Housing Options Guide 5

Section 5. Housing that suits your needs

We want to help people stay in their own homes and communities for as long as possible, and as long as they want to.  This means it is important that your home is suitable for your needs.  There are a range of housing types available, and this section provides information on housing options for those with specific needs and their families and carers.

Housing types

Barrier free housing

Barrier free housing is suitable for people who may have some mobility problems and may need extra features such as level outside access.  These properties can sometimes include two storey properties.  All homes built by social landlords since 1998 should comply with the Housing for Varying Needs design guide.  This sets out standards for mainstream housing to achieve a 'barrier free' design. This makes sure homes are flexible to meet the changing needs of households, including those with temporary or permanent disabilities.  

Although these homes will offer an element of choice for some households, they will not provide the specific access that may be needed by older people, or additional space needed by wheelchair users. 

Wheelchair accessible housing

Wheelchair accessible housing can be purpose built, or adapted, to provide features that allow a wheelchair user to live as independently as possible.  Common features are level outside access, carports, wider hallways and doorways, accessible bathrooms or shower rooms, and kitchen units, light switches and heating controls all within reach.  This housing should comply with the Housing for Varying Needs design guide section that is related to wheelchair users, and should be completely step-free.  In Moray, most wheelchair accessible housing is owned by the council or housing associations.

Amenity housing

Amenity housing may also be referred to as medium dependency housing.  These properties are particularly suited for active older people over the age of 55, or those with a medical need that require suitably designed accommodation.  The accommodation can be flats or houses but flats will not usually be any higher than two floors or will have a lift.  They may feature grab rails, level access showers, lower baths and higher level electric sockets. Amenity housing is self contained and does not usually have a warden service but some residents may have telecare or a home carer.  

Sheltered housing

Sheltered housing usually consists of one or two bedroomed properties built as part of a complex, or as bungalows or cottages contained in one location.  Housing support is usually available as a chargeable warden service at whatever level the resident wishes.  Sheltered housing is used to provide housing for older people, but may be available to younger households in need of extra support or those with specific disabilities.

The warden service will be available during the daytime to check on the welfare of clients and in case of any emergencies.  They will check every day to make sure that clients are safe and well, and may co-ordinate social activities within the communal areas of the housing complex.  Sheltered housing may be co-located with day care facilities.  In Moray, most sheltered housing is owned by us or a local housing association.

You can find out more about sheltered housing and read our sheltered housing tenants' handbook on our dedicated webpage.

Very sheltered housing

Very sheltered housing can also be called extra care housing.  It allows older people or those with disabilities to keep their independence and privacy, whilst making sure they have the required care and support.  It usually consists of small individual housing units built as part of a complex to house people who are in greater need of housing support and community care  It is likely to have communal facilities and social activities on offer for residents.  Day care services are provided from these facilities.  There is often a dining room with an optional meals service.  In Moray, most very sheltered housing is owned by housing associations.

Residential homes

Residential homes are for people who need more care and support than just housing support.  They are fully staffed homes in which residents will usually have a single room with an en-suite toilet and wash-basin.  Staff are available 24 hours a day to help with personal care such as dressing and washing when needed, and to care for residents during short periods of illness.  Residential homes have communal lounge areas where residents can meet, and there are often activities and opportunities for social interaction.

Nursing homes

Nursing homes are similar to residential homes but have a higher level of staffing due to the greater medical needs of the residents. Qualified nurses are on hand at all times to deal with any medical emergencies.  Nursing homes provide the highest level of care for older people outside of a hospital setting.  The staff will provide help with getting in and out of bed, feeding, bathing, dressing and medication. 

Supported accommodation

Supported accommodation generally refers to houses or flats where residents live together with their own single or twin rooms.  It is mostly used for people with learning or physical disabilities, or young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who need tenancy support. They have support staff that help them with cooking, cleaning and general independent living and homemaking skills.  There will usually be a staff member on a sleep-over duty so that the accommodation is staffed at all times in case of emergencies. 

Use the following links for more information on:

5a. Assessing your needs

5b. Disabled adaptations to your home

5c. Finding a new home to meet your needs

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