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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice

Housing options - moving home

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Future care planning

Our top ten things to think about will help you to plan your future care, even if you don't need support at the moment.

We have information about financial care planning.

Moving home

Staying in your own home is most people's preference, but if you are considering moving house, it might be useful to think about:

  • local facilities 
  • public transport 
  • being near friends or family 
  • heating and cooking facilities
  • whether the new home would be easy to adapt if needs change in the future


Moving to a smaller property can help keep things manageable by:

  • meaning less time spent on household and garden maintenance
  • having better access such as a bungalow or ground floor flat
  • moving closer to family and friends
  • moving closer to things like shops, banks and the post office
  • being nearer to public transport and giving up driving
  • cheaper bills for things like gas, electricity and home insurance
  • lower mortgage payments or even paying off a mortgage altogether

There are challenges to downsizing that also need to be considered. These may include:

  • less space for possessions and furniture
  • the process of moving can be stressful and costly
  • isolation and loneliness if you move away from a familiar area and neighbours 

Money Advice Service has more information about downsizing.

Moving in with family

This might be a good solution if you need support, company or want to spend more time with grandchildren.

In many cases moving in with family works well, but it's important to be realistic and make sure everyone has the same expectations.

Things to consider include:

  • who will provide help with things like washing and dressing should it be needed?
  • do any adaptations need to be made to the property first?
  • what will the arrangement be for paying rent and bills?
  • what will happen in the event of a move or change in circumstances?

Although family members will want the best for you, it is important to get independent financial advice before making any decisions.

Sheltered housing - independent living with support

Sheltered housing means living independently, still having your own front door, but with the reassurance that help is nearby in the event of an emergency. It's also known as supported or retirement housing.

Sheltered housing doesn't usually offer help with personal care tasks such as washing and dressing, but there are some extra care housing schemes available that do provide this additional support for residents. These schemes are described in the next section.

Sheltered housing schemes vary but most will provide:

  • self-contained flats with kitchen and bathroom
  • 24-hour emergency assistance through an alarm system
  • on site or off site warden or manager
  • security and safety features
  • laundry
  • communal lounge
  • optional social activities
  • communal gardens
  • guest room for overnight visitors

As all schemes are different, it is important to think about any specific needs or preferences such as:

  • size of accommodation
  • facilities offered
  • whether a manager lives on or off site and how often they are available
  • procedure for emergencies
  • available parking
  • whether pets are allowed

Other considerations when looking at sheltered housing include:

  • service charges and other bills
  • re-sale value of the accommodation
  • possible limited choice in your preferred area
  • rules or restrictions

To find properties in your area, visit the Elderly Accommodation Council (EAC) or Retirement Homesearch.

If you would like to apply for any of the affordable housing options, you will need to complete a housing application form to have your name placed on the register. You can join Dorset Home Choice online.

Complete a housing application

Extra care housing

Extra care housing is being able to live independently with support. It is also known as assisted living, enhanced sheltered housing or very sheltered housing. Extra care housing is suitable if you have problems with mobility or memory loss.

Residents receive support with a range of tasks including bathing, meal preparation and housework.

Accommodation within a purpose built complex can be bought or rented and may be cheaper than a care or nursing home.

The comparison chart below shows some of the differences between extra care housing and a care or nursing home:

The differences between extra care housing and care homes
Extra care housingCare home or nursing home 
Buy own property within the complex and pay for additional care if you need it Renting a room, with access to communal areas; food and care costs added on top
Continue to purchase and cook own food or food can be provided Food provided
Come and go as you please May need permission to leave - or need to let staff know where you are going
Can live together with a partner Residents live alone in a room
Severe care needs are not catered for A range of acute care needs are catered for
Need to pay outright for a placement, but can use benefits or pension towards care costs Care can be subsidised by the government (means tested and within guidelines)

Extra care housing may be available if you are over 50 and in need of extra care and support to remain independent.

Extra Care housing schemes are available to rent from private landlords, Housing Associations or charitable organisations. The Elderly Accommodation Council (EAC) has a search facility to help find these.

To find out if you are eligible for Extra care housing, you can complete a housing application form and your name will be placed on the register join Dorset Home Choice online.

Complete a housing application

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