1. If your home no longer suits your needs
It might be that your current property is simply too big for you, or that you’re having trouble keeping up with maintenance and repairs. Sheltered housing can offer a smaller and easier-to-manage alternative.
2. If you have reduced mobility
Sheltered housing properties are built with older people in mind, and are usually compact and easy to get around. Most have been built (or adapted) to suit people with reduced mobility or disabilities. Features such as hand rails in the bathroom, and wider corridors and lifts, can make life easier.
If accessibility is the main issue, though, it may be possible to adapt the home you currently live in. There is more information and inspiration in our guide to home adaptations. You could also consider moving to a property designed with accessibility in mind, which can be searched on the Accessible Property Register (APR) database.
3. If you’re feeling lonely
Sheltered housing offers opportunities to socialise with other residents of a similar age, so this can be a great way to meet with like-minded people and to help tackle loneliness.
4. If you no longer feel safe living alone
Sheltered housing can feel more secure than living alone. It can be reassuring to know that other people are around – to talk to, give advice or help with problems. Scheme managers can generally be contacted during the day, and a limited number of sheltered housing schemes may have a live-in scheme manager or warden. There are also lots of opportunities to socialise with other people of a similar age. Many sheltered housing schemes have a community feel, with shared spaces and organised activities for residents, if they want to take part.
Flats will have locks on individual front doors, and buildings are more likely to have secure door entry systems or even intruder alarms.
Sheltered housing properties also have alarm systems, giving you access to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If an alarm is activated, calls go through to the scheme manager (if on duty) or a 24-hour call monitoring centre, which usually alerts a nominated relative/friend or the emergency services.
It’s worth considering that if you simply want the reassurance of a 24/7 alarm system, it’s possible to fit these in your current home. Our guide about technology to keep you safe offers more information about alarm systems.
5. If you need personal care
Sheltered housing is most suitable for older people who are relatively fit and healthy, as personal or medical care is not usually provided. However, another form of housing for older people, known as extra care housing, will provide personal care, such as washing and dressing.
Alternatively, you may be able to arrange for a home care agency to deliver care within your sheltered housing property. Some sheltered housing will have a condition requiring residents to live independently, so it’s a good idea to check the terms of the tenancy to see if you can bring care services into your home.
How do you choose suitable sheltered housing, and what facilities do they offer? Our guide explains your options.
Before you choose accommodation in sheltered housing, think through the practicalities, costs and legal issues.
We look at how to buy sheltered accommodation, what protection buyers have, understanding leaseholds and charges.