Keep to spirit of retirement housing

SINGAPORE - Retirement villages are, by definition, housing options for older people that offer a combination of independence, security and elder-friendly amenities, together with opportunities for social interaction and leading an active lifestyle.

So does The Hillford ("All 281 units of retirement resort sold out within hours"; last Saturday) qualify as a retirement village by virtue of its 60-year lease and elder-friendly services?

Not if there is no age restriction on buyers.

From the responses of some buyers, it appears the project is just another affordable housing option, whether for living in or for investment. Hence, the term "retirement resort" is a misnomer.

In keeping with the true spirit of a retirement village, the Urban Redevelopment Authority should set more stringent conditions for future projects marketed as retirement housing. As a basic requirement, buyers should be retirees, and the units have to be for their own accommodation. They can will the units to their children, who can then sell or lease them only to retirees.

This will ensure that the units remain affordable to retirees and the objectives of a retirement village are met.

Such homes should not be seen as an investment option; there are already countless ways for people to invest their money.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

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