Housing options explained for older people

Housing options explained for older people

Author: Christine Farmery

One of the most important factors when considering older people’s futures is where and how they are going to live in later life. From continuing to live in your own home with the support that you need to do so, to residential nursing homes like The Dower House, there are many housing options for older people, each with their own distinctions and suitability to different and individual situations and circumstances.

Whether you are making plans for your own future or looking into possibilities on behalf of a family member or friend, it is useful to be fully informed of the different housing options available for older people.

Home care

If you wish to continue living independently in your own home in later life, there are many ways that this can be successfully achieved and supported with at-home help.

Home care services come in many forms and can be tailored to your individual needs. A good starting point is to ask your local authority for a care needs assessment that will establish what areas you might need support with. The result of the assessment will establish if you are eligible for financial support towards home care services and what kind of help you need. If you are not eligible for funding, they should be able to recommend approved private care agencies.

Home care ranges from a few hours a week to help with daily tasks such as cooking and cleaning to overnight and live-in care.

Sheltered or retirement housing

Sheltered housing, also known as retirement housing, is housing that can be bought or rented by older people, usually those who are at least the age of 55.

Retirement housing is perfect for older people who like living independently but with the support and reassurance of on-site assistance and in a community of people of a similar age.

Retirement houses are designed to be easy to manage with communal areas like gardens and a shared lounge, onsite property support staff, 24-hour emergency help, and social activities for residents.

Meals and care aren’t usually provided but can be arranged through a home care service if needed.

Retirement housing options can range from small developments with a small number of flats or houses to large retirement village complexes with a mixture of housing types plus shops, restaurants, and leisure facilities.

As well as usual household bills, residents of retirement housing must also pay a regular service charge to cover the cost of maintaining communal areas and services.

Supported or assisted living

Assisted living, also known as extra-care housing, is similar to sheltered housing but the key difference is that care is provided.

Extra-care housing can be bought or rented as a self-contained home with staff available to provide support and care services that can be tailored to the resident’s individual needs.

Because it provides care, assisted living housing is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

As well as providing care, assisted living usually also includes communal areas and social activities.

Residential care

Residential care is suitable for older people who need a high level of help and care with day-to-day activities. Residents usually have their own bedroom and bathroom but not their own kitchen because all meals are provided.

Residential care provides support and care to their residents 24 hours a day. Qualified care staff help with daily tasks such as washing, dressing, eating, administering medication, and mobility as well as provide opportunities to engage in social and physical activities.

Depending on the needs of the individual, residential care can take the form of a care home or a nursing home. A care home provides 24-hour support to its residents, and in addition to this, a nursing home always has qualified nursing professionals on-site to provide medical care.

Read more on the difference between a care home and a nursing home

How to choose the right housing option

It is important to do your own research on which housing option is best for you and what homes might be available to you in your local area. Request brochures, speak with the manager or staff of the housing you are interested in, and visit the home to get a feel for it.

Factors to consider when choosing a home include location and proximity to close relatives who can visit, surroundings and outdoor spaces to enjoy, level of care and medical support if needed, friendliness and cleanliness, services and activities, and cost.

Living at The Dower House

The Dower House is a nursing home in the Hampshire countryside just north of Winchester.

All our residents are a much-loved part of The Dower House family along with our nursing staff taking care of our community. The generously proportioned rooms allow for privacy and flexibility to make them your own home, we have beautiful communal areas both inside and outside for everyone to enjoy, and we run a varied activities and events schedule.

Whether you’d like to book a visit to find out more about The Dower House, or you simply need to talk and get some advice about caring for yourself or your loved one, we’re ready to listen and happy to help. Please contact us on 01962 882848.

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