2.4mn Seniors Will Be Living Alone in Mumbai Region by 2031: Report
Moneylife Digital Team 12 April 2023
By 2031, there will be 2.4mn (million) senior citizens living independently in Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR). According to a research report, these seniors believe they need to be prepared financially, physically and emotionally to take care of themselves.
In the report, "Expectations of Post Retirement Life", consumer knowledge firm Ormax Compass says senior citizens in MMR are prepared to live alone in a nuclear environment. Many respondents expressed their belief that they would probably be the last generation to provide care for their ageing parents and did not expect their children to take care of them during their old age. They believe they need to be prepared financially, physically and emotionally to care for themselves. They are very pragmatic about this and do not wish to be a burden on their children or family, the report says.
According to Priya Lobo, chief executive officer (CEO) of Ormax Compass, analysing the mindset of senior citizens in MMR could benefit in creating a congenial living environment. "We observed a shift in senior citizens' thinking and by the next decade, it may become a norm for elders to live on their own. Besides real estate, the Ormax Compass analysis should be beneficial for designing financial programs related to insurance and even planning corporate benefits for retiring employees."
As per the 2011 census, 52% of households in India lived in a nuclear family setup. Incidentally, metro cities in the country had a higher incidence, at 54%, of living in a nuclear setup. A report in a leading business publication, quoting Bureau of Immigration data, points out that between 2017 and 2022, around 38mn Indians or almost 8mn every year, left the country to seek residency abroad. With the emerging trend of younger people travelling to different locations for work, leaving their elderly behind, the report says this phenomenon is only expected to increase further.
According to the report, seniors firmly believe they must be prepared to live independently and be responsible for their own well-being. "They have a pragmatic approach to this reality and are actively preparing to manage themselves financially, emotionally and physically. They have seen their own parents struggle and have experienced the stress of managing them. They do not wish to go through the same experience. They do not wish to be a burden on anyone nor do they want to be a burden on their children."
With an estimated population of 125mn, Maharashtra has an elderly population share of 11.7%, which is higher than the national average of 10%. It is projected to increase further to reach a 15% share by 2031. 
The Indian 60-plus population is increasing faster at 3.8% pa as against 2% pa previously. This is based on the 2011 census where the senior citizen number was estimated at 103mn, accounting for 8.6% of the Indian population. By 2021, the number has increased to 139mn, accounting for 10% of the total population. Life expectancy at birth in India was 69 years in 2014, expected to be 71 years in 2030 and projected to increase to 75 years by 2050.
Here are Some Crucial Cues from the Report
Medical Facilities: 100% of senior citizens surveyed believe that easily accessible and reliable medical facilities are crucial. In the wake of the pandemic and the stress around emergency facilities, respondents believe that residential facilities in close proximity to hospitals and other emergency facilities are needed. 
Track Record: 90% of senior citizens surveyed expect realtors to have a proven track record when developing realty projects. Observing a similar property and first-hand experiences are reassuring and likely to enable a positive decision. 
Community Living: 80% of respondents felt staying in a like-minded community is key, away from the hustle and bustle of city life but yet connected to Mumbai is what matters to them when it comes to planning for a retirement abode. 
"Respondents averred that a good living abode would help meet the best years of their lives ahead in a peaceful manner," the report says adding, "While there were several expectations, the respondents also cited concerns such as the inability to find good, reliable domestic help for doing mundane chores or unseen disruptions to an otherwise peaceful and relaxing life." 
"With rising income levels and relatively good health, a growing number of Indian senior citizens are now economically independent and willing to actively seek and choose to pay for facilities and services to fulfil their needs. Retired living communities will play an increasingly integral role in addressing these growing Active Ageing needs," the report from Ormax Compass concludes.
Earlier in March 2019, in line with his assurance at Moneylife Foundation's 9th Anniversary programme, Hardeep Singh Puri, the then Union minister of state for housing and urban affairs (independent charge), released 'Model Guidelines for Development and Regulation of Retirement Homes'.
"The model guideline envisages promoting quality of life for the elderly people of the country and ensures protection of their rights. I am sure that implementing this guideline by all the stakeholders will address core issues of the seniormost section of the society," Mr Puri had said while releasing the model guidelines for retirement homes. 
A report from Moneylife Foundation prepared for HDFC had highlighted the need to cater to the regulation of retirement homes in India. The study focuses on the experiences of residents of retirement homes in the cities of Coimbatore, Pune and Bengaluru that lead the development of retirement homes in their States. 
A key finding of the Moneylife Foundation study was that "close to 65% of the respondents who were interviewed had not signed a contractual agreement that defines the terms of service, close to 90% of them had not anticipated any increases in maintenance charges over time and over 70% said that there was no residents council that would give them some say in the running of the homes." (Read: Moneylife Impact: Model Guidelines for Retirement Homes Announced by Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs
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