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Extra care housing

If you are finding it difficult to remain independent in your own home as a result of health problems you may be surprised at the options available to help you overcome the problems which you are experiencing - have a look at our Staying in your home section for some ideas.

If you do decide to move somewhere new then it is important to make the right choice so that you can feel safe within your new home, whilst remaining as independent as possible. There are various housing options available to you, including extra care housing.

Extra care housing usually provides a higher level of support than you might get in your current home, including in sheltered or supported accommodation. It generally provides a lower level of support than you might receive in a care home but allows you to retain some privacy, and encourages you to stay as independent as possible.

Extra care housing might be suitable for you if:

  • you have learning disabilities that mean you aren't able to live on your own, but you don't want to go into a care home
  • you have physical disabilities such as sensory impairment or mobility problems that make living independently more difficulty
  • you are an older person who is still able to live independently and safely, but who has some problems with personal care - for example cooking food or washing yourself safely
  • you are the partner of someone who has care needs, and want to continue to live together while they receive the care and support they need

In extra care housing you have your own flat but you also have support staff on duty in the building 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The support offered in extra care housing varies between different places and will depend on what support you need as an individual, but extra care housing will generally offer support with personal care, meal preparation and other essential day-to-day tasks, and access to help in an emergency. You will usually receive support at particular times of the day depending on your needs, and will have a support plan which is agreed between you and the support staff, but will have the added reassurance of knowing that there is always someone nearby of things go wrong when you are by yourself.

There will often be a programme of activities available during the day, which can be a good chance for you to meet other people living in the building. Some places will hold exercise classes and may even have a swimming pool.

To be considered for extra care housing you will need to have had a community care assessment from your local council. A social worker will then be able to look at your needs and help you to decide whether extra care housing is the best option for you based on the amount of support which you need. 

If you and your social worker decide that extra care housing is a good option for you, you will then be able to view extra care housing schemes in the area which have vacancies, and choose which one to move into.

You will need to sign a tenancy agreement before moving in and you need to make sure your utility providers are aware so you can be connected at your new flat - your social worker can help you with this. 

Extra care housing is normally not furnished (though some may have white goods e.g. refrigerator, washing machine). You may wish to bring your own furniture with you to make it feel more like home, or take the opportunity to get some new furniture that suits you better.

Depending on your financial situation you may be able to claim Housing Benefit towards the rent for your extra-care flat.

You may also need to pay towards the cost of the support which you receive, just as you would if you were receiving this support in your previous home.

Additional meals and cleaning services might come at an extra cost or they might be included in your rent and care costs. You should discuss what services are available and how much they cost when you visit a potential new home.

Other information and advice

The Independent Age website provides a guide called Extra care housing