needs.

A report jointly prepared by the Ministry of Health And Family Welfare (MoHFW) and ASLI found that around 20 per cent of the elderly population live alone or with a spouse. Also, many elderly people are susceptible to age-related health issues, and found to suffer from cognitive decline, chronic diseases, etc., and children are not always available to care for them. It stressed the need for policymakers and healthcare institutions to adapt to the needs of the old people.

Growing elderly population:
India’s aging people will be around 19.5 per cent of the total population by 2050. According to the UN, their numbers will increase to around 193 million by 2031 from 138 million in 2021. By 2050, there will be roughly 319 million individuals above 60, making India of one the world’s largest senior populations, or one elderly person for every five people.

Growing acceptance of senior living:
India has a tradition of joint families with multiple generations living together, but it is changing. Economic development and urbanisation has accelerated the growth of nuclear families, especially in the urban areas, where they find jobs and live small families offer affordability.

This shift from joint to nuclear families has made a huge difference in the way seniors imagined their golden days, living with children and grandchildren. However, with increasing disposable income, people now have the means to spend on healthcare and invest in senior homes. They can now spend on healthcare, assisted living, and other senior care options. Sumit Anand, chief business officer of GMR, said senior living will be more important as this change takes root.

Growth in the sector:
Experts believe India’s senior care market has a huge potential. It is expected to increase from $12-15 billion market to around $40-50 billion by the end of this decade, as the demand for senior living, health care, and other services increase. “The senior care industry holds immense potential, but we acknowledge the challenges it faces, be it regulatory frameworks or infrastructural development”, said ASLI chairman Adarsh Narahari.

Neha Saraf, executive director of Morgan Stanley, said, “The eldercare sector is very large with tremendous opportunities, yet it is at a very nascent stage. We need to first understand the needs and wants of this sector and then begin with addressing the needs first; it will itself graduate towards the wants”.

The UN has declared 2020-2030 as the Decade of Healthy Ageing. In the Indian context, the government has launched various schemes for the elderly; however, there is still a huge scope for improvement through public and private participation in the sector. Outlook Retirement

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