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What is assisted living?

About care homes

Is assisted living right for your loved one? And what’s the difference between assisted living and residential care anyway? 

Care UK offers residential care homes as well as nursing homes and homes with specialist dementia care – but we also provide assisted living facilities at three of our homes:  Parker Meadows Liberham  Lodge and  Sway Place. 

Here we’ll help you learn more about assisted living, also known as extra-care housing, and take you through the pros and cons to find out if these facilities provide the care you need. 


What is assisted living? 

The level of care provided in assisted living facilities sits in between sheltered housing – which provides older people with support in their day-to-day tasks but not round-the-clock care – and residential care – which is suitable for individuals who need 24-hour care and support in order to live life to the full. 

Like a  care home, assisted living communities offer 24-hour support with personal care needs, such as washing, dressing and taking medication, but residents live in self-contained flats rather than in suites.  

Extra-care facilities are also regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) like care homes. Sheltered housing, on the other hand, is not CQC regulated. 


What does assisted living offer? 

The services offered by extra-care housing vary considerably from one site to the next. 

Typically, assisted living houses offer individuals a self-contained flat that they can rent, buy privately or buy through the local council, with personal care available round-the-clock. Although people living in extra-care housing live independently, the facilities may offer social activities and communal areas where individuals can socialise. Meals can be provided in some cases. 

How does assisted living compare to residential care? 

If you or your loved one need help with personal care, you may be weighing up whether a care home or extra-care housing is the right choice. There are a number of differences... 


Care UK care home vs assisted living


Care UK care homeAssisted living
Care needsWe offer many different types of support in our homes, from discreet, round-the-clock personal care to help with day-to-day tasks. We also offer registered nursing care, dementia care and short-stay respite breaks to accommodate a variety of needs.While these vary by provider, most assisted living housing offers 24-hour assistance with personal care needs, such as washing, dressing or going to the toilet, as well as a call system. Services are designed to support individuals who wish to live independently.
Other servicesOur care homes offer luxurious and safe surroundings. Lifestyle teams design bespoke activities for each home, and our chefs provide high-quality food tailored to residents’ unique dietary and nutrition needs.Extra-care housing services differ considerably from site to site. Check with the provider to see if services like meals and activities are included.
CostOur costs cover all care and support, including a monthly review of care plans as well as a dedicated key worker for each resident; all meals, snacks and drinks; an activities and lifestyle programme; all utilities and accommodation costs and housekeeping and laundry services. Read about what affects cost here.
Costs of assisted living are likely to be lower than residential care because there are fewer services provided, but it’s important to note that you will need to pay charges for care as well as a regular service charge. If you are renting the property you will also need to factor in rent, as well as council tax and utilities like water and energy bills – unless these are covered in your service charge. Make sure you are aware of all the charges you'll have to pay, including any ‘exit fees’ if you need to sell the flat.

Learn more about what a care home offers.

How does assisted living compare to nursing homes? 

Assisted living homes can be a good option for older people with low care needs. For those who need nursing care round-the-clock or who are living with dementia, a care home that provides specialist care in these areas will be more suitable. 

If you’re unsure what level of care your loved one needs, you can arrange a care needs assessment. We can help put you in contact with your local authority to arrange a free assessment. 

What’s the difference between assisted living and independent living? 

Independent living is another term for sheltered housing.  Sheltered accommodation is usually available to those aged 55 and over, and it provides help and support staff as well as an emergency call system. Communal areas and social activities for residents may also be available. 

These facilities don’t usually provide personal care, meals or help around the home, and unlike care homes and assisted living they are not inspected by the CQC. 

If you want to explore more about care homes available near you, use our find a care home feature. 

Back to help and advice

Open to new residents

7 Parker View, Redlands Lane, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 0AF

Parker Meadows

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club
Open to new residents

Rectory Lane, Little Bookham - Leatherhead, Surrey, KT23 4DY

Liberham Lodge

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Day club
Open to new residents

Sway Place, Church Lane, Sway, Hampshire, SO41 6AD

Sway Place

CQC Rating: Outstanding
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Day club

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