By SOMLUCK SRIMALEE
Wichit Unnatarawarankul, who also stays in Sawangkanives, Thailand’s first condominium project for retired people, said he had a family but he decided to stay here because it is equipped with the facilities elderly people need and also has staff who know how to take care of senior citizens.
“This is convenient for us and also for my family members because my son can go to work without worrying about me living alone,” he said.
Construction of the Sawangkanives project was started in 1997 by the Thai Red Cross Society.
Senior members pay Bt850,000 for the right to stay in the project, and then pay a membership fee of Bt2,500 per month excluding electricity and water costs.
Now, private property firms are interested in developing housing projects for seniors as Thailand becomes an ageing society. According to research by the National Statistical Office of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, by 2030 about 15.7 per cent of Thailand’s population will be over 65 years of age, and will be classified as an ageing society as defined by the United Nations.
Already, 10.5 per cent of the population is over 60, according to National Statistical Office.
Watching this market trend, many property firms are looking into developing homes specifically to seniors, designed to cater to their needs and lifestyles like Sawangkanives.
“We are joining with SCG Eldercare Solution to design our residential projects to serve the lifestyles of seniors, such as including bathrooms that suit their needs, shock-absorbing floors, and other safety systems,” NC Housing managing director Somchao Tanterdtham said.
Sansiri president Srettha Thavisin said his company was also studying such senior-targeted developments, but it would wait for demand from this market segment to get stronger.
Pruksa Real Estate president and chief executive officer Thongma Vijitpongpun said the company was studying home designs that would make it easier for seniors to stay with their families.
LPN Development managing director Opas Sripayak said the company designed most of its condominiums to suit all members of the family including children, working-age people, and the elderly.
He said homes designed for seniors had to include safety features as well as relaxing areas, green areas, and safe ways for them to walk around the project.
“We have the experience from jointly developing the second phase of Sawangkanives with the Thai Red Cross Society in 2002. We learned what they want and have applied [this knowledge] so our new condominium projects serve all family members, especially seniors, since last year,” Opas said.
He added that catering to seniors was not a fad but a must now that Thailand is becoming an ageing society.