Sun, Dec 19, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Aging society will create a demand for special homes

GRAYING TAIWAN:In 20 years, 24 percent of Taiwan’s population will be over 65, with 4 million people needing special facilities, creating a market worth US$100 billion

Staff Writer, with CNA

The nation’s rapid advancement toward becoming an aging society will create a huge demand not just for medical care, but also for safe home environments for the elderly, a real-estate agency said.

“The concept of creating an elderly friendly residential environment is still in its infancy in Taiwan,” Evertrust Rehouse spokesman Bright Lee (李建興) said.

However, as the society ages, public awareness of this issue will rise and home facilities for the elderly, from bathroom to balcony, will be seen as essential, Lee said.

“As a result, the market demand for such facilities is likely to grow very fast,” he added.

The over-65 population in Taiwan is more than 2.3 million, or nearly 11 percent of the total population, according to figures for this year compiled by the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD).

In 20 years, the number of people in that age group will surge to 5.73 million, or 24 percent of the country’s population of 23 million, the CEPD has forecast.

Lee said the steep rise in the number of elderly people in the country, coupled with the disabled population, which now stands at 1 million, would drive demand for facilities creating a more convenient home environment for that demographic.

A recent survey conducted by the real estate agency found that 60 percent of people would prefer to live at home on their own when they grow old, while 15.33 percent would choose a nursing home or an assisted living complex.

That would translate into a market of 4 million people requiring special residential facilities in 20 years, the agency forecast.

The value of this market would amount to NT$3 trillion (US$100.3 billion) if each household spends NT$850,000 on renovations, Lee estimated.

The NT$850,000 figure was drawn from a recent experimental project by the Taipei City Government to convert a small apartment into a home for the elderly or disabled. The city government plans to soon expand the project to 50 apartments in public housing complexes, at a cost of NT$50 million.

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