The idea of a retirement home can carry bad connotations, often being thought of as a nursing home. But these days there are many types of retirement homes, ranging from those designed for individual living to proper nursing homes.
Retirement properties are akin to retirement villages, but in more urban settings. They consist of a small estate of purpose-built houses for the retired who can maintain independent lives, but also want the security of care close by.
The estate is usually made up of a mix of terraced bungalows, detached and semi-detached although there may also be some detached houses particularly on the more expensive estates. These properties will almost always be for purchase as a leasehold (as opposed to rental) and will provide some form of communal facilities like a club house.
Properties may have a patio or a small garden but the area between each property is communal garden. There will invariably be some form of warden on the estate, and service staff for cleaning; additionally some staff for providing meals and perhaps laundry.
Sheltered housing is similar to retirement estates, except that most properties are often run by a local authority rather than private companies, and are rented rather than bought. They don’t provide nursing care. Instead they offer an additional level of assistance in the form of a live-in warden, giving personal assistance that would not normally be available in a run of the mill block of retirement apartments. In the event of a resident needing proper nursing care then in most cases the management would be able to obtain it from an agency. Only a small proportion of those living in sheltered housing do eventually have to move into a residential nursing home.
Assisted living facilities are designed for people who wish to keep living independently, but who need assistance with several aspects of daily life, such as preparing meals, bathing, dressing, performing household chores, or when they’re confused or experiencing memory problems.
Many facilities have medical care available although it’s not at the same level as a nursing home. Assisted living isn’t meant as an alternative to a nursing home, but an intermediate level of long-term care appropriate for many seniors.
Facilities create a service plan for individuals when they are referred. This sets out the services required by the resident and guaranteed by the facility. The plan is updated regularly to assure that the resident receives the appropriate care as his or her condition changes.
There are a small but growing number of sites offering a full, in your own home care service, also referred to as close care communities. They are sometimes described as developments providing continuing care.
These developments have to operate under a licence from the local health authority in order to comply with the required standards or service and care. A nurse/manager is responsible for the overall care facility and for the day to day running of the organisation and would do this in conjunction with each resident’s own GP.
A nursing home is only for people requiring 24-hour care, and who can’t be looked after in other facilities or at home. Most homes are registered with the Registered Nursing Home Association. At least one first level nurse should be on duty at all times.
In some homes fees are paid by the state; others are privately run and payment comes from those being cared for or their families. If you are moving into a nursing home or residential care home with the assistance of Social Services, you will be expected to contribute towards the care home fees. Based on a national set of rules, your contribution will be calculated. If you have savings and capital of less than £12,250 you will not be expected to spend any of this on the costs of your care. If the NHS is arranging your care in hospital or in a nursing home, it will cover all costs.