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Assisted living, also known as extra care housing, is a type of housing with additional care available, including personal care. Assisted living can be thought of as halfway between a care home and a retirement home, for anyone who wishes to still live independently, but may require a little extra day-to-day support.
In this article, we’ve explained everything you need to know about assisted living, including the different types, the costs, advantages, disadvantages and how to find assisted living near you.
Browse the best retirement homes near you through Lottie.
Assisted living facilities and homes provide a greater level of support than sheltered housing, but still allow you to maintain your independence in a self-contained property, with staff on hand to provide care where needed.
You can be supported with things like getting dressed and undressed, eating, medication management and domestic assistance with things like food preparation and cooking, shopping and laundry.
There may also be communal facilities and activities to help you stay connected with similarly-aged people.
Assisted living accommodation is inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England, meaning each facility is provided with a quality rating. These reports and ratings are available on the CQC website, allowing you to find excellent developments in your chosen area.
Assisted living can vary from self-contained properties such as groups of houses to apartments within a larger building. In some cases, properties aimed specifically at older adults such as retirement housing can be classed as assisted living, depending on what they offer.
Assisted living properties are usually secure and can’t be accessed by the general public. Only residents and staff will have access, and visitors usually need to be admitted.
Some assisted living communities will contain various leisure facilities for residents to use, such as gardens for relaxation, cafés and restaurants, lounge areas, fitness suites, libraries, beauty salons and more.
To qualify for assisted living, you’ll often need to be assessed by your local council, to determine whether an assisted living facility can meet your care needs. This usually depends on your health condition and how much daily assistance you need.
The application process varies from area to area, so you might want to contact your local authority or social services department to learn more.
There may also be a minimum age requirement for assisted living. This is often 55, 60 or 65 plus.
The cost of assisted living is often less expensive than that of a residential care home. This is because the amount of care residents require is less.
Our internal data shows that the average cost of UK residential care is £928 per week, or £4,021 per month.
The cost of assisted living depends on several factors, such as:
Various ongoing fees come with assisted living, along with a service charge to cover the care you’re receiving.
You’ll likely also pay for council tax, water and energy bills when living in an assisted living facility.
It’s important to understand what charges you have to pay - including any one-offs such as exit fees or deferred management fees - before making any commitments.
Renting assisted living makes sense if your or your loved ones’ needs are likely to change in the future, so moving to a care home becomes necessary. Many people choose to rent when they can’t or don’t want to purchase a property.
Many people rent assisted living by joining a waiting list through their local council. However, some local councils don’t allow people to join their waiting list if they own a property. This differs from council to council, so it’s something you should directly discuss with them.
Understanding the terms of your tenancy if you’re renting with a private landlord is important, as many private tenancies provide very little security for tenants.
Most assisted living housing is sold on a leasehold basis (so you purchase the right to live in the property for an agreed period, but you don’t own the land the property is built on). This can lead to restrictions in the lease if you want to sell the property or leave it to a loved one in your will.
Before purchasing assisted living, request a full breakdown of fees.
If you have a care needs assessment by social services, your local council may recommend assisted living schemes in your area.
Your local council may also be able to advise on any documentation you need to provide and any other assessments that may be necessary.
EAC Housing Care has a directory of extra care and assisted living houses available throughout the UK. Their directory is split into the English counties, along with assisted living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
You can also apply for sheltered housing - which is similar to assisted living - through GOV.UK.
If your loved one requires care on a daily basis and their needs are increasing, they may be better suited to a care home.
We list a variety of care home types, including:
We also offer retirement homes throughout the UK. These are exclusively aimed at older adults, with many of these developments providing additional forms of care and support as well.
Retirement homes differ from assisted living as the level of care provided to residents is generally lower.
Retirement living developments offer secure, vibrant and luxurious housing with state-of-the-art facilities for older adults. Request a free retirement living shortlist and we’ll recommend retirement properties matching your budget, location and desired facilities.
Assisted living is usually paid for by the person living in it. It can be purchased or rented. When purchased, assisted living is often sold on a leasehold basis.
People often have to sell their homes to afford the fees within a caregiving facility, and this can include assisted living.