AN ELDERLY couple recently moved from the US to stay at the Villa Meesuk Residences in Chiang Mai, a project designed for the aged, after seeing that it met the requirements of their daily lives.
Security, safety features, round-the-clock services, harmless raw materials and purpose-built interiors of the project convinced Sampop Punthuna, 76, and his wife to take up a 48-square-metre condominium unit at the residences in May this year. The monthly rent of Bt40,000 comes with three meals a day.
“We are happy with the accommodation, especially the emergency button and the handrails in the bathroom. There is another emergency button in the bedroom and a medical clinic is located in close proximity,” he said.
Villa Meesuk Residences is a part of Meesuk Society, offering residential units and the Baan Meesuk Nursing Home for the elderly.
Thongpun Pakasem, 90, a resident at the nursing home, said that facilities at the premises allows her to take part in daily activities, such as chatting with her friends or relaxing in the green area.
“We cater to the needs of the elderly,” said Meesuk Thailand Co Ltd’s director Sasiwimol Singhanetr in an interview with The Nation. “There is a abundant space for family visits and our on-site clinic has a direct link with a nearby hospital in case of an emergency.”
All 28 units in the condominium have been taken up through sales and rental, and the nursing home provides 24-hour care for ageing people with congenital diseases, she added.
Meesuk Society plans to expand with the construction of 14 single-detached houses, priced at Bt4 million a unit.
“Residential demand for the elderly is growing as the country moves towards an ageing society. However, a thorough understanding of their requirements and daily necessities is needed in planning a project for the elderly,” Sasiwimol said.
“A few property companies have sought counsel from us on services and design. The
number of residential units meant for the elderly will soon be rising,” she added
A study by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) shows that Thailand has been moving towards an ageing society since 2005 with a growing demographic of citizens aged 60 or above. It has now risen to 11.23 million, or 17.13 per cent of the population.
“Thailand will become a full-fledged ageing society in 2021 with senior citizens making up 20 per cent or 13.1 million of the population,” the report said.
Among them, those aged 70-79 and above 80, will account for 37.2 per cent and 19.1 per cent respectively, amounting to 56.3 per cent of the aged population.
According to health reports, the number of seniors needing assistance for their daily activities, such as moving around the house, eating and bathing, rose to 20.7 per cent in 2014 from 15.5 per cent in 2009. Those totally dependent on help made up 1.3 per cent of the total.
LPN Development Plc, in collaboration with the Thai Red Cross Society, is developing a condominium project “Sawangkanives” for the elderly at Bang Pu district, Samut Prakan province.
Facilities planned for the project include a library, a communal living room, a game room, a swimming pool, a green park and a fitness centre.
Interiors of the residential units will be built with hygienic raw materials, and the bathroom will have handrails and anti-slip tiles.
“This project is tailor-made for the elderly,” said Opas Sripayak, the company's chief executive officer and managing director.
Meanwhile, SC Assets has developed its first residential project, designed for all generations of a family, under the Grand Bangkok Boulevard brand.
Grand Bangkok Boulevard Srinakarin, designed under the concept of eldercare solution, will feature a ramp built for moving a wheelchair between a parked car and the 90-centimetre-wide entrance to the bedroom on the ground floor, said chief executive officer Nuttaphong Kunakornwong.
Shock-absorption materials are used as floor-coverings, and to avoid accident, the bathroom will be slip-proof with no step, the company said.
AP (Thailand) Plc plans to develop a condominium for seniors in 2020, with support in design and technology from its Japanese partner Mitsubishi Estate Group after a visit to its construction sites in Tokyo last month, said Vittakarn Chandavimol, the company's chief of corporate strategy and creation department.
“Ease of movement is the priority in designing a residential unit for the elderly. For example, there should be no tub in the bathroom as it is safer and easier for them to have a shower instead, and there should be no step throughout the unit,” he said.
“Also, an area for family activities is needed. Even though a senior may not be able to participate, they will surely be happy to be present.”