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Housing with care: A guide for social workers

Published: April 2024


Welcome to a comprehensive guide designed to equip social workers with the knowledge and expertise needed to navigate the complex landscape of housing with care.

In this resource, we will provide in-depth explanations of housing with care models, guidelines for assessing care needs and selecting appropriate housing options, insights into the range of available care services, recommendations for supporting individuals’ emotional wellbeing and quality of life within housing with care settings, and present information on funding options and financial support.

This resource is designed to empower and inspire social workers, ensuring they can provide exceptional care and support for their clients in the housing with care environment.

What is housing with care?

Housing with care is a pioneering, transformative and compassionate approach providing care and support for individuals in need. This innovative model offers a unique blend of independence and assistance, allowing people to maintain their autonomy while receiving the care and services they require.

In a world where individuals often face difficult decisions about their care or the care of their loved ones, housing with care stands as a beacon of hope and a symbol of empowerment.

Housing with care is designed to empower individuals by allowing them to maintain their autonomy, make choices about their daily lives, and access necessary care and support.

This comprehensive guide will delve into the essence of housing with care, its core principles, exploring its models, care assessments, services, funding options and the ways it is revolutionising the care industry.

The essence of housing with care

Housing with Care is a philosophy of care that centres on respecting the fundamental human right to live with dignity, choice, and autonomy. It recognises that individuals, regardless of their care needs, should have the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives and be active participants in their communities.

Core principles of housing with care: Independence and support:

The cornerstone of housing with care is the concept of independence with support. It offers individuals the freedom to live in their own homes or apartments while having access to the care and assistance they need.

Dignity and choice

Housing with care respects the inherent dignity of individuals and empowers them to make choices about their daily lives, from what they eat to how they spend their time.

Community and inclusion

Housing with care creates vibrant communities where residents can engage in social activities, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion.

Personalised/tailored care

Care services are tailored to the unique needs and preferences of each individual, ensuring a holistic approach to their wellbeing.

Overview of housing with care models

Housing with care is not merely a housing model; it is a philosophy of care that centres around respect, dignity, and the fundamental human right to live with autonomy and choice.
Housing with care represents a model that bridges the gap between independent living and residential care. It focuses on combining independent living with the necessary care and services tailored to individual needs. Social workers play a crucial role in assisting clients in accessing housing with care models, as they must navigate the complexities of the system, evaluate options, and align them with the unique care needs and preferences of their clients.

Housing with care, also referred to as retirement communities or integrated retirement communities is an umbrella term that includes extra care housing, assisted living, retirement villages, independent living, assisted living, close care and very sheltered living. The range of names and definitions within housing with care is complex as reported in 2021 by sector representative ARCO.

In this section, we will explore the various housing with care models and the steps social workers can take to facilitate access to them.

Assisted living

Assisted living facilities provide a blend of independence and support, with residents having their own apartments within a community setting while having access to assistance with daily activities when needed. These facilities provide help with personal care, medication management, and meals, along with social and recreational activities.

Social workers can help clients access assisted living by conducting thorough assessments of their care needs, financial capabilities, and lifestyle preferences. Recommendations may include personalised tours of potential facilities and assistance with the application process.

Extra care housing

Extra care housing is designed for older adults and individuals with care needs. It combines independent living with 24/7 on-site care services, ensuring residents have the support they require.

Social workers can support individuals in accessing extra care housing by collaborating with healthcare professionals to ensure the level of care aligns with the individual’s medical requirements and by providing guidance on the financial aspects.

Retirement villages

Retirement villages provide a sense of community along with care services. They often include communal spaces, amenities, and social activities, fostering a vibrant community for residents.

Social workers can assist clients in accessing retirement villages by evaluating their social and lifestyle preferences, ensuring that the selected village aligns with their interests and needs.

Independent living communities

Independent living communities are designed for individuals who are still relatively active and can live independently but prefer a community setting.

These communities offer various amenities and services such as fitness centres, social activities, and maintenance services while allowing residents to maintain their autonomy.

Hospice care

Hospice care is designed for individuals with advanced illnesses who require palliative care in a homely and compassionate setting and specialised care during their final stages of life.

Social workers can facilitate access to hospice care by collaborating with healthcare providers and ensuring that the chosen facility can meet the medical and emotional needs of the client.

