Sheltered, warden-assisted or retirement housing

What is sheltered, warden-assisted or retirement housing?

Sheltered, warden-assisted or retirement housing is self-contained accommodation in flats or bungalows providing privacy and independence.

The schemes have 24 hour emergency call systems (with pull-cords, pendants or wristbands) and a visiting or on-site scheme manager or warden.

Who is it for?

Most places are available to you if you’re aged 55 or over.

Some schemes are available to you, if you’re under 55 years old and have a physical disability, learning disability or a mental health support need.

You don’t require a care and support assessment from adult social care to apply for sheltered housing because eligibility is usually based on your age and housing need.

If you’re already receiving care and support at home, you can continue to get this if you move to sheltered housing, as long as you are still able to live independently for most of the time. If you require specific medical or nursing support, sheltered housing may not be a suitable option for you and a nursing home might be more appropriate.

Sheltered housing may be something to consider if you want to improve the quality of your life as you get older. You may be on your own, thinking of downsizing or your current property no longer suits your needs.


Facilities and services can vary between sheltered housing schemes but usually include some or all of the following:

  • Communal laundry and lounges and gardens for socialising
  • Guest room, so that family and friends can stay
  • Security and safety features (such as fire alarm and door entry systems)
  • 24 hour emergency call system connected to an on-site scheme manager when they are on duty or to a 24/7 contact centre.

The scheme manager or warden can provide you with information and advice to maintain your independence. For example, by helping you to find the services and support you need and accessing social or other activities.

The scheme manager cannot provide home care or personal care.

What does it cost?

Sheltered housing can be bought or rented. Costs will vary depending on the location of the scheme and the facilities provided.

There may be service charges for communal facilities and you will be responsible for council tax, phone, broadband, heating and lighting in your own property.

You may get help to pay the rent and service charges if you meet the eligibility criteria of your local district council for housing benefit. You’ll need to contact them to find out whether you qualify.

How do I find and apply for sheltered, warden-assisted or retirement housing?

You can contact: