New Town home for the elderly

Source: Telegraph

A habitat that offers 147 independent units with nursing staff, medical attendants and a host of activity options is coming up for the elderly in New Town’s Action Area I, a stone’s throw from Central Mall.

The assisted living home is being built by the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (Hidco) as part of its corporate social responsibility programme on a plot opposite Swapna Bhor Senior Citizens’ Park.

This is the first time an agency of the Bengal government is involved in building a home for the aged.

The centre, named Snehodiya by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, will be the first of its kind in New Town.

The 11-storeyed building, which is likely to be unveiled early next year, will have single and double-occupancy air-conditioned serviced units and will accommodate 204 people.

“There will be 57 double-occupancy rooms and 90 single-occupancy ones. People aged 55 or above can stay in Snehodiya,” a Hidco official said.

A doctor and attendants will be available 24×7. The centre will have arrangements with hospitals.

The first eight floors will have standard single and double-occupancy rooms and the ninth and the 10th floors will have what Hidco calls premium units. There will be 14 premium units.

The security deposit for a double-occupancy room (415sq ft) is Rs 45 lakh. For a single-occupancy room (205 sq ft), the security deposit is Rs 25 lakh. The monthly rent and maintenance fee will be Rs 16,000. The security deposit for a premium unit will be Rs 50 lakh.

“Seventy-five per cent of the security deposit is refundable. It will be repaid to the occupant when he or she moves out or to the legal heir in case of death,” the official said.

The balcony of each room will have a garden and every floor will have a lounge. “Each room has been designed in a way that it is safe for elderly persons,” the official said.

All furniture in the rooms will have round edges to minimise the risk of injuries. The bathrooms will have anti-skid flooring and handles and bars for support.

A part of the bathroom partition will be of toughened glass and the rest will be curtain. “If a person falls or does not respond, attendants can easily enter the bathroom to rescue him or her,” the official said. All rooms will have emergency call switches and intercom connections.

Each room will have a microwave oven, a 60-litre refrigerator and a wall-mounted 32inch TV set. Food will come from the central kitchen. Besides, each floor will have a pantry and a dining area.

All residents will be members of the Swapno Bhor Senior Citizens’ Park, which has a library, a yoga centre and a gymnasium.

Hidco is also building a guest house for the children and relatives of the residents.

According to the 2011 census, the elderly people (aged 60 or above) comprise around 8.5 per cent of Bengal’s population. Studies have shown that the number of people aged 60 or more is growing at 3.5 per cent every year because of increasing life expectancy.

The demand for assisted living centres for the aged is high in Calcutta because the city’s young people tend to migrate to other parts of the country and abroad for jobs, leaving behind their ageing parents.

“Most young people move out of the city or the country for professional reasons and cannot return…. Snehodiya will give a chance to people of same age groups to stay together,” said Debashis Sen, the chairman-cum-managing director of Hidco.


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