Dementia care housing

Specially designed to cater to individuals with dementia, these settings offer a secure and supportive environment, dementia-specific activities, and staff trained to meet the unique needs of residents.

Social workers can guide clients and their families in accessing dementia care housing by conducting comprehensive assessments of the client’s cognitive and emotional needs, and by assisting in the selection of the most suitable facility.

Memory care communities

Memory care communities are specialised settings designed for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

They provide a secure environment, memory-enhancing activities, and specialised care for residents experiencing memory-related challenges.

Available care services in housing with care

Housing with care models are designed to provide a broad spectrum of care services tailored to the unique needs and preferences of each individual. Understanding the available services is vital for social workers to ensure their clients receive the appropriate care and live fulfilling lives within these settings.

Below, we provide a detailed overview of the available care services in housing with care, categorised into personal care, healthcare, and social activities.

Personal care

Healthcare services:

These services include medical check-ups, on-site nurses or doctors, and access to healthcare facilities.

Health monitoring

Healthcare professionals or on-site nurses conduct regular health assessments and monitoring. This ensures that residents’ medical conditions are closely tracked and managed effectively. Routine health checks help identify and address any emerging health issues.

Chronic illness management

Housing with care models often provide specialised care and services for individuals with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, or respiratory conditions. This can include regular check-ups, medication adjustments, and lifestyle management to help manage chronic health conditions effectively.

Rehabilitation services

Housing with care settings offer rehabilitation services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. These services help residents regain or maintain their functional abilities, which is especially important for individuals recovering from surgery or experiencing physical limitations.

Palliative and end-of-life care

For individuals with advanced illnesses, housing with care settings can offer palliative and end-of-life care. This care focuses on providing comfort, symptom management, emotional support, and maintaining a dignified quality of life during the final stages of life.
Palliative care professionals work closely with residents and their families to provide compassionate end-of-life care.

Social activities

Housing with care options often feature a calendar of social events and activities to keep residents engaged and connected.

Housing with care models prioritise community engagement through various social activities. Residents have opportunities to participate in activities such as exercise classes, arts and crafts, games, and outings. These activities promote social interaction, reduce isolation, and contribute to emotional and social wellbeing.

Cultural and recreational programmes

Housing with care communities often organise cultural events and recreational programmes, allowing residents to pursue their hobbies and interests. These programmes enrich residents’ lives and offer opportunities for personal growth and fulfilment.

Community integration

Housing with care settings encourage residents to be active participants in the community. They may organise events, workshops, and outings that involve the broader community, fostering connections with neighbours and local organisations.

Guest accommodations

Some housing with care communities provide guest rooms or accommodations where family and friends can stay when visiting residents. This supports social connections and allows residents to maintain strong bonds with their loved ones.

Emotional and psychological support

Home maintenance and support

Transportation services

Transportation assistance

Housing with care settings may offer transportation services to help residents reach medical appointments, go shopping, or attend social events. This ensures that individuals can stay connected with their communities.

Understanding these available care services is essential for social workers as they assess their clients’ care needs and preferences. By tailoring care plans to each individual’s requirements, social workers can ensure that their clients receive the right level of support and maintain a high quality of life in housing with care settings.

Guidelines on assessing and accessing care needs and selecting appropriate housing with care models

As a social worker, your role in assessing care needs and selecting suitable housing with care options for your clients is pivotal in ensuring they receive the best possible care and support. To guide you through this process, below are detailed guidelines to follow.

Comprehensive assessment

  • Social workers should conduct thorough assessments of an individual’s care needs, including physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects.
    Consult with healthcare professionals, including physicians and specialists, to gain a complete understanding of their medical requirements.

Collaborate with healthcare providers

  • Work closely with healthcare providers to understand the medical needs of your clients. This collaboration is essential in assessing the level of healthcare services required within the housing with care setting.

Client-centred approach

  • Work with your client and care providers to develop personalised care plans by engaging in open, client-centred conversations with your clients. Actively listen to their preferences, values, and goals. Understand their unique needs, lifestyle choices, routines and expectations.

Financial evaluation

  • Assess your client’s budget and financial resources. Determine their ability to cover the costs associated with housing with care.
  • Explore funding options, government assistance, and financial aid available to them.

Location and accessibility

  • Consider the location of housing with care options. Evaluate proximity to essential services, including medical facilities, shopping centres, and public transportation. Ensure that the chosen location is accessible and convenient for your client’s needs.

Emotional wellbeing

  • Assess your client’s emotional and social wellbeing. Determine their need for social engagement, recreational activities, and emotional support. Housing with care settings with robust social and recreational programmes can greatly contribute to their wellbeing.

Consider care models

  • Familiarise yourself with the different housing with care models available, such as assisted living, extra care housing, retirement villages, hospice care, and dementia care housing. Each model caters to specific care needs and lifestyles.

Safety and security

  • Evaluate the safety and security features of housing with care options under consideration. Ensure that they have appropriate security measures and emergency response systems in place to guarantee residents’ safety.

Tour the facilities

  • Whenever possible, visit housing with care facilities with your clients to assess the environment. Examine the living spaces, communal areas, and the overall atmosphere. Ensure that the facilities are well-maintained and provide a comfortable and welcoming environment.

Consult with experts

  • Seek advice and insights from experts in the field of housing with care, including experienced social workers, care providers, and administrators. Their knowledge can help guide your decision-making process and provide valuable perspectives.

Review contracts and agreements

  • Carefully review the contracts, agreements, and terms of residence for housing with care options. Pay close attention to the terms and conditions, including costs, services provided, and any additional fees.

Consider future needs

  • Anticipate your client’s potential future care needs. While the selected housing with care option should meet their current requirements, it’s important to assess whether it can accommodate changes in care needs or health conditions.

Legal and ethical considerations

  • Ensure that your selection adheres to all legal and ethical standards in the care industry. Comply with regulatory guidelines and ensure that the chosen housing with care model operates within the bounds of these standards.

Involve the family

  • Engage family members in the decision-making process. Their input can provide additional insights and support your client’s transition into housing with care.

Evaluate feedback and reviews

  • Research and evaluate feedback and reviews from residents and their families regarding the housing with care options. This firsthand information can offer valuable insights into the quality of care and services provided.
  • By following these comprehensive guidelines, you can ensure that your clients make informed decisions, and the housing with care model selected aligns with their unique needs, preferences, and budget. Your expertise and dedication as a social worker is instrumental in helping individuals transition into housing with care models that enhance their quality of life and overall wellbeing.

Recommendations for supporting individual’s emotional wellbeing and quality of life in housing with care settings

As a social worker, your role in promoting emotional wellbeing and enhancing the quality of life for individuals in housing with care settings is essential. Here are comprehensive recommendations, guidance, and tips to excel in this crucial aspect of care.

Individualised care plans

Develop personalised care plans that prioritise emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Tailor these plans to each individual’s unique needs, preferences, and goals.

Person-centred approach

Embrace a person-centred approach to care. Focus on individuals’ strengths, desires, and capabilities, ensuring they have a say in their care and daily routines. Empower them to make choices.

Active listening

Create a safe, non-judgmental space for clients to express their thoughts and emotions. Practice active listening to understand their concerns and provide empathetic support.

Emotional support

Be available to offer emotional support by providing a platform for clients to discuss their concerns, fears, and anxieties. Be a source of comfort, understanding, and reassurance during challenging times.

Social engagement

Encourage and facilitate social engagement within the housing with care community. Organize group activities, outings, and events that promote social interactions and combat loneliness.

Support networks

Help clients build support networks within the community. Encourage them to form friendships and bonds with fellow residents. These connections can provide emotional stability and a sense of belonging.

Recreation and activities

Promote engagement in recreational and leisure activities that align with clients’ interests. Ensure there are diverse options for entertainment and hobbies within the housing with care setting.

Holistic care

Take a holistic approach to care by addressing physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. Ensure that emotional health receives as much attention as physical health in care plans.

Self-care education

Educate clients on the importance of self-care. Encourage them to engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation. Self-care routines can significantly improve emotional wellbeing.

Family and community involvement

Engage clients’ families and the broader community. Encourage visits, participation in community events, and maintaining connections with loved ones. These connections are vital for emotional support.

Counselling services

Explore the availability of counselling services within the Housing with Care setting. If available, encourage residents to seek counselling for emotional and psychological support when needed.

