New affordable retirement home opens in Hanoi

Actress Phuong Oanh is having the best of both worlds enjoying her married life with businessman Nguyen Hoa Binh while operating her businesses at the same time.

Nguyen Le Ha, 80, had been eagerly looking forward to the day her retirement home opened its new, “resort-like” location, where she can now live more affordably.

In July, Le Ha moved from one of the home’s branches in Cu Khe Town, Thanh Oai District, Hanoi, to the new location at Xuan Mai Town, Chuong My District.

Her family was once well-off, but their wealth gradually disappeared due to her son’s irresponsible spending. Though she has a monthly pension of VND5 million (US$210), it is not enough to cover her monthly expenses.

Ha thus began contemplating renting a room with a university student to save money. When she shared her troubles with Tran Thi Thuy Nga, deputy director of the Dien Hong Retirement Home Center, Nga told Ha that her facility would be opening a new more affordable location soon.

Thuy Nga says that she was racked with guilt when she opened her first center and saw the protracted line of people who wanted to move in but couldn’t afford it. She says she’s lost track of the number of times people have asked her “When will the center open a more affordable home?”

There have also been multiple instances in which people had to leave because they ran out of money.

“While we were racking our brains to solve the problem, a labor export company decided to partner with us to build a new home,” she says.

Aside from the fact that the new location is in the cheaper outskirts of Hanoi, another factor that helped lower the cost is the readily available land that allows them to build the facilities they need.

Currently in phase one of construction, the retirement home opened on June 22 as a row of one-story houses of 36 beds each. Each home contains two double rooms and eight community rooms for four people.

All of the rooms are furnished with beds, mattresses, fans, air conditioners, TVs, fridges, water heaters, and private bathrooms. The grounds include gardens, ponds, a pool, and ball court on a 3-hectare piece of land.

At this new location, the community room costs VND6 million, the double room costs VND8 million, a single room costs VND10 million, a one-day stay is VND200,000, and staying over Tet holiday is VND500,000 a day.

Though she has settled into a life at the retirement home in Yen Nghia Ward, Ha Dong District for three years, Nguyen Thi Thanh, 86, moved without hesitation when she heard that the new location in the outskirts of the city was cheaper.

“The new place isn’t only beautiful, it’s also cheap, so why not?” she reasons. “Living here is less of a burden for my children.”

A survey conducted of 10 mid-ranged retirement homes in Hanoi reveals that their monthly fees lie in the VND8-20 million range, with a community room for 5-8 people being the cheapest.

According to a poll that asked over 6,000 VnExpress readers “How much can your family afford to send a family member into a retirement home?”, 40% answered that they do not have the ability to do so, 38% said they can spend VND8-10 million, 14% replied with VND10-15 million, and 8% replied with over VND15 million per month.

There are nearly 2.7 million people receiving a pension in Vietnam, with the average being VND5.4 million every month.

On the morning of August 8, Nguyen Thi Phi, 75, hired a moving truck to carry all of her clothes and possessions into the newly opened home at Xuan Mai. As soon as she arrived, a smile made its way onto her face, more certain than ever that this was the place for her to spend the rest of her life.

In her first week alone, Le Ha picked starfruits and longans in the garden, went fishing and explored every nook and cranny of the property. When other people began to arrive, she volunteered to be their guide.

“The nurses are inviting me to go to the pool, but I’m just looking forward to the winter, when I can dress up and stroll around the lake. It’s going to feel so nice,” she says.

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