Senior Living Real Estate Developments in Asia

Posted by RR

The trend of high-end retirement living in Asia is increasingly gaining momentum, with developments like Shen Yuan Garden leading the way. These communities are designed to offer more than just comfortable living spaces; they provide a holistic environment tailored to the needs and preferences of the senior demographic. In these developments, luxury is paired with functionality, ensuring that residents have access to everything they need for a fulfilling and active lifestyle.

Understanding the Demographic and Cultural Shifts in Asian Senior Living

As Asia's population ages, the demand for senior living real estate is undergoing significant changes. These developments are not only about providing high-quality housing options for the elderly but also about creating communities that reflect the cultural and social dynamics of the region. In places like Songjiang New City's Shen Yuan Garden, there is a clear emphasis on blending traditional values with modern amenities, thereby catering to the evolving preferences of Asia's elderly population.

Market Trends and Expansion in Asian Senior Living

Luxury retirement villages have become a familiar concept in certain parts of the Asia Pacific, particularly in Australia. For instance, The Brougham, one of Australia's latest high-end retirement communities, offers exclusive amenities like rooftop dining and chauffeured services. This trend is not confined to Australia alone; in New Zealand, over 5 percent of the population aged above 65 resides in such upscale retirement villages.

The rest of Asia is poised to witness a surge in these opulent retirement living options. This trend is driven by the affluent Asian baby boomers who are planning for an active and luxurious retirement phase. In response to this, developments are being equipped with a range of amenities to support an engaging community life, including the integration of portable PA systems for outdoor events, classes, and gatherings, ensuring that every resident can enjoy a vibrant, connected lifestyle irrespective of their mobility or hearing capabilities. Noeleen Goh, a JLL director specializing in Capital Markets and senior living, highlights China as a particularly noteworthy market. This interest is fueled by the geographical distance between parents and children and the rise of an upper-middle-class segment capable of affording these upscale facilities.

In recent studies focusing on Chinese high net worth individuals (HNWIs), there has been a significant shift in their post-retirement preferences. Approximately 28 percent of these individuals now favor medium- to high-end elderly care homes, marking an 87 percent increase from 2015. This change underscores a growing acceptance of retirement villages among Chinese baby boomers.

New Entrants and Collaborations in the Retirement Village Market

The market for luxury retirement living is also attracting new players. A prime example is Singapore’s Banyan Tree Holdings, a luxury resort group renowned for its expertise in luxury and wellness. Earlier this year, the company announced a strategic partnership with Chinese real estate giant Vanke. This collaboration aims to develop projects centered on senior living and active ageing, tapping into Banyan Tree’s luxury and wellness prowess.

This evolution in the retirement living sector indicates a significant shift in the lifestyle preferences of the elderly, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. As the concept of luxury retirement living gains traction, it is reshaping the expectations and offerings in the senior living market.

The Emergence of Premium Retirement Villages in Asia

Bali: A Tropical Retirement Haven

The concept of retirement villages in a tropical setting is increasingly appealing, particularly in Southeast Asia. Bali, known for its picturesque landscapes and serene atmosphere, has become a prime location for such developments. In January 2017, Bali welcomed its first dedicated retirement community, The Bali Retirement Villages, located in Tegallinggah near Lovina in the North of Bali. This development signals a growing interest in creating serene, paradise-like retirement options for seniors.

Malaysia and Thailand: New Frontiers in Luxury Retirement Living

Malaysia and Thailand are also emerging as attractive destinations for Asian retirees, with a focus on premium retirement villages. Malaysia, for instance, is introducing the GreenAcres development in Ipoh. Known for its natural beauty, fresh air, and exquisite cuisine, Ipoh's GreenAcres is poised to be the first retirement village development in Peninsular Malaysia. The project, aiming to complete its first phase of 26 villa units within the year, exemplifies the country's commitment to high-quality retirement living.

Thailand, with its popular resort destinations like Phuket, Koh Samui, and Chiang Mai, is not far behind. These locations are becoming hotspots for upscale retirement homes and facilities. To meet the growing demand and competition, developers are enhancing their facilities and intensifying their marketing efforts. For example, the Thai property firm Sunplay Bangsaray introduced The Heights in Bangsaray, branding it as the country's first upmarket active aging residence. This development, situated near golf courses, a yacht club, and medical facilities, offers amenities such as jogging and bike trails. Additionally, Phuket’s MontAzure development along Kamala Beach is another example, boasting a luxurious retirement and assisted-living village that is harmoniously integrated with a beach club and nature reserves.

These developments across Southeast Asia indicate a significant shift in retirement living, focusing on luxury, comfort, and a connection with nature. As the competition intensifies, these regions are set to redefine retirement experiences, offering a blend of tranquility, luxury, and active lifestyle choices for retirees.

The Rise of High-End Retirement Living in Songjiang New City

Nestled on the outskirts of Shanghai, Songjiang New City is home to Shen Yuan Garden, a high-rise residential development that epitomizes luxury living for the elderly. This prestigious retirement village, developed by a subsidiary of Taikang Life Insurance Company and crafted by the renowned design firm John Portman & Associates, caters to the affluent and middle-class elderly Chinese demographic. Set amidst a picturesque landscape, Shen Yuan Garden boasts an array of resort-style water features and offers convenient access to public amenities including restaurants, shops, sports facilities, and entertainment venues.

Cultural Influences and Adaptation Strategies in Asian Senior Living

Balancing Tradition and Modern Retirement Options

In many affluent Asian communities, the concept of moving into a retirement village, even a high-end one, is still gaining acceptance. A significant number of older individuals prefer the traditional approach of staying at home with family members. This preference is partly influenced by cultural norms and the practicality of hiring domestic helpers, which remains a cost-effective option in many parts of Asia. The hesitation to embrace retirement villages can sometimes stem from feelings of embarrassment or the desire to maintain close family ties in one's later years.

Case Studies and Stigmas

The response to premium retirement housing developments in Asia offers insight into these cultural attitudes. For instance, Tanner Hill in Hong Kong, despite its December 2015 launch with a range of amenities including a gym, mini-theatre, daycare, rehabilitation centres, and medical clinics, saw a lukewarm response, with only 78 of its 588 apartments occupied. This underscores the challenges in shifting perceptions towards retirement living in certain Asian markets.

Moreover, there's a prevailing stigma associated with retirement homes in some Asian countries, primarily due to the poor quality of many existing facilities. This negative perception discourages seniors from considering these options, preferring more traditional living arrangements instead.

Adapting Retirement Villages to Asian Preferences

To enhance the appeal of retirement villages in Asia, developers need to consider cultural nuances and preferences. For example, designing spaces that accommodate extended family visits can be a significant draw for Asian retirees, who often maintain strong family bonds.

Additionally, these facilities must be equipped to cater to a range of medical and age-related needs. As seniors age, their health and abilities can change drastically, necessitating different levels of care and services, from housekeeping and meal preparation to more intensive nursing care.

The Future of Senior Living in Asia

The success of retirement villages in Asia, such as the exemplary Meyer Blue show flat in Singapore, hinges on attention to detail and an understanding that requirements will vary from country to country. This particular development exemplifies how luxury retirement villages must tailor their offerings to meet the specific demands and cultural preferences of their target demographics. By observing developments like Meyer Blue, it becomes evident that each country in Asia presents unique opportunities and challenges in the realm of high-end senior living.


In conclusion, the development of senior living facilities in Asia presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Understanding and respecting cultural preferences, while providing flexible and high-quality services, will be crucial for the success of luxury retirement villages in this diverse and rapidly evolving market.

Must Reads
AsiaXPAT Features and Offers in your inbox