Specialist housing options for older people

Sometimes living in at home can become too challenging, even with support from family, friends or paid carers. If you are not ready or eligible to move into a residential care home there are other housing options available. 

Sheltered housing

Sheltered housing is the best known and most common form of specialist housing for people who want to live independently but need a bit more support, or if you want to live in a smaller and easier-to-manage home.

It is often known as “retirement housing”. Sheltered housing is usually a group of self-contained flats or bungalows with either one or two bedrooms, which you can either buy or rent. It is usually only available to those aged 55 and over.

Some common features of sheltered housing include:

  • help from a scheme manager (warden), or support staff
  • 24-hour emergency help through an alarm system
  • communal areas, such as gardens or lounges
  • social activities for residents

Features vary from scheme to scheme. If you’re interested in a particular scheme, make sure you understand what services are available, how much they cost and whether you would be eligible for any help with these costs.

Meals, help around the house and personal care services such as help with bathing are not usually provided.

If you feel you are in need of this type of support you can discuss appropriate support from the local authority or a private care agency following an assessment of care and support needs.

Request an assessment

Sheltered housing schemes are not inspected or give ratings by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Current Sheltered Housing schemes in North Northamptonshire:

  • Swann Gardens - Corby
  • Barringers Court - Wellingborough
  • Attley Court - Wellingborough
  • Shaftesbury House - Wellingborough
  • Riverside ECHG - Kettering
  • Hazeland House - Kettering

Assisted living and extra-care housing

Extra-care housing (also known as assisted living) offers more support than sheltered housing but still allows you to retain independence whilst receiving assistance with tasks such as washing, dressing, going to the toilet or taking medication. It is designed for older people with care and support needs who want to be active and independent.

Extra-care schemes are suitable for couples to continue living together even when one partner’s care needs may increase. They provide a safe and supportive environment for older people in buildings close to local facilities.


With the extra-care scheme you can rent, buy or part-buy your own self-contained flat, house or bungalow - on your own or as a couple.

Extra-care housing can include flats, houses and bungalows all with their own front door, which are part of complexes with public spaces that may include:

  • restaurant
  • activity room/ lounge/garden
  • social activities organised by residents’ groups and supported by care staff
  • hairdressers/laundry
  • shop

These areas can also be used by local older people.

Every extra care accommodation has an alarm linked to a 24-hour control centre.

Care and support services

Care and support service are available and can include if needed:

  • personal care, such as washing or dressing
  • domestic help, such as laundry and housework
  • meals

If you feel you need support in any of these areas your eligibility in care & support can be assessed by us and/or you can self-fund these services yourself.

Request an assessment

The amount you pay for extra care support services is dependent on your individual financial circumstances. Following an assessment it will be explained how much of a contribution you will need to pay.

Unlike sheltered housing, assisted living housing is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). They inspect the facilities and provide ratings.

Current extra-care schemes in North Northamptonshire:

  • Imperial Court - Rushden
  • Townsend Court - Rushden
  • Sunley Court - Kettering
  • Langdale Court - Wellingborough
  • Rosewood Court - Wellingborough

Care villages

With Care villages people are able to make a choice between fully independent living, assisted living (extra care) or 24 hour nursing care - where care staff are on site for 24 hours a day. Most care villages will include all 3 models of accommodation within the village.

The wide range of on-site facilities can include:

  • a café
  • restaurant
  • elegant sitting rooms
  • hairdressing salon
  • landscaped gardens
  • bowling green

Some models even have a swimming pool and spa.

You can search the Care Services Directory to see information about care villages or retirement villages.

If you feel you are in need of this type of support you can discuss appropriate support from the local authority or a private care agency following an assessment of care and support needs.

Request an assessment

Last updated 15 November 2022