There are lots of different terms that are used to describe housing for older people, what do they all mean and which one is right for me?

It is understandable to feel quite bewildered at the number of different terms that get used, there are dozens of different descriptions that are used by different companies to describe their housing developments.

On our website we categorise developments into one of five categories:

  • Age Exclusive: developments that cater exclusively for older people, usually incorporate design features helpful to older people, and may have communal facilities such as a residents’ lounge, guest suite and shared garden, but do not provide any regular on-site support to residents.
  • Retirement/sheltered: this means having your own flat or bungalow in a block, or on a small estate, where all the other residents are older people (usually over 55). With a few exceptions, all developments provide independent, self-contained homes with their own front doors.
  • Enhanced sheltered: provides residents with the independence of having their own front door whilst also having access to additional on-site support services. Most developments will have a scheme manager and an alarm system in the property, there may also be some personal care and home help services that can be arranged by the management.
  • Extra care: designed to provide the varying levels of care and support people may need in later life. People who live in Extra Care Housing have their own self-contained homes, their own front doors and a legal right to occupy the property. Extra Care Housing is also often called ‘assisted living’.
  • Close care: a relatively new concept and consist of independent flats or bungalows built on the same site as a care home. Residents often have some services (such as cleaning) included in their service charge and other services can be purchased from the care home.