If you want more independence than a care home offers, you have two alternatives: sheltered housing and extra care housing, also called assisted living.
Both these options offer less support than a traditional care home and more independence for the residents.
Sheltered housing is for those who can still live independently but want the comfort of knowing emergency help is there if they need it.
Extra care housing is perfect for those who want help with household chores and personal care but still want a degree of independence.
In this article, we’ll explain more about extra care housing, what services you’ll get and who it’s ideal for.
More independence than a Care home
In a traditional care home, you get very close support round the clock and your level of independence is severely diminished.
This is essential for people who require a high level of care such as bedridden persons or seniors with dementia.
But if you can still move around, even if it is with the help of a mobility aid, and do most things for yourself you might not appreciate the restrictions of a care home.
Extra care housing might just be the right option for you.
It’s usually arranged in form of a community with bungalows or self-contained flats that you can buy or rent.
You can even move in with your partner.
Care staff is available 24/7 to help with chores like laundry, cleaning and washing dishes. They can also help with some personal care.
The houses are equipped with things like handrails and wheelchair access to make you stay safe and enjoyable. There are communal areas such as a dining room, TV room and fitness centres where you can socialise with other residents.
There are also emergency alarms in case of any problem, medical or otherwise.
Who is it for?
- Seniors who require a higher level of care than usual but still want to retain some independence.
- Seniors who do not want to live in a care home or want to delay going into one for as long as possible.
- Seniors who want a comfortable and personal space where they can socialize with other people.
- Couples who want to keep living together as they age. Most facilities will easily accommodate your different care needs.
Note that even if you’d prefer extra care housing, you may not be eligible for one.
Different facilities use varying criteria to admit members. They may require that you be of a certain age and might also assess your medical and personal care needs.
So check with the facility before you proceed.
Also note that extra care housing can be pricey and unlike care homes, you may not have access to financial help if your income or capital cannot cover the service costs.
Make sure the facility is within your budget.
Generally, extra care housing ran by local councils or housing associations is cheaper than that of a private provider.
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Benefits of Extra Care Housing
- You get to retain most of your independence with the reassurance that help is always available if you need it.
- The houses in extra care housing are usually smaller and more manageable. This is great for seniors who are currently living alone and find it hard to maintain their homes.
- Help with common chores.
- You get to retain a sense of privacy while still having neighbours.
- Plenty of opportunities to socialise and make friends. Extra care housing facilities have communal areas where residents can interact.
- Houses are adapted for easy and safe living. Most facilities will also customise your home to your specific needs.
Downsides of Extra Care Housing
- They are often expensive. In addition to the basic fees, there may also be extra service costs for maintenance, security and access to communal areas.
- You may have to wait quite a while to get into one. Facilities ran by local councils and housing associations often have long waiting lists.
- They do not provide intensive care and support. If you require a higher level of care, you may have to move to a care home.
How to apply for Extra Care Housing
Contact your local council or housing association to inquire about extra care housing. They will tell you about availability, costs and eligibility criteria.
You can also look for a private provider in your area. The waiting list will be shorter, or non-existent, but costs will be higher.