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: upkeep and cleaning, gardening, lack of transport links, isolation and more. This page will guide you through what is out there 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 in order to make it safer, you may want to read our page on Living Independently at Home in Essex.

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 to live independently, while taking care of some of the issues associated with a larger home such as stairs, gardening, and cleaning.

There are also financial benefits to downsizing if the new home is 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 in to account when choosing a new home in Essex. Particularly when people stop driving, having good community and public transport links makes a real difference. To find out more about transport support for older people in Essex, look at our guides to Essex Community Transport and Patient Transport Schemes.

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 it takes the form of a self-contained flat within a larger shared building and with some communal facilities.

Most sheltered housing offers ongoing care support from a property or scheme manager and 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 page 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

Independent Living housing, also known as extra care housing, is for people aged 55 or over with care needs but 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.

Housing options for elderly people in Essex

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’s housing page 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/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 that they are able to meet the resident’s care needs. You can search for retirement homes in Essex from the website.

Private Retirement Villages

Retirement villages are an increasingly popular option for older people. They offer the privacy of a private home, but fantastic communal facilities and a real 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 older people. Below you can find out more about the 2 retirement villages in Essex.

The Hawthorns, Braintree

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

Visit Website
Telephone: 01376 794115

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 propertie types available, and a range of communal facilities including a central clubhouse, dining area, bar, lounge, library and ornamental lake.

Visit Website
: 01372 383950

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