Extra care housing

Older and disabled people with care needs can rent or buy their own home with round-the-clock care.

What extra care housing is

The look of the accommodation varies enormously. Some are new, purpose-built retirement villages, others are modernised sheltered housing schemes with extra services on site. Many offer a choice of accommodation such as flats or bungalows, for sale or rent.

What all residents of extra care housing have in common is the security of owning or renting your own home, control over your finances and the peace of mind that goes with having 24-hour care and support available on site.

Extra care housing is different because you:

  • live at home, not in a home
  • have your own front door and can decide who comes in
  • can live with your partner or friends
  • can choose to join in social activities such as communal dining, or be more private if you so wish
  • have control over your finances
  • have security
  • have access to 24-hour care support from a care team on site.

The aim is to provide you with a home for life.

Watch the video

Watch the video below to hear extra care housing residents say in their own words how extra care housing has helped them:

View transcript:

Cllr Heathcoat, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care: Extra Care housing: The clue's in the title, we want people to have personal care but also the units that they live in mean that its rather like their own personal private home, it's just like living in your own home but you know that you have got care at any time of the day.

SOHA Manager: The main criteria would be that they have some sort of housing or care need. It's for over 55's really and people that are beginning to need care, or their families are anxious about their being alone out in the community or too far away from them so they've moved to be nearer here.

Cllr Heathcoat: I think standards are desperately important, for me the furniture and the colouring is lovely, the way it's set out is friendly, it's not institutionalised, it's not like the old fashioned, old peoples home, its cosy and I think that's one standard. I think the other standard is staff:  staff are very approachable and that's something that's very, very important to make sure the standard of staffing always stays the same.

Amy Herbert, Area Housing & Care Managers, The Order of St Johns Care Trust: We offer everything domiciliary care does but with extras. So, we offer night care which you don't traditionally get with domiciliary care. Between the hours of 10pm and 7am we can offer visits through the night, that emergency response service as well, but that's 24 hours. It’s the reassurance that somebody is kind of at the end of the button, but that's a physical presence not just a voice that offers reassurance and perhaps a response in five hour's time, you know we can be there straight away. So if you do need that extra support and you want to, you know, live your life as you did do normally then you can absolutely do that, you can kind of be as independent as you want to really.

Male resident: This facility has basically given me my life back. Because, it’s the first place this wheelchair has ever been anywhere where you can actually get through the doors. To think I lived in a room the size of what my shower room is here if I wanted to go out of the door with the dog or go for a cigarette or anything I had to press a call bell for a carer to come and open the door. Here I've just got a little button, press it and the front door opens. Got independence, this is what the main thing about it is.

Female Resident: I was diagnosed with terminal cancer 3 years ago and was given 3 months to live. Extra Care is for me when my cancer does progress I know that, when my needs grow, it will all be revised and the plan will be formulated to help me for whatever I need.

Julie Dennis-Smith, Locality Manager Oxfordshire County Council: I think Oxfordshire County Council have recognised that we need to do something different in relation to caring for older people particularly, but also people with physical disabilities, in a way that means that they don't have to go into an institution. So, Extra Care Housing is being developed across the Council, and across all areas to offer people a real alternative.

Claire Joines, Court Manager, Housing 21: We have 1 bedroom apartments for rental, 2 bedroom apartments for rental, 2 bedroom disability flats so if somebody is permanently in a wheel chair they've got lowered kitchens, they've got the extra grab rails; and then we have 2 bed shared ownerships and people can purchase up to 75% of those.

Amy Herbert: We get our referrals through a lot of different avenues. So, that can be directly or through family or through the GP or through the social worker, lots of different avenues. When we get that referral form, we invite people to come and have a look around the building, look around the property if it's available and then we'll do an assessment that can either be in their own home or that can be here where we look at all of their needs, a really holistic view on how they live their life at the moment. Then we look to see if we can provide a like for like service or offer something that they are not currently getting.

Male Resident: There's plenty to do, there's a computer room, there's a hairdressers all in there. To be honest you don't even have to leave the building there's even a little shop that opens, down the bottom, you'd feel quite safe being in here.

Female Resident: We moved here because we lived in a rural location, we very rarely saw neighbours, we had friends obviously but we didn't see anybody during the day. Here I can just walk out the door if I have got a problem. If it’s a problem that I can't deal with by walking out of the door then somebody comes to see me.

Amy Herbert: Extra Care Housing is the future and I 100% believe that because it is the gap between residential care and living at home. And, every extra care building has improvements. You know, where we learn from our existing ones and that might be down to the communal spaces, that might be down to the facilities, what do people actually want, what's being used and what's not we've really learnt from that and every single new one is improved upon the last. So, in 10 years' time I can barely imagine what the extra care schemes are going to be like!

How to get extra care housing

In most cases, you obtain extra care housing after having an assessment of your care needs from a social worker and an assessment of your housing needs by a housing officer.  Some apartments are now available for full market sale and buyers of these do not normally require an assessment of their needs, they just need to be over 55 to qualify.

How much do you pay

There are three elements to the cost of extra care housing:

  • the cost of buying or renting your own home
  • charges for maintenance and any communal facilities in your home
  • your care and support costs.

The amount you pay will vary depending on your individual situation and income.  You may have to pay for everything, or you may be entitled to benefits to meet some or all of the costs.  If you meet Oxfordshire County Council eligible care needs criteria you may also be assessed under fairer charging guidelines to help meet your costs of care.

Millcroft senior living scheme, Wallingford

The Millcroft senior living scheme has been built by Season Homes, who build and manage retirement housing for sale and shared ownership across London and the South East.

The scheme is in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council and South Oxfordshire District Council and is now open.

There are 20 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom spacious and modern apartments available to rent for over 55s who receive a care package and a further ten available for purchase under shared ownership.

The development includes a communal dining area, a licensed bar and a garden and is based at Tumim Court – a 15 minute walk from Wallingford’s shops.

Oxfordshire County Council can nominate you to be considered for this new accommodation which is now ready for occupation. If you are interested in exploring this further you can contact Joanne Fisher from the county council on telephone number 033 00 535121 or mobile number 07748 182822 and Joanne will be happy to have a chat with you about it.

You could also contact the Senior Living Team directly at Season Homes on 0300 123 7334 for more information about Millcroft and the services offered. If you would like to arrange a visit, contact the team and transport may be available or alternatively attend an open day on 11 October from 1pm.

How to be assessed for the service

If you wish to be assessed for this service or ask for more information, you can complete this online form or contact Social and Health Care.

Download guides

The government have produced a general guide to the public about extra care housing (pdf format, 95 KB).