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Developer pioneers construction of homes for senior citizens

Superior Homes showcases assisted homes living as the elderly demand the State to spearhead building of homes for the aged    

Milliam Murigi @millymur1 and Mathew Ndung’u @PeopleDailyKe

Superior Homes Limited, developers of Greenpark Estate, has pioneered the first local, purpose-built assisted living complex for the eldery.

Dubbed Fadhili
Care
, the housing complex targets senior citizens and is carefully designed to ensure the safety, security and their wellbeing as they slow down to retirement.   

It will provide a safe haven for those with mobility limitations, as all facilities will be on level floor. There will be ramps, wider doors to allow for wheelchairs where needed and wider windows for natural light.

“Everything about Fadhili Care has been designed to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of residents. There will be a one-off monthly payment, which covers everything from maintenance and repairs through to electricity and water charges,” said Nicholus Njogu, Superior Homes Sales and Marketing Manager.

American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) classifies senior housing—residential settings with a minimum age requirement, usually age 55—in five categories: senior apartments, independent living, assisted living, nursing care, and continuing care retirement communities.

Njogu said the current African culture has been the main challenge the elderly face because once they retire, most of them, are forced to go back to their rural villages.

Many of them living in rural villages are neglected by their children. “Even developers have been neglecting the senior citizens because houses in Kenya are not friendly to them and we would urge other developers to consider this as an opportunity,” said Njogu.    

The project is situated within the Greenpark Estate gated community at Athi River along Mombasa Road. It is being built on a five-acre site and comprises 42 individual cottages and a clubhouse all arranged around tranquil green open spaces and water features. “The project will have 22, one-bedroomed and 19 two-bedroomed cottages. We are targeting elders of sound mind who can take care of themselves,” he said.

The club house will have restaurants, a library and medical facilities serving the residents 24 hours a day, with services such as physiotherapy available at the resident’s request.  They will also have housekeeping, cooking, and laundry and transport services. The rooms will also be fitted with special gadgets including panic buttons for their safety.

Currently, show houses are ready and the company is set to launch the project officially next month.  If a homeowner passes on or decides to vacate the house,  the company can resell it and compensate the family.

Meanwhile, elderly people across the country want establishment of special homes for occupancy in their old age where the State will be attending to their needs including food and clothing.

The elders said that they have been abandoned by their children in deplorable conditions once they move to urban centres in search for job opportunities. “We are left to suffer the fate of loneliness, which ends up killing us,” they say.

Speaking during a meeting in Juja  attended by over 500 senior citizens from all counties, the elders challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to order for construction of the houses in every county and caregivers deployed. Such homes, they said, will help them meet, share ideas and weed out loneliness.

The senior citizens say the centre will also provide room for the President himself to visit them where he will occasionally receive their blessings. “The special treatment for women, men and mentally ill persons through specialised medical wards is proof enough that the State has forgotten them,” they said.

The elders also say by assembling them together, the government will ease the process of paying them through the Inua Jamii Initiative.  “We have been silent for far too long, but something should be done, now,” said 96-year-old Martha Mukami.

Joining their quest, Golden Senior Citizens Initiative director Hannah Njoki Gitau said for far too long, the grey-haired have been segregated and that construction of specialised homes for them will ease their last years. “These people also have a right to enjoy life like their children who have been empowered through various funds. Although there is the elderly funds, it does not reach everyone as it is issued on ‘who-knows-who’ basis,” she added.

Consequently, the elders demanded to be included in sharing of the national cake through health, moral, financial and social support by the government.  “President Uhuru who has so far met and awarded exemplary women, youths and disabled persons. We should also be remembered because we are the founders of this nation and we fought hard to make Kenya what it is today,” John Mugambi, a frail old man, asserted.

Njoki said there are plenty of people who are not elderly who are not self-sufficient, just as there are many elderly persons who are self-sufficient. “I do worry that separating the elderly from our communities is almost amounting to dehumanising them,” said Ann Njoki Gitau who has been supporting them and who had organised the meeting.

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