Living Independently in Essex – A Guide to Options Available

Living Independently in Essex – A Guide to Options Available

If your elderly relative is struggling at home, then maybe it is worth considering a different living arrangement – and care homes are not the only option. There are plenty of housing options designed specifically for older people who need some more support, but want to keep their independence.

There are many reasons why your relative may not want to continue living in their current home, such as upkeep and cleaning, gardening, lack of transport links and isolation. This page will guide you through the options available for older people in Essex that are considering other housing options, but want to continue to live independently.

If you are looking for ways of making alterations to your relative’s home to make it safer, you may want to read our page on Living Independently at Home in Essex.

Find a Helper to help around the house with Good Life Sorted.

Good Life Sorted will introduce you to a local Helper to take on any tasks you might need help with from companionship to cooking, from light cleaning to running errands.

Downsizing in Essex

Garden upkeep in a large garden is a reason some people may choose to downsize in Essex.

Downsizing or moving to a single-storey home is a solution for some older people. It allows them to continue living independently, while taking care of some of the issues associated with a larger home, such as stairs, gardening and housework.

There are also financial benefits to downsizing, as a smaller home will often be less expensive than the one being sold. This can be particularly helpful if you think you may need to free up capital for future care costs.

You can look at our Tips For Helping Elderly Parents Downsize for more advice.

NHS Services

Proximity to healthcare services is one of the most important things to consider when choosing where to move to, especially if your relative has regular appointments. You can consult our page on Elderly Care Services in Essex to help consider your options.


Transport should also be taken into account when choosing a new home in Essex. Particularly when people stop driving, having good community and public transport links can make a real difference. To find out more about transport support for older people in Essex, look at our guides on Essex Community Transport and Patient Transport Schemes.

Home Care Services in Essex

Essex has a great number of home care providers across the county that can offer an alternative to care homes or sheltered housing if your relative isn’t ready to leave the independence of their own home. Home care services can offer support with household chores, like cooking and tidying up, as well as helping your relative to get up or dress in the morning.

You can visit our Home Care Directory for Essex to browse through options across the county. Age Space also has specific directories for Basildon or Colchester which can be useful if one of these is in your locality.

Sheltered Housing in Essex

Sheltered housing is accommodation that is specifically designed for older people who want to continue living in a home of their own, but need some extra help and support. Usually, this takes the form of a self-contained flat within a larger shared building, featuring some communal facilities.

Most sheltered housing accommodations offer on-going care support from a property manager and their staff, as well as communal social spaces, dining areas, and activities for residents.

Sheltered Housing is offered by local councils in Essex, dependent on the outcome of a care needs assessment. You can find out more about this from our guide on How to Book a Care Needs Assessment in Essex. Visit the housing page of your relative’s local authority website to find out more about applying for sheltered housing. Links to the housing pages of each council can be found below.

If you are looking at buying or renting sheltered housing privately, you can search for sheltered housing properties in Essex using the website.

Independent Living Housing in Essex

Housing options for elderly people in EssexIndependent Living Housing, also known as Extra Care housing, is for people aged 55 or over with care needs that want to stay independent. These properties provide 24-hour care, security and support onsite, as well as activities and social events. You can find out more about the Independent Living Housing scheme in Essex from the Independent Essex website.

To qualify for Independent living and extra care housing in Essex, your relative must be aged 55+, live in a district offering the scheme, or have a connection to the area and require at least 6 hours of care and support each week.

If you are unsure if your relative would be eligible for independent living housing in Essex, the best thing to do is contact the housing team of your relative’s local council. Links to the housing page of each local authority can be found below.

Essex Retirement Housing

Retirement housing is similar to sheltered housing, but with less care available and a greater focus on communal living. Generally speaking, retirement homes offer the opportunity to rent or buy a room or apartment within a larger complex or building with some shared facilities. Retirement homes differ from nursing homes in that there is less nursing care immediately available to residents.

Many retirement homes request that potential residents undergo a care needs assessment so that can check if they are able to meet the resident’s care needs. You can search for retirement homes in Essex from the website.

Private Retirement Housing

Retirement villages are an increasingly popular option for older people. They offer the independence of a private home, but have communal facilities and a sense of community. As a carer, you also have the peace of mind that your relative is living somewhere custom-built to serve the needs of elderly people. Below, you can find out more about two retirement villages in Essex.

The Hawthorns, Braintree

Hawthorns offer meals, activities, excursions, housekeeping, bills, Wi-Fi and parking, as well as building and garden upkeep as part of the monthly fees your relative would pay. Located close to Braintree, it is nearby to local amenities as well as the Essex countryside.

Moat Park, Great Dunmow

Moat Park is an age-exclusive retirement village near Great Dunmow, giving great access to the Essex countryside. There are a range of property types available and several communal facilities, including a central clubhouse, dining area, bar, lounge, library and ornamental lake.