Sheltered housing: assisted living in a residential home

If in old age you would like to be secure in the knowledge that services are readily on hand rather than have them come to your home, and if you would like to have more contact with others, it is wise to think about whether moving into sheltered accommodation might be the right thing to do. Sheltered accommodation offers residents all-round services while allowing them a large degree of independence. Depending on the residential home in question and the contractual agreements involved, services can include meals, nursing care, cleaning and recreational activities. You live in your own largely barrier-free accommodation and can furnish it to your taste. In many cases, there is a dedicated contact person on site who can give you information and advice. Many residential homes also have communal rooms and spaces where residents can meet, spend time together and engage in joint activities.

The costs involved in sheltered housing can differ greatly and it makes sense to make a detailed comparison of the services on offer. As with other types of housing, rental prices vary depending on the home’s location, condition, equipment and amenities. In addition to the rental fee, a fixed assistance fee is usually charged – for example for the services of the contact person and provision of a home alert.

The dual advantage with this form of housing is that it enables residents to live independently and rely on a high degree of service and support. You receive age-appropriate accommodation, can make use of the services readily on hand and have contact with others in a similar situation to your own.

There may, however, come a time when you will have to move out – for example if you become reliant on long-term care or suffer from dementia. In other words, sheltered housing assumes that, for the most part, you are still able to run your household yourself.

It is important to note here that the terms assisted living and sheltered housing are not legally defined. Both of these terms can thus be used to describe a wide range of services that offer housing and support. It is advisable, therefore, to examine each and every offer closely before you sign a contract and move in. Things to look out for include: ‡‡

  • The services included in the price
  • The additional services that can be selected and deselected
  • The overall costs involved when everything is added up
  • Whether the housing on offer really suits your personal wishes and needs