Find out about sheltered or warden-assisted accommodation, close care housing, private or other types of supported retirement housing.

What is the difference between the different types of supported housing?

Sheltered housing Sheltered, retirement or warden-assisted housing are all terms used to describe accommodation provided specifically for older people. Schemes usually have the services of a warden, support worker or scheme manager, though increasingly this person lives off site, or the service is provided as 'floating support', with regular visits from a member of staff. Each property has an alarm system so that residents can summon help in an emergency.
Supported housing Supported housing is usually for people with disabilities who need housing-related or care-related support. People can have their own tenancy and may live independently or three or four people may live at the same address. Such schemes combine housing, support and care services as an integrated package, tailored to the needs of the tenants. Supported housing is also designed to promote independence and social inclusion.
Close care housing Close care housing is often independent sheltered or retirement accommodation linked to, or on the same site as a care home. There are often some services included in the accommodation service charge and other services can usually be purchased from the care home. Close care schemes can either be rented or purchased. Purchasers may receive a guarantee that their property will be bought back if they enter the care home.

If you are or are at risk of becoming homeless, you can find homelessness support information here.

Private retirement or sheltered housing

Most leasehold retirement or sheltered housing is purchased at full price on the open market. Typically these are:

  • Shared ownership - where you buy a proportion of a property, and pay rent on the rest
  • Leasehold schemes for the elderly - where you buy 70% of the equity, with the rest being owned by the housing association
  • Lifetime lease - where you buy the right to live in a property for the rest of your life, but it reverts to the company when you die
  • Interest-only mortgage - when you borrow a lump sum on the value of your home, pay only the interest, and the lump sum is repaid when the home is sold
  • Equity release - when you use the value of your property to release a lump sum or income without having to move

There are reputable financial organisations that can help you with the options mentioned here. When considering using this type of organisation, you should ensure the company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. You could use the Money Advice Service as a starting point.

What should you do next?

You should look at the different types of social care housing available before you decide what would best suit your needs.

Alternatively, you could remain in your own home but with social care support to help you continue to live independently.

You will have to pay for some social housing costs and care services but others may be free or at a reduced level, depending on your financial circumstances. If we can help you, your needs will have to be assessed so we can provide the right type of care and support.

The amount you have to pay is determined through a financial assessment. Information and advice is available to help you plan for the cost of your social care.