Vast opportunity in India’s eldercare sector, say Investors

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New Delhi, Nov 18 (UNI) Top industry officials on Friday termed the eldercare sector, which is undergoing a profound transformation, as a big emerging market with India ready to play a pivotal role by providing a vast space of opportunities to investors. (profound transformation)

“The senior care industry in India holds immense potential, but we acknowledge the challenges it faces, be it regulatory frameworks or infra development. We are dedicated to advocating transformative approaches that prioritise wellbeing and dignity of seniors,” said Adarsh Narahari, Chairman, Association of Senior Living India (ASLI) at the 4th ASLI Ageing Fest in the national capital.

Notably, the United Nations projects that India will become home to one of the world’s largest elderly populations by 2050, with an estimated 319 million individuals aged 60 and above.

This will be accompanied by a transition from a period of joint families, high mortality, high fertility rate, high burden of communicable diseases and relatively low life expectancy, to, a period of nuclear families, low mortality, fewer children, high Non-Communicable Diseases, and relatively high life expectancy.

This poses a major challenge to the institutional readiness in setting up and maintaining support systems for the elderly, with their healthcare and social needs taking center stage.

Morgan Stanley’s Executive Director, Neha Saraf said the eldercare sector is very large with homungous opportunities, yet it is at a very nascent stage.

“We need to first understand the need and want of this sector and then begin with addressing the need first and it will itself graduate towards the want,” Saraf averred.

Lightrock India partner Saleem Asaria felt there is still a need to do lot more in this sector which can excite an investor. “India is phenomenal and has whole space of opportunities. The 500 million investment is not going to even touch the surface. The companies need to articulate their vision. There is a very big opportunity of investing but a lot has to be first done to make that happen,” Asaria said.

Traditionally, Indian families have been characterised by multigenerational households where elderly parents lived with their adult children.

However, urbanization and economic development have led to a shift towards nuclear families – with severe implications for elderly care, as adult children may not always be available to supply the necessary support and care to their aging parents.

Venture Highway, Investor, Priya Mohan feels that building trust is very important in this sector. “The population we are looking at is experienced and mature. They won’t spend money on anything which is frivolous. So we need to work on building that trust first,” she stated.

The second roundtable discussion among the panelists was on the ecosystem of seniors living during which Alternatives India MD Karan Singh Sodhi said he believes very positively about the healthcare sector and feels there are homungous opportunities in the segment.

“We are 310 million senior population. The population will increase. By 2050, one of every 5th Indian is going to Senior. The opportunity is humongous,” Sodi said.

Aloke Bhuniya, CEO of Ascendas-Firstspace, said , ” a year down the road, the investors will be having a better understanding of this sector. “It is an emerging market but what this sector is going to become in next 20-30 years will be completely different,” Bhuniya underlined.

With rising disposable incomes in India, families now have the financial means to invest in senior care services.

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