Changing nature of seniors demand housing and care models that enable continued independence, adaptability & flexibility
Thailand’s ageing population is growing rapidly. As the number of older people within Thailand is increasing, so too should the ageing sector in the region to cater for it. This was one of the key takeaways from the Ageing Asia 2020: World Ageing Festival Webinar Series talk with Tony Bridge, Managing Director of Bridge Advisory Group in Australia.
With over 20 years of industry experience, Tony Bridge offered insight and his wealth of knowledge into the market opportunities in Thailand from a global perspective. Breaking down the statistics and the cultural knowledge of ageing in Thailand, Tony first introduced some key global trends in Thailand’s ageing market.
The Business of Ageing in Thailand begins with an understanding of the dimension and character of the country’s aging population; followed by a review of the business opportunities that will inevitably flow from rapidly increasing demand.
Breaking down the attitudes and opinions around ageing in Thailand, Tony introduced some of the relevant global trends:
1. Ageing is not a disease
2. Hospitality culture
3. Multi-generational developments
4. Themed developments (lifestyle, care, education, etc)
5. Ongoing community engagement
6. Dementia – a growing reality
Tony explained, ageing is not a sickness. This is a culture that will continue to emerge as people who are considered “ageing” represent a more significant part of the population. As the population ages, so too must the ageing sector adapt to providing for all needs.
The percentage of the ageing population represented in communities is rising rapidly across the globe, but particularly in Asia. Thailand in particular will have almost one third of their population over 60 by 2050, with the ageing population projection growing steadily within Thailand.
In the next 30 years, Thailand’s ageing population of over 60s will increase from 13.5 million to 23.6 million people, growing from 19% to 36% of the total population by 2050. This creates an incredible opportunity, creating a lot of demand in areas that will have to be met. Each year, almost 340,000 people reach the ‘seniors’ cohort each year, with Thailand already having the highest proportion of ageing people among their neighbouring Asean nations, a trend that will continue over the next 30 years.
The Character of Thailand’s Ageing Population
Tony highlighted that not only is it the Thai people who are ageing in Thailand, but that there is an increasing interest in overseas retirees moving to retire in Thailand, making it one of the top most attractive retirement locations. There is also a high percentage of people from overseas who have worked in Thailand, and have opted to stay there in their retirement, taking advantage of the Retirement Visa offered by the Thailand government. This is also due in part to Thailand’s excellent health system, great attractions, low cost of living, and good infrastructure, making it all the more appealing to older people who are still looking to live independently in their retirement.
Broad Spectrum of Opportunities
1. Seniors Living Developments
2. Aged Care Centres
3. Home Care Services
4. Technology – relevant to aged sector
5. Products & Equipment (aged specific)
Business Model – Seniors Living Development: Getting the Right Mix of 3 Critical Components
The key to a successful seniors living development requires the following three key components being combined together in an appropriate way to suit the local market requirements;
- Operational Model
- Support services
- Care services
- Lifestyle amenities
- Accommodation mix
- Planning & design
- Community spaces
- Financial Performance
- Feasibility study
- Development cost
- Value & revenue platform
As Thailand’s rapidly ageing population places more pressure on the ageing sector, major opportunities within the sector present themselves. By modeling the aged care sector in a way that allows continued independence, with the adaptability and flexibility to provide hands on care if and when it is required, the sector will be able to better provide for the changing nature of the ageing population.
We have to have a clearer understanding of what the requirements are of the target markets, or consumers who live in the local catchment area if we have a site that we are looking to develop in this way. It’s very important to have a clear strategic pathway based on sound understanding of what the market opportunities are. This comes from not just looking at the numbers, but applying appropriate experience and know-how and knowledge in looking at what the numbers really mean.