Ages ago when I was a really young woman, I met a lady from the Zonta Club who throughout the nite waxed lyrical about good friends of the same vintage living together in the same estate so as to give one another company and encouragement in their old age.
I couldn’t think of a more horrible idea but because she was a senior executive in the organisation where I was a mere junior, I kept my thoughts to myself.
Over the years, this idea about silver community lodging has waxed and waned. I believe Daniel Teo, a well-known Singapore developer, has toyed with the idea on and off but hasn’t proceeded.
Ditto a friend of mine who is a small-time developer. Unlike that Zonta lady, I’ve been able to tell him to his face that I can’t think of a more horrible idea: old people living together in a community, all waiting for the lights to go out!
In fact, when this friend introduced one such developer from the United States — coming out to Asia to scout for locations to site a pilot project or two — to our regular monthly lunch group, he made sure I sat at a different table from the American entrepreneur at the meal to stop him from hearing me spout spoil spot views.
I thought about retirement villages and such like again today after reading Blur Ting’s latest post which inter alia said: “My friends and I have already made a pact. When the time comes, we shall check ourselves into a silver home – like a condominium with pool, medical facilities, restaurants, cafes, shops and spa for the aged – so that we can spend our final days in the company of good friends.”
I’ve no quarrels with the economic sense of congregating folk who need dining facilities, home help, medical support and all the other stuff laid out by BT.
What I don’t see is why any or all of these things shouldn’t be opened to people of all ages, rather than just the grey and frail. Because they are also facilities and services sought by those who want a comfortable life, and this is desired by all, young and old.
What I would like to see is this: integrated serviced apartment living but with ownership rights.
I want dedicated cleaning services without the hassle of live-in domestic helpers. I want laundry service on the door-step yet with enough laundry space within my living quarters for small washes.
I can live with a kitchenette provided the development offers central kitchen space for rent by the hour for those times when I want to cook or bake up a storm. This will save me from investing in expensive equipment that isn’t used regularly enough to justify the expenditure and also takes away the pain of cleaning and clearing once the Nigella Lawson spirit leaves me.
I want dining and supermarket facilities within the complex for those times I want to eat out or eat in without splurging.
In short, I want all the things that take the drudgery and hard work out of the chores of life and free me to do the things that make life worth living.
Why should such a package be deferred till we are winding down from life? Why can’t we have it all and have it now?
You hear me Capitaland, Goucoland, City Developments?