Deciding where to live: What are the housing options as we get older?
Whether you choose renting, sheltered housing, residential care or staying in your own home, there are plenty of options out there, so it really all depends on your personal circumstances.
I’d like to stay in my own home.
If so, you might need to add hand rails, a ramp if there are steps to deal with, a stairlift, specially adapted toilet frames, or an easy access shower, any of which could make your home easier to live in. You may also get financial help with these adaptations from your local council .
What if I need more support at home?
If you feel you need help getting in and out of bed, or with cooking or cleaning, there are various homecare service to choose from depending on your personal needs, which could mean you are able to stay in your own home.
Sheltered housing or residential care.
Both these options allow you to live independently. Sheltered housing is ‘housing with support’, and you can either buy or rent. This option doesn’t usually provide you with personal care, meals, or help around the home, although you could arrange these through the local authority or privately.
Residential care, on the other hand, is for older people who may need some assistance with day to day tasks like washing or dressing from qualified care assistants, but don’t require more specialist nursing care or dementia support.
Also known as extra-care housing, assisted living is housing with care that offers you more support than sheltered housing whilst still letting you live independently, and receiving help with such tasks as washing, dressing, toileting or taking medication.
A care home.
Also known as a residential home, a care home may be a suitable option if you’re finding it difficult to live on your own, even with help from friends, family or paid carers, if you’ve had a needs assessment, or have a complex medical condition that requires specialist attention during the day and night.
Moving in with family members.
While there are obvious benefits to this option – family support, seeing more of grandchildren, and economic advantages – your personal circumstances might mean they are not able to provide you with the care you need, particularly if your needs demand specialist care.
Should your circumstances lead you to consider privately rented accommodation, you’ll need to pay a deposit and rent in advance, and rents can be high depending on where you want to live. A private landlord also has the right to end your tenancy at the end of a fixed period.
A retirement village.
These are housing schemes arranged to give the feel of a village usually have a range of social and leisure facilities which might include a village hall, restaurant, gym, a shop, or even a swimming pool. For residents who need care and assistance, these can also be provided. Village properties can be bought privately, rented, or part-purchased.
These are just some of the many options available to older people in the UK. You should always find out as much as you can about exactly what they offer you before making up your mind. You’ll need to consider the level of support you’re likely to need, what services are available, how much they cost, and what financial help you could be eligible for.