It is understandable to feel quite bewildered at the number of different terms that get used, there are dozens of different descriptions that are used by different companies to describe their housing developments.
On our website we categorise developments into one of three categories:
Retirement Housing: Your own flat or bungalow in a block, or on a small estate, where all the other residents are older people (usually over 55). Developments that cater exclusively for older people, usually incorporate design features helpful to older people, and may have communal facilities such as a residents' lounge, guest suite and shared garden, but do not provide any regular on-site support to residents. With a few exceptions, all developments provide independent, self-contained homes with their own front doors. Most developments will have a scheme manager and an alarm system in the property, there may also be some personal care and home help services that can be arranged by the management.
Housing with Care: designed to provide the varying levels of care and support people may need in later life. People who live in Extra Care Housing have their own self-contained homes, their own front doors and a legal right to occupy the property. Extra Care Housing is also often called ‘assisted living’.
Close care: a relatively new concept and consist of independent flats or bungalows built on the same site as a care home. Residents often have some services (such as cleaning) included in their service charge and other services can be purchased from the care home.
Usually the minimum age requirement for specialist housing for older people is 60 years of age. This age requirement can be lower or higher depending on the eligiblity criteria set by the housing provider.
For couples where only one member is over the qualifying age, this will often be sufficient for the couple to meet the age requirements. However, it is uncommon for these exceptions to be made where an older person wishes to live with their children, who do not meet the age requirements, or a younger carer.
At some point, you may decide that you want to sell your retirement property, for example if the facility no longer suits your needs. You should be aware that this can be more complicated than selling another type of home. They can be more difficult to sell, and you may find that you are unable to get the price that you paid for your home. It is often best to see it as an investment in your lifestyle and peace of mind, rather than a financial investment.
Some developers will accept your current home in part exchange for a new build retirement home. This can make things easier as it removes the need to be part of a chain and waiting for your buyer to sell their home.
However, there will certainly be conditions on a part exchange scheme, and you may find that your home does not qualify (for example, the property must be in good condition and viewed as mortgageable). Some developers also offer a packing and removals service to make the process even more hassle free.