Things to consider

If care and support is required, these are some of the services that should be considered

The start point is to ask the social services department of the local council to carry out a care needs assessment. Everyone has a legal right to a care needs assessment. It’s not dependent on income or wealth and it’s free of charge. A social care professional will be appointed to help understand what support is required. They may also talk to other people, like the individual’s GP for example, before they complete their assessment.

After the assessment has taken place a care plan will be agreed. This outlines the support needed. You can start the process and apply online.


  • Help in the home.

    This could include housework and gardening or more personal tasks like washing and dressing

  • Home modifications.

    Grab rails, personal alarms or ramps might need to be fitted, doorways may have to be widened, a walk in bath added or extra security fitted around the home.

  • Sheltered accommodation/retirement housing.

    Sheltered accommodation can provide independent living, but with special safeguards. For example, a live-in warden. Some communities also have on-site care and support services, along with restaurants and leisure facilities.
    See more on this at HousingCare

  • Residential care home.

    If constant care is required, a residential care home might be the answer. 

  • Intermediate care.

    Non-means tested, time-limited, short term support can help to provide support following a stay in hospital or period of difficulty in the home environment.


  • Local councils don’t usually provide help with housework, gardening or shopping. There are voluntary organisations that can provide these services like the Royal Voluntary Service.
  • You can use Care Sourcer’s online service to connect you with local agencies who can provide support for your specific needs. 
  • If support is required after a spell in hospital, the patient or their family should talk with discharge staff to make sure any support services and home modifications are in place before the patient is sent home.

For example, sheltered accommodation:

  • Can provide companionship
  • May feel safer than living alone and offer greater security
  • Is usually built with older people in mind so will have safety features if mobility is a concern.

A popular alternative to sheltered accommodation is the emergence of retirement villages. These are purpose built communities designed to help older people live independently. They offer a range of facilities not usually found in sheltered accommodation. This may include a gym, swimming pool and health spa as well as restaurants and bars. In many cases, care services can also be provided as and when they're required. 

You can find out more about sheltered accommodation and retirement villages from HousingCare and Elderly Accommodation Counsel.

Elderly Accommodation Counsel are a national charity that offers advice and information on all aspects of housing in later life.

Read their guide on Housing and care options for older people

There are two types of residential care homes:

  • A residential care home provides support with personal tasks, but doesn’t provide nursing care.
  • A nursing home will usually have all the facilities a residential care home provides plus access to qualified nursing staff.

Care Sourcer's free service can connect you to residential care homes in your area with availability now.

It’s not means tested and is usually free for up to 6 weeks. It can help people:

  • Become independent after a hospital stay
  • Continue to live at home as long as possible
  • Delay a permanent move into a residential care home

Support can range from physiotherapy through to carers at home. You can find out more about intermediate care from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Common questions

Next steps

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