Living independently gets more and more difficult as we get older. We can find our eyesight and hearing dampening, our mobility suffering and we can easily lose track of everyday objects, like our keys.
Moving into a residential care home can seem like a big step and luckily, it doesn’t always have to be the next one. There are plenty of alternative, independent living options across Norfolk that can be considered first.
Getting Help from the EAC
The Elderly Accommodation Council (EAC) is a national charity that aims to help elderly people make informed choices about meeting their housing care needs.
On their site, you can find their Housing Options for Older People (HOOP) Tool, which is a questionnaire designed to establish the issues that your relative might be facing and offer advice or direct you to specific support services based on the results. This could mean signposting you towards local home adaptation services or sheltered housing options in your local area.
Downsizing in Norfolk
There comes a point when getting around is a little more difficult and elderly people won’t feel able to drive anymore. Ensuring that your relative has accessible public transport links is incredibly important to make sure they don’t feel isolated and overly dependent.
For up to date bus travel information, you can visit Norfolk County Council’s page on Bus Timetables & Operators. This will help to plan journeys and see what routes are available for you locally.
- Local Community Transport in Norfolk
- Patient Transport Services in Norfolk
Sheltered Housing in Norfolk
Sheltered Housing is a great option for maintaining an older person’s independence and freedom, but with the addition of regular check-ups and care assistance. This allows their family and friends to have more peace of mind regarding their welfare at all times.
People who are over 60 years of age are able to buy and rent houses or flats within dedicated, self-contained areas that have communal facilities. They are regularly visited (often daily) by a ‘scheme manager’ who will advise residents, ensure communal areas are well kept and arrange any necessary maintenance.
Sheltered Housing also usually has a 24-hour emergency alarm system for residents to use if they need immediate assistance, for example a fall or other injury.
Residents will have to pay service charges on top of their usual bills, which can be a major downside for many, so should be carefully weighed up against the positives of the care provided. This will not include medical or personal care.
Most of the individual district councils in Norfolk have their own specific housing schemes laid out on their website. Follow the link below to whichever suits your own locality:
If your local district council is not listed (Breckland, North Norfolk, South Norfolk), or for more options, you can visit Norfolk County Council’s Housing With Care site for detailed information on sheltered accommodation options across the county.
Norfolk Retirement Homes
Retirement Homes’ primary difference from Sheltered Housing is that they are intended exclusively for older people. They still won’t have any care facilities included, but have an estate manager to deal with any maintenance and upkeep.
The facilities will vary a fair amount depending on how much you are willing to spend, should you choose to go privately. Some schemes will even have more luxurious, communal facilities available, such as swimming pools, restaurants or large gardens on the property.
When you begin looking into renting a retirement home, there can be some confusing terminology regarding the lease length. Usually, retirement housing can be offered under a lease length of 99 years. This is simply to ensure that an elderly person will never have to worry about moving again before they need or choose to.
Extra Care Housing
In the event that your relative requires more care, but still wishes to maintain their independence instead of looking at residential or nursing care homes, Extra Care Housing can be a suitable option.
These schemes are largely similar to sheltered housing and retirement homes, but with on-site care support staff and domestic services.
For access to Extra Care Housing, the elderly person in question will need to take a care needs assessment in Norfolk to both establish their eligibility and suitability. Equally, they must also have a housing need, meaning their current residence is no longer suitable.
Although having the possibility of being beneficial, it should be noted that Extra Care Housing can be extremely hard to access with limited spaces available. Your relative could easily have care needs that are too high or too low. Service charges are also significantly more expensive than with other available schemes