A retirement community may seem like a bed of roses with assisted living facilities, peers of a similar age group, and round the clock healthcare. However, the story is not free of plot holes. Several seniors speak about how difficult it was to transition from their homes to retirement communities, and how daunting and scary it can be for seniors who have lived with their families up to that point.

There have also been many reports and coverage that discuss why a retirement community (despite its apparent advantages) may not work for a senior. These are the top 5 reasons:

1. Overpromising

Several retirement homes woo their older residents by offering tall claims as to the serviceability and quality of living. They often overpromise and under-deliver, with little consideration to the fact that these seniors have given up staying at their own homes, reaping the comfort and safety of a neighbourhood and community that they are familiar with. When things go south, the retirement community will absolve itself of neglect and leave the elderly without a plan B.

2. Premium payments

Despite sudden surges in premiums and backlashes from the residents, retirement communities continue to charge hefty rates loaded with hidden costs. The fee structures also vary significantly based on the age and health of the residents regardless of the contract and its clauses. Additionally, entry into most communities is contingent on purchasing real estate, leaving new homeowners to wonder if there will be a resale value for the space in the future.

3. Regulatory concerns

The good reputation of the establishment may only be one side of the coin, but the flipside may indicate a host of perplexing legal regulations. Many communities have been suddenly shut down because of malpractice and illegal construction. This leaves the senior community stranded because of tight lock-in periods without refund or amicable settlement clauses in the agreement.

4. Melancholic environment

Statistics show the negative effects of being surrounded by illness can have take its toll on seniors. When forced to live in the midst of only other elders, the benefits of round-the-clock care hardly seem significant. Homes, on the other hand, are nurturing and familiar environments for seniors, who are well-acquainted with the neighbourhood. Studies have shown that when seniors are enveloped in an atmosphere of positivity and happiness, their cognitive functions are stronger and they feel loved. Thus, aging in place with some support may be the perfect solution for senior living.

5. Emergency assistance

While India’s healthcare policy is improving by leaps and bounds every year, there are still several gaps in the intensity and urgency of medical service delivery, especially in the geriatric field. Many retirement homes do not have doctors on their campuses, and routine check-ups and visits to their regular doctor may seem like an uphill task for seniors. Without appropriate medical facilities, retirement homes do not offer a safe space for ageing seniors.

Retirement communities have been dubbed as sanctuaries for seniors to live in with assistance and care, leaving behind the burdens of everyday life. However, from what we’ve seen so far, it seems far from the truth. A protective environment that fosters happiness and positivity is one’s home, and seniors can enable them to live in the comfort of their own space.