Sheltered Housing

If you’re mostly self-sufficient and would enjoy the chance to socialise with other residents, sheltered housing may be an option. You can rent or buy sheltered housing on a leasehold basis, and some offer shared ownership.

Sheltered housing usually offers self-contained homes which have their own kitchens and bathrooms. Buildings are often functional in style with some communal facilities such as laundry rooms, social lounges, guest suites and shared gardens.

Extra-care sheltered housing also provides meals and personal care, combining the independence of sheltered housing with some of the support a care home or nursing home would provide.

Sheltered housing schemes are supervised by a warden or scheme manager who may live on or offsite, offering 24-hour emergency help on demand. Homes are normally let by local councils and housing associations, so allocation criteria and waiting lists sometimes apply. 


  • Independence – sheltered housing offers more independence than care-home living, but meals may be provided and you can also opt for personal care.

  • Finances – you can hold onto your asset if buying, and rental is offered by most.
  • Access to care – on-site support is usually on hand in the event of an emergency (but see below).
  • Lifestyle – you can enjoy independence along with, if you wish, chances to socialise with other residents.
  • Maintenance – all this is done for you.


  • Lifestyle – the leisure and socialising options are more limited than those of retirement villages and homes.
  • Facilities – on-site facilities are usually more limited which could mean relying more on external help.
  • Access to care – help with domestic tasks may be offered, but you usually need to source and manage this yourself.