Indian senior community part of growing US niche

When Arun and Usha Pancholi were deciding where to spend their retirement years, they wanted a place that combined culture of India with conveniences they had grown accustomed to in America.

Tavares: When Arun and Usha Pancholi were deciding where to spend their retirement years, they wanted a place that combined the culture and camaraderie of life in India with the comforts and conveniences they had grown accustomed to after nearly five decades in America.

They found both at Florida`s ShantiNiketan, the first retirement community in the United States catering to people born in India. ShantiNiketan Bengali and Hindi for "House of Peace" is one of a number of growing niche retirement communities aimed at people of specific ethnic backgrounds, hobbies or college allegiances.
"It is the best of both worlds," said Arun Pancholi, 72, who retired with his wife from Ohio. "We would like to go back to India but we are so used to this life, we`re spoiled. We like football, beer and apple pie."

Niche retirement communities are growing particularly popular as the some 76 million "baby boomers" reach retirement age. Popular retirement communities in places like Florida, Arizona and California will be competing with smaller, targeted developments, said Dan Owens, director of the National Active Retirement Association.

"They are demanding more choices. They have more money," Owens said.
ShantiNiketan`s opening was timed for the retirement of a major wave of Indian immigrants who came to the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, said Jeffrey Ignatius, president of the company that built the community about 35 miles (56 kilometres) from Walt Disney World.

The idea for the resort was born after Ignatius` father, who emigrated from around Chennai in India, couldn`t find an Indian-themed development for his own retirement. So he built one.

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