Close care housing

Close care housing

Close care is a term used to describe various models of elderly people’s housing where there is sheltered/retirement accommodation linked to or on the same site as a care home. Some close care housing is available to buy, and on other schemes it is available on a rental basis. Some schemes offer both options. There are nearly 400 close care schemes in the UK.

Who could benefit from close care housing?

Close care can be particularly suitable for couples where one partner needs to be in a care home and the spouse does not, but they do not want to be separated. The frailer partner can live in the care home and have the full range of the support services they need, while the fitter person would live in independent accommodation in the grounds but spend as much time as they wish with their partner.

Close care can also appeal to someone who has had a diagnosis of a deteriorating condition, but wants to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. If they choose the care home carefully, taking into account their long term needs, they can live in the self contained accommodation for as long as they are able, initially perhaps having just a midday meal in the care home and joining social activities. They can form friendships with the care home residents and become familiar with the staff and routines, and if they ultimately need 24 hour care, the transition to the main home can be much smoother.

For people who are particularly anxious, even if no long term care needs have been identified, close care housing can appeal by providing the reassurance that there are care professionals nearby, and that if the person were ever to need 24 hour care they are likely to be in the ‘right place’.


The range of services on close care schemes vary significantly between providers and it is important to check what is on offer, and how it is paid for. Virtually all offer a midday meal. Many also offer housework or laundry services if these are required. Some, but not all, will provide an emergency response to alarm calls and some will be able to offer short term support from care staff if this is necessary (e.g. help with eye drops after a cataract operation). Some providers offer the possibility of a buy-back facility where people are moving into the care home. It is advisable to get your solicitor to look very carefully at any agreement before completing the purchase of a close care property to ensure the details match all your expectations.

More information on close care housing

EACs Housing Options for Older People Tool (HOOP)