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Long-term care and support

Long-term care and support

There are a number of services that can support an adult with care and support needs.

Domiciliary care is care that is put in place to support someone in their own home. 

Domiciliary carers, also known as home carers, are professionals who help people live independently in their own homes through daily visits or multiple daily visits. They can assist with personal care, meal preparation, medication and other activities to help you to maintain a quality of life and independence. 

Domiciliary care might be suitable for you if you’re an adult aged 18 or over, with eligible care and support needs.

You may want to stay in a care home for a short time to give your carer a break from caring. This is sometimes known as ‘respite care’.

Extra care housing (sometimes called assisted or retirement living) is where you have your own individual self-contained flat or bungalow.

Extra care can provide you with the reassurance that flexible care and support is available, on-site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet your changing needs. Many schemes include a range of facilities and activities which are aimed at supporting your health, wellbeing and leisure interests.

Extra care housing is available to buy or rent. It can be provided by a local district council, housing association, charity or a private company.

Who extra care is for

Most extra care schemes are designed for people aged 55 or over who may require on-site support to continue to live independently in their own home.

Extra care is a popular choice among older people because it can provide an alternative to a care home. If you’re finding it difficult to manage in your current accommodation, and want to maintain your independence, this type of housing could be ideal for you.

Some extra care schemes are also suitable for younger adults with care and support needs who could benefit from the services/facilities that are available.

All extra care properties for purchase or part purchase/part rent have their own individual eligibility criteria.

Benefits of extra care

Extra care housing is designed to make it easier for you to live in your own home but provides you with much more than your own front door.

In addition to the communal facilities often found in sheltered/warden assisted housing such as residents' lounge, guest suite, laundry etc, extra care schemes provide a real sense of community and added security and can include:

  • a restaurant or dining room 
  • hobby rooms and computer rooms
  • health and fitness facilities 
  • hairdressers and beauty treatment rooms
  • a library

You can join in a variety of social and leisure activities as much or as little as you want to regardless of age or frailty, so you won’t be isolated.

Cost of extra care housing

You will need to pay your: 

  • rent or purchase costs
  • service charges which can vary depending on the location and range of services provided - they cover items such as maintenance, lighting and heating of communal areas and emergency lifeline/alarm systems
  • council tax, utilities (if not included in the rent), phone, food and other personal expenses
  • care and support costs for assistance with personal care or home care

Some private schemes (also known as retirement living) have buy-back options and other charges. These details should be provided in the purchaser’s pack from the housing provider or developer. Most schemes are leasehold and we recommend that you get independent advice on your rights and responsibilities before purchasing.

Supported living is: 

  • about having your own place to live, with the support you need
  • being independent with your own front door key
  • being able to live on your own or with friends
  • choosing to rent a home or own your own home
  • choosing where you live and who supports you

Supported living enables you to live an ordinary life and contribute to your community.

There are 2 parts to supported living:

  1. Help to find the most suitable home, whether it’s on your own or you share with other people
  2. The support you need to do the things you want to do and to live independently

The support you get builds on the things you can do and depends on what other support you have from your friends, family and the community.

Who supported living is for

Supported living might be suitable for you if you’re an adult aged 18 or over, with eligible care and support needs and have a physical disability, learning disability, autism or mental health problems.

There are 2 types of care homes:

  • residential care homes - offer 24 hour care and staff help with personal care such as washing, dressing, using the toilet and having meals
  • nursing homes - offer the same as residential care homes, plus 24 hour medical care from qualified nurses

Care homes can be run by: 

  • voluntary organisations and charities
  • private companies and individuals


Care homes provide: 

  • 24 hour care
  • your own room which you can personalise with your own furniture, pictures and ornaments
  • meals cooked for you and served in a dining area
  • communal lounges and gardens for socialising

Care homes vary in size – from smaller homes for just a few people to larger homes that can accommodate more than 100 people.

Who care homes are for

Care homes can provide support for older and younger people with a range of conditions, such as:

  • dementia
  • mental health problems
  • sensory impairments (deaf, hard of hearing, blind and deafblind)
  • significant learning disabilities
  • autistic spectrum disorder
  • alcohol and drug problems
  • eating disorders

What care homes cost

Care homes can be very costly. 

If you’re being funded by West Northants Council, our standard residential rate for the period from April 2023 to 31 March 2024 is £861 per week. However where an individual has more complex needs, we may pay up to £919 per week. 

For a nursing care placement we will pay a standard rate of £900 per week or £1,022 for more complex needs.

If you’re funding your own care, you can choose your own care home.

You should make a list of local homes and visit a few to get an idea of what they’re like.

It’s worth taking time to find the right home. Try to visit the home to have a look round and talk to staff members. Some homes may invite you to spend the day there so that you can get a feel of what it’s like. You may be able to move in on a trial basis before you decide whether to stay.

Age UK have information and advice on what to look for when choosing a residential care home, including a checklist to download.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspects all care homes in England and Wales. We strongly recommend that you visit the CQC website to search for a named care home or homes in a particular area to check their rating and most recent inspection report.

Some care homes can be registered and open for more than a year (or longer) before a CQC inspection/rating.

Search the NHS Choices website for:

Last updated 13 November 2023