Housing with care can offer older people a better quality of life

This paper presents the summary of research findings of a NIHR funded study, Adult Social Care Environments and Settings (ASSET). It was led by the University of Worcester in association with the universities of Bristol and Kent, the Housing LIN and Housing & Care 21.

The research found that housing with care can support residents with widely different abilities, needs and care packages and offers significantly improved outcomes, including greater independence, when compared with remaining in mainstream housing.

The evidence suggested housing with care effectively reduced the need for services, and that these settings can be cost-effective compared with mainstream community housing. The data confirms previous findings that housing with care residents are on average less dependent, both physically and cognitively, than those living in care homes.

While retirement villages and extra care housing share some characteristics they are very different forms of provision. Housing with care is often complex, both in terms of funding streams and the provision of care and support. Local authority approaches to commissioning adult social care vary considerably. In retirement villages, the commissioning of adult social care appears to be extremely uncommon.

The study concludes that although housing with care is increasingly popular, there is an urgent need to provide better financial information to current and prospective residents and their families. This could include information on personal budgets, direct payments and charging arrangements.