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Real estate firms now cash in on constructing houses meant for the elderly

By James Wanzala | Published Thu, September 6th 2018 at 15:14, Updated September 6th 2018 at 15:26 GMT +3

Real estate developer Superior Homes is putting up high-end homes for the elderly. Dubbed Fadhili Care, the project broke ground in February 2018 and will be a custom-designed assisted-living facility.

The development is located within Super Homes Greenpark Estate at Athi River.

It will comprise 41 one and two-bedroom bungalows designed to accommodate senior citizens with limited mobility, a medical centre, clubhouse with common kitchen and library, gardens, a guard house and security wall.

It targets those aged over 65 who are reasonably mobile, including by wheelchair, and can look after themselves.

“We did research that showed that most senior citizens in the city are mostly forced to relocate to rural areas after retirement. Each house is designed with the occupant’s needs in mind and will provide a safe haven for those with mobility limitations as all facilities will be on a level floor,” said John Adede, the digital media marketer at Superior Homes.

Huge demand

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The houses will have ramps, wider doors to allow for wheelchairs, wider windows for natural light, and medical facilities with services like physiotherapy. They will also have access to housekeeping, cooking, laundry and transport services.

According to Superior Homes Sales and Marketing Manager Nicholus Njogu, there is huge demand for retirement homes that has yet to be exploited.

“There is a market for such homes and we are looking at increasing the number of such houses and to expand to other counties,” he said.

According to official population figures, Kenya had about 1.5 million people aged over 60 by May 2016. This number is expected to reach 2.5 million in the next 10 years.

In Nairobi alone, according to the county government, the number of retirement and assisted living facilities has risen to about 30 from less than 10 a decade ago.

In Karen, Nairobi, there is Tree Lane Foundation, a non-profit organisation started by a deed of trust in 1989. It operates a retirement home.

Located in the plush Rosslyn Estate in Nairobi, Fairseat Retirement Home is a private membership-only home that admits those above 70.

Waiting list

Its occupants, who include foreigners, live in their own cottages spread across the five-acre property.

“Fairseat has between 34 and 44 residents at any one time,” said Ben Allen, the manager at Fairseat Foundation. He said they have been operating since 1990 as a registered charity.

“We are full at present and have a waiting list. To come to Fairseat, you have to be a member.”

Mr Allen agrees that there is a market for retirement homes.

“The market is there but it is growing slowly. It is being driven by the diaspora, urbanisation, an ageing population and wealth. Cultural issues for both Africans and Asians mean slow change in these racial groups but we are getting there,” said Allen.

He added that most new commercial retirement homes are not purpose-built since significant investment is required for a purpose-built facility.

Each cottage at Fairseat has its own sitting room, verandah, bedrooms, kitchens and access to modern utilities like Wi-Fi.

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