Assisted Living in 2019 - Is It For You?

Assisted living, or extra-care housing, offers more help than sheltered housing but still enables an individual to live independently. Is it for you?


Assisted living often means living in a self-contained flat or house with staff available up to 24 hours per day to provide personal care and support services.

Common features of assisted living accommodation

  • Assistance from a scheme director (or warden) or a team of assistance staff
  • Social activities arranged for the community
  • 24-hour emergency assistance through an alarm system
  • Self-contained flats that allow you to stay independent
  • Typically, there would be a minimum age for residents of over 55. 

Who would benefit from assisted living facilities?

Assisted living facilities are normally for people with low-level care requirements, such as memory loss or mobility issues.

We recommend talking to your GP or social worker to find out if you require the help which assisted living can provide. They might organise a Care Needs Assessment, which determines the precise type of care to best serve your needs. 

This assessment can help you decide whether assisted living care (or an alternative type of care) is suitable for you.

Where to find assisted living facilities

Do I rent or own an assisted living property?

This decision is unique to each individual. There may be additional options such as shared ownership or lease schemes. There also may be a service or maintenance charge and extra costs for care on top of the initial rent, or built into your mortgage or rent as applicable. 

What are the different types of assisted living facilities?

Some assisted living facilities are comprised of self-contained apartments, while others feature bungalows or small houses. These are safe, secure facilities which are often only accessible to staff and residents and visitors. 

Often there are gardens or outdoor areas. Some properties even have private gardens so that you can continue to tend to your personal space.


Care home cost throughout the UK for people paying for their own care are something of a postcode lottery. For example, on average, residential care in a nursing home in Greater London is 44% higher than in the North East.

Which? has built a cost of care and eligibility tool to work out the cost for you.

UK Care Guide also provides an in-depth dive into assisted living and the options available to you.