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Guide to supported housing schemes for over 50s

You may need a level of support that can't be provided in your current home, but there may be no need to go into a full-time care home.

Deciding on your housing arrangements

Health, mobility and finances will affect the decisions you make about your housing arrangements, but there is a wide range of options that could improve your quality of life without losing your independence.

Sheltered housing

In Northern Ireland, housing associations provide over 10,000 sheltered flats or bungalows for older people or people with disabilities.

Schemes are provided by over 18 organisations of various sizes across Northern Ireland - though research has shown that many people are unclear as to what sheltered accommodation is and what benefits can be derived from it by older people.

What is sheltered accommodation?

Sheltered accommodation is a term used to describe a group of dwellings built in accordance with specific guidelines, designed for older or people with disabilities and with support provided on site.

Sheltered accommodation aims to promote residents’ independence for as long as possible while at the same time ensuring contact with support staff and others, enabling residents to access help and assistance when needed. Contact with other tenants ensures that an active social life can continue to be enjoyed even as one becomes frailer.

Most sheltered schemes provide the following facilities and services:

  • self contained accommodation - apartment or bungalow
  • central heating
  • scheme supervisor service
  • 24 hour call centre support
  • communal rooms for social use
  • laundry room
  • guest room for friends or relatives
  • landscaped gardens

Residents will usually hold a secure tenancy although some are leaseholders or owners.

Tenants of sheltered accommodation are independent, free to come and go and have visitors as they wish, provided they don't cause a nuisance to other tenants of the scheme.

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