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Housing-with-care (extra care housing) advice guide for older people

Selected guidance on housing-with-care, extra care housing and assisted living, models of retirement housing offering elderly care services to their residents. We will be updating this section periodically.

Note: this guidance is targeted at older people, their friends and family, not at a professional audience (for this, search our Library)

Basic information on housing-with-care, extra care housing, assisted living

Assisted living, extra care housing or housing-with-care are terms used to described various models of retirement housing for older people who can no longer live completely on their own but do not need 24-hour complex medical supervision.

In its most developed form, extra care housing is seen as an alternative to residential care (care home). Extra care housing schemes offer a high level of services and facilities, meals and personal care services.

Services available

Different models of housing-with-care (assisted living, extra care, very sheltered housing, etc) offer different packages of domestic and personal care services which may include practical help and support, domestic assistance, personal care, nursing care and emergency help.

  • Practical help and support - most developments employ management staff whose role includes offering information, guidance and day-to-day support to residents.
  • Domestic assistance such as help with housework and shopping is commonly available, sometimes as part of the standard package of services, sometimes as an add-on charged for separately. Personal laundry services are sometimes available, and in developments with a restaurant, a home meals delivery services might be offered.
  • Personal Care includes assistance with dressing, feeding, washing and toileting, as well as advice, encouragement and emotional and psychological support. Many developments have care staff on site, sometimes 24/7. In others, on-site management staff will arrange or facilitate care when required. Chiropody and physiotherapy services are also common.
  • Nursing Care includes tasks normally carried out or supervised by a qualified nurse, such as administering medication and dressing wounds. Few housing developments have their own nursing staff, though some are built alongside a nursing home from which nursing care can be provided either in your own home, or through daily visits to, or temporary stays in, the nursing home.
  • Emergency help - in all developments there are arrangements for summoning help in case of emergency. Pull cords are installed around the home and residents can also opt to wear a pendant or wrist band with a call button. These basic user-triggered systems are referred to as carelines, social alarms and community alarms.

End of life care

Watch a 10min DVD on end of life care provided in Housing 21 extra care housing schemes: Is it that time already?.

 

For more information on end of life care, visit www.skillsforcare.org.uk

What is in a name?

  • Very sheltered housing - used in the private sector to enable older people to retain their independence in their own home for as long as possible through the provision of meals, domestic assistance and 24/7 housekeeping staff cover. Also by some social sector providers for housing that is somewhere between traditional sheltered and modern extra care.
  • Assisted living - used in the private sector providing short term rental with care services for older people who can no longer live on their own at home but don't need 24-hour complex medical supervision, and with optional other 'hotel' services such as cleaning, laundry, meals, hairdressing.
  • Extra care housing - used mainly by social rental sector providers for retirement housing with a high level of services and facilities, meals and personal care services. Seen as an alternative to residential care.
  • Housing with Care - a generic term for all the models above that offer care services

Factsheets on housing-with-care, extra care housing, assisted living

More information on housing-with-care, extra care housing, assisted living