"What is sheltered accommodation?"
There is a lot of misconception about what is meant by sheltered
accommodation. When sheltered accommodation is mentioned people usually think
it's some sort of nursing home for the elderly. Nothing could be further from
Sheltered accommodation can spell a new kind of freedom for
retired people who find it difficult or time-consuming to maintain a house
and garden properly. It usually comprises a flat which may be rented or owned
by the occupant(s). The occupant is responsible only for the internal decoration;
maintenance of the buildings and gardens is taken care of by a service charge.
There are many types of sheltered housing available today.
Here I am talking about schemes where the accommodation is contained within
a purpose-built building block.
As well as this security is offered. There is often a security
system in operation which keeps intruders out. Although selected personnel
such as the postman, the milkman and keyholders (family) can gain admittance,
others have to ask the flatholder to let them in. This is done by an intercom
system and an electronic lock. This means no hassle from door to door salesmen.
All maintenance is done by the book. Gas boilers and smoke alarms
are tested at prescribed intervals. Water leaks, fuses etc. are repaired on
demand at no cost to the residents. (for rented accommodation at least)
As well as the rent and service charge residents are responsible
for rates, electricity, gas and 'phone bills, although for residents on low
income these may be met in part by the local council or Government.
The day to day running of the establishment is the responsibilty
of the Warden or Manager. Sometimes the Manager has a flat in the building,
at other times it may be administrated by external managers. Overall, however,
there is a Lifeline call service that operates 24 hours a day on every day
throughout the year. The service can be alerted by pulls which hang down nearly
to floor level in each flat in case somebody has fallen. There are also, for
frail residents, devices which hang around the neck which fulfil the same
purpose. The service will also help with other problems such as failure of
"Who can benefit?"
Sheltered accommodation caters for couples and single people
alike. It is of the greatest benefit to older people on their own as the system
acts as a safety net, giving elderly people that bit of support and confidence.
It is not suitable for anyone who needs nursing care; residents must be able
to function on their own, although they may need a little help, for example,
if they've had a stroke.
If you are considering sheltered accommodation, you should
consider, apart from the obvious suitability of the flat in terms of size,
location etc. , the following points.
- Is there a resident Manager?
- Does the Manager live on the premises?
- Is the Manager married/ have family? In my experience married Managers
do better for residents.
- Is there a flourishing social side?
- Is the scheme recognised and supported by the local council?
- What provision is there for telephone and TV connections.
- Does a cheaper rate for TV apply?
- What other benefits are there; e.g. communal kitchen equipment, clothes
washing and drying facilities, lift, guest room.
- It's best to get a full rundown on life at your proposed residence before
Have a good look round, talk to the Manager and other residents if possible.
Some can cater for people who have to use wheelchairs on a regular basis but
Living in sheltered accommodation will not suit everybody. Flats are usually
quite small and storage space is scarce. If you don't mind this there are
many positive aspects.
If you are interested in finding out more about Sheltered Housing you could
contact your local Council or your local Age UK. They will know which schemes
operate locally; or if you want to move nearer your family in another part
of the country ask them to find out for you. Some private schemes run with
cooperation from the local council; others retain their independence. Most
are non-profit making.
Grandad on this topic