Date: 6 July 2019
In 2004, when Covai Property Centre (India) Private Limited (Covai) embarked on its journey in the field of retirement communities, it was a simple embedded concept – construct dwellings that can house senior citizens with a view to providing them with an active lifestyle and on completion, provide services. Revenue for the Company came from the construction as well as services provided to the seniors.
There was a social value attached to this concept. Revenue generation was dependent upon the real estate developed and dwellings sold, as well as from the various services that Team Covai could provide to the seniors in the community.
In India, serving the elders of a family is considered as a duty. But the societal changes and disappearance of joint families gave way to nuclear families. Children moved away to greener pastures to pursue their career. Parents, who were ageing, desired institutionalized services and care. The people who availed of such services came from the affordable segment, who desired to have the same lifestyle that they were used to. Non-availability of domestic help and other services made them opt for life in a retirement community.
In its journey from Covai to CovaiCare, Team CovaiCare realized that senior living without care was incomplete. With longevity, care components became an important and integral part of senior living. Thus care inclusive living became a necessity.
Team CovaiCare realized that we need to invest not only in human capital who had to remain motivated to serve the elders, but the residents also need to treat the staff, who worked as members of one large family, which also included the elders whom the team serves and cares for. In this endeavor, we did many things, which we would like to share.
- The village/s near any retirement community is adopted by Covai. Starting with livelihood enhancement by training people from the village for various work opportunities in the retirement community, Covai helps villagers lead a dignified life. The staffs hold their heads high as they are respected in the village as “company employees,” who get a good salary, Provident Fund, Employee State Insurance, uniform, the feeling of belonging to the family of CovaiCare. They are treated as family members by the seniors in the community
- It is heartening to note the enthusiasm displayed by the residents when it comes to staff welfare and contributing to the same voluntarily. We are indeed blessed
- Residents of our retirement communities take an active interest in teaching the children and they do this unasked and unsought. Summer Magic is a specially run programme by our residents in Coimbatore for the children, where they assist the students to seek knowledge and look beyond the school syllabus to make them become better humans to face challenges in life
- As part of our commitment to society, Covai has assisted Round Table India (Table 62) in Coimbatore to build a higher secondary school, rebuild a Balwadi and also add additional classrooms, toilet blocks, kitchen, dining facilities in one more Government School
- Covai has also constructed free of cost a Government Ration shop in Ganapathy in Coimbatore city
- We have also contributed to the walker’s pathway at Race Course in Coimbatore City
- Covai has tied up with Amaze Trust to train and provide special children with livelihood opportunities. These opportunities provide the dignity and space for these special needs children, besides livelihood enhancement
Covai Saves Water:
Covai’s policy to Preserve, Conserve, Recycle and Re-use of water was implemented since 2004-05.
- The first sewage treatment plant (STP) had used the recycled water for gardens and landscaped areas were
set up in 2005 in Coimbatore
- Thereafter, every project of Covai had a STP plant including apartment blocks. This is now a standard feature.
Covai has also recycled the treated water from STP for use in toilets for flushing
- Today, we are separating the grey and black water. We soften the grey water and recycle it for flushing and, treat the black water for use in gardens and landscaped areas
- Covai adopts strict water management especially during the lean months so that our retirement communities conserve water
- Rainwater harvesting (RWH) forms an important aspect of recharging groundwater and aquafers. Rooftop water is channelized to the storm water drains which have PVC casing pipes with perforated holes every 15 metres. The overflow of water at the tail-end is passed through a filter to recharge the bore well/collect water for re-use
- Covai uses taps which restrict the flow of water. Our residents are encouraged to have a bath by using buckets instead of showers.
- In Villa projects, Covai installs water metre for every house, which in turn imposes self-discipline in water usage
- Separate water pipelines exist for drinking water, common-use and recycled water
- In the dining room, we serve only half glass water per head but keep a jug of water on each table for refills
Recycle for Life Cycle:
- Covai communities practice waste segregation at source
- While the bio-degradable waste is composted for use in gardens, the non-degradable waste is further segregated and given away to authorized vendors who recycle waste
- In multi-storeyed apartments, separate chutes are provided for degradable and non-degradable waste
Think Smart, Think Green:
- Covai communities are green in every which way
- The retirement community that we created in 2004-05 has been certified as platinum by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) in 2018. It shows Team Covai’s foresight in designing buildings and concern for its residents to breathe fresh air, enjoy natural light and live in green surroundings, which enhances life
- Covai communities are plastic-free zones
Covai’s water conservation, waste management and design of buildings to meet the parameters laid down by IGBC are a testimony to its commitment for the future generations. In one of our current projects in Coimbatore that is pre-certified for Platinum by IGBC, solar power will be used extensively to save power and cost to our residents.
Adoption of Technology
Senior Citizens prefer to spend their autumn years in a comfortable environment, cherishing their nostalgic memories, without worries about the daily chores, health, safety and other routine matters. Retirement Communities serve to meet such expectations.
These objectives of a retirement community can be well supported by technology and software. It simplifies the communication process, offers complete transparency with real-time reporting of tasks assigned and charges levied.
Over a period of time Covai on its march to CovaiCare, has adopted technology for better services and care for the elderly. Some of these are:
- Medical Centre – Monitoring residents’ health
- Centralised storing and updating of medical data of all residents in different projects in different cities at Covai’s PolyCare in Coimbatore
- Telemedicine – All retirement communities of CovaiCare are connected to Covai’s PolyCare in Coimbatore through Telemedicine known as 2CT. This innovative adoption of available technology facilitates any patient in and of CovaiCare Retirement Communities to seek an appointment of the Doctor from Covai’s PolyCare in Coimbatore and has the consultation through Television. Thus patients need not waste time going to any clinic or wait endlessly for the Doctor. And this Rs 150 only!
- CovaiSmart – A very special service app only for the residents of all CovaiCare Retirement Communities as well as Care Centres
- Use of Health Monitoring Devices to monitor various parameters of the residents
- Emergency alert through specially designed SOS watches and CovaiSmart App
- Development of aides for use by elders in collaboration with a MNC
- Dedicated research team to look at developing technologies for elder care and adoption thereof
Change is the only constant factor. In keeping with the Vision of CovaiCare – “SOLVE AGEING,” Team CovaiCare fulfils its commitments to the seniors who live in the senior care communities and in so doing also invests in social values with the support of the senior citizens whom it cares for. Technology forms an integral part of the care provided by CovaiCare.
Colonel Achal Sridharan, VSM