Whats in this section?

Whats in this section?

What is Housing with Care?

Housing with care combines independent living, a home with the security of tenure, alongside care services arranged according to need.

Housing with care services are varied and diverse; however, most people are familiar with the traditional sheltered housing model. The concept incorporates sheltered housing and modern developments to cater to people’s needs and individual wishes.

Housing associations, local authorities, voluntary organisations and private companies can all run these types of housing schemes. Properties may be available for rent, mixed tenure or purchase.

There are no absolute definitions of housing with care; due to the varied nature of the schemes available, terms you may come across include:

  • Sheltered housing
  • Retirement village
  • Assisted living facility
  • Supported living facility
  • Extra care housing
  • Close care housing

Sheltered and Retirement housing

Sheltered housing or retirement housing is for people who want to remain independent but prefer the security and reassurance of a scheme manager and alarm call service. The local authority housing departments and housing associations can provide this type of housing.

Sheltered housing will usually have features designed to make it easier for you to live independently, such as lifts, door entry systems, ramps for wheelchairs and grab rails, as well as alarm systems so you can call for help in an emergency.

Retirement housing has additional benefits, including organised activities. A scheme manager is either based at the site or visits regularly. Most sheltered housing schemes also have communal lounges and laundry facilities.

Find details of sheltered housing schemes near you via your local council.

Applying for council-owned retirement housing

To apply for Council-owned retirement housing, you will typically have to join that council’s housing register.
The waiting list for social housing can take from a few months to a few years, depending on your circumstances.

To get on the housing register for retirement housing, you would have to meet specific criteria; they vary depending on the council, but most include:

  • Being over 55
  • Income or assets below a certain level
  • If you have lived in that area for a few years
  • Most councils won’t consider you for retirement housing if they don’t think you need it, or if you require support beyond that typically offered through those facilities
  • Some councils only consider those who don’t own their own home

Extra Care housing

Extra Care Housing are specialist facilities designed for older people, combining self-contained accommodation and communal facilities with care and support services.

This type of care offers higher levels of support than sheltered housing, resulting in it being a popular alternative to care homes.

Facilities and care provided varies by the scheme but usually include:

  • Self-contained adapted flats or bungalows
  • Communal facilities like a lounge area, dining area and garden
  • On-site care and support staff, available 24 hours a day
  • Emergency alarms 

Properties can be rented, owned or part-owned/part-rented.

Find an extra care housing scheme near you.

Supported living

Supported living describes situations in which people (often younger adults with special needs such as a learning disability or mental health condition) rent their home, and their personal care or support is arranged separately.

The way in which supported living works means those getting that type of support can change their help without having to move home. Alternatively, they can move home and continue the same support in their new location. In addition, people have the security of tenure and can claim a wide range of welfare benefits.

Supported living can be delivered in various settings, including individual flats or homes, self-contained flats on the same site, shared accommodation, and extra care housing. In addition, the individual, a private landlord, a housing association, a local authority or a charity may own the property.

Supported living refers to the way in which accommodation and support are organised instead of the amount of support. Support will be tailored to individual needs and can include access to support 24 hours a day if assessed as necessary.

Search Supported Living schemes.

The costs

Retirement housing has the same type of costs that come with any other property, including rent, mortgage and bills, as well as any additional services you may be taking up.

If you are renting, you’ll typically have to pay the following:

  • Rent
  • Maintenance costs and building repairs
  • Service charges on things like alarms, entry phone systems
  • Any provided meals

If you are buying, you’ll usually purchase leasehold; this means paying the lease and then annual ground rent to the landlord.

You will then typically be responsible for internal maintenance, with the landlord responsible for the buildings shared parts and structure.

You will still have to pay for maintenance and repairs, even if the landlord is responsible for them, as well as a contingency fund for more minor repairs. In either case, you’ll have still had to pay for utility bills.

For more information on specific care costs, see our page on paying for care.

Things to consider

Ask questions when considering any type of housing with care, you may want to consider these:

  • Is there a scheme manager?
  • How is the scheme run?
  • Is there an emergency alarm system?
  • What facilities are available?
  • Does the building have the accessibility adaptations you need (e.g. ramps, grab handles etc)
  • How large are the rooms, could you live there comfortably?
  • Are staff trained to support with any conditions you may have?
  • What are the average costs of bills and service charges?

What next?

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