Monitoring and assessment

Regularly monitor and assess clients’ emotional wellbeing. Look for signs of loneliness, depression, or other emotional challenges. Address any issues promptly and proactively.

Open communication

Maintain open and transparent communication with clients and their families. Keep them informed about changes, activities, and services in the housing with care community.

Empowerment and choices

Empower clients to make choices regarding their daily routines and activities. Choices can lead to increased satisfaction and a greater sense of control.

Celebrate achievements

Recognise and celebrate clients’ achievements, no matter how small. These celebrations boost self-esteem and contribute to a positive outlook on life.

Training and education

Stay updated with training and education on emotional wellbeing and mental health support. This knowledge equips you with the tools to provide effective care.

Collaborate with specialists

Collaborate with mental health specialists and therapists when necessary. If a client requires specialised emotional support, ensure they have access to the appropriate professionals.


Advocate for the emotional wellbeing of clients within the housing with care community. Ensure that the environment supports emotional health and quality of life.
By following these recommendations, guidance, and tips, you can provide comprehensive support to enhance the emotional wellbeing and overall quality of life for individuals in housing with care settings. Your dedication as a social worker plays a vital role in ensuring that your clients lead fulfilling and emotionally healthy lives within these communities.

Information on funding options and financial support for housing with care

As a social worker, understanding the funding options and financial support available for housing with care is essential to assisting individuals in assessing their needs and selecting suitable models.

There are several avenues for funding housing with care, depending on individual circumstances and care needs. Below is a detailed overview of these options.

Costs associated with housing with care

Funding options and financial support

Non-profit organisations, grants and charities

There are several charitable organisations, non-profits, and grants that offer financial support for housing with care and related care services. These organisations may provide grants, subsidies, or financial assistance to individuals or families in need. Here are some notable charitable organisations that may offer such support.

Here are some notable charitable organisations that may offer such support:

The Anchor Foundation
The Anchor Foundation provides grants to support the care and housing needs of older people. They focus on projects that enhance the quality of life, housing, and care services for older individuals.

The Care Workers Charity
While not specifically for housing with care, this charity provides financial support to care workers and their families during times of need. If a care worker is involved in housing with care, they may indirectly benefit from this support.

The Talisman Charitable Trust
This charity offers grants to organisations and individuals involved in caring for and supporting older people, including those in housing with care settings.

Masonic Charitable Foundation
This foundation supports various charitable causes, including those related to older people and health and wellbeing. They may provide grants to organisations involved in housing with care.

The Leathersellers’ Company Charitable Fund
This fund offers financial support to organisations providing housing and care services, including those focusing on older people.

The Hospital Saturday Fund
This charity provides grants to individuals with disabilities, as well as organisations that offer health and social services. Housing with care initiatives may qualify for support.

The Henry Smith Charity
While not specific to housing with care, this charity provides grants to organisations that improve the lives of disadvantaged people, including older individuals in need of care and support.

The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust
This trust provides grants for various charitable projects, including those related to health and social care. Organisations involved in housing with care may be eligible.

The Laing Family Trusts
This organisation supports charitable projects related to social care and services for older people, among other areas. Housing with care initiatives that benefit older individuals may be considered for support.

The Barchester Healthcare Foundation
Offers grants to individuals and small community groups working to improve the quality of life for older people.

The Later Life Grant
Offers small grants to organisations that support older people.

The Woodward Charitable Trust
Supports projects that aim to improve the quality of life for older people.

It is essential to note that eligibility criteria, application processes, and the availability of financial support may vary among these organisations.

Individuals and social workers should contact these organisations directly or visit their websites for detailed information on how to apply for financial support related to housing with care. Additionally, it may be beneficial to explore local charitable organisations in your specific area, as some may offer support at a regional level.


Housing with care represents a transformative model that empowers individuals with care needs to maintain their independence while receiving the support they require. As social workers, your role is pivotal in understanding the diverse housing with care models, assessing care needs comprehensively, and providing emotional support. Familiarity with funding options is essential to ensure that housing with care is accessible to all who need it. This knowledge equips you to provide the highest level of guidance and support, ensuring the wellbeing and quality of life of your clients in housing with care settings. You have the power to make a profound difference in their lives.


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