What Is The Difference Between Sheltered Accommodation and A Care Home?

We often hear that people searching for suitable accommodation for their elderly parents or themselves don’t understand the difference between sheltered accommodation and a care home.

It is very understandable, as they have a lot of similarities like the security of self-contained flats, the safety of support staff and a sociable environment. In this blog, we outline the main differences between sheltered accommodation and a care home so you can choose which one is most suitable for you.

What Is Sheltered Accommodation?

Sheltered accommodation, otherwise known as sheltered housing, provides people over the age of 55 or 60 with self-contained flats or bungalows often within a community of other elderly residents.

Some sheltered housing has live-in wardens who provide support and check on people and 24-hour alarm systems in case you trip and fall. Many have communal areas such as gardens, laundry rooms, kitchens and lounges for social gatherings. Extra care schemes like assisted living are similar to sheltered housing, but there is a higher level of support and help with personal care for those who need it.

What Is A Care Home?

A care home, sometimes known as a residential home, provides living accommodation, which includes a room (usually en-suite), meals, and help with personal care, such as washing, dressing, and going to the toilet.

Staff will give care during normal short illnesses, but do not provide nursing care. They can be run by private companies or by local councils.

The Differences Between Sheltered Housing And A Care Home

As previously mentioned, they are similar, but if you look into their differences, you will understand what level of care and service is provided.  


Sheltered housing operates like any typical rental property. It can cost anywhere from £300 to £700 per month, depending on the area you live in. There are extra charges for the support, starting from around £90 per month upwards. These cover the services provided by the emergency alarm service and/or the scheme manager.

When compared with the average price of a care home, it is substantially less money. Care homes can be as much as £700 per week. (depending on the location and services provided). The average is around £28,500 per year.


This is another relatively easy difference to judge. A benefit of sheltered housing is the level of independence you are afforded. At Accent Housing we will often refer to sheltered housing as independent living. You enjoy the privacy of your own home and the ability to do what you want when you want. This is different to a care home where, although you are given some independence, you have someone there to look after and support you when you need it.

Health And Wellbeing

The main factor and difference between the two is the level of care, and that comes down to the health and wellbeing of the individual. Quality of life in the elderly is a good factor to base this judgement on – it ties in with nutrition and the ability to remain active.

Care homes hold the advantage as day to day tasks are taken care of by the staff, on the other hand, if you require less looking after, then sheltered housing is probably your best option.

Personal Space

Another difference is privacy and personal space. Typically, residents in care homes require more attention so privacy is minimal as staff are expected to care for patients 24/7, whereas sheltered housing gives you all the personal space one requires.

Accent Housing: Affordable Sheltered Housing

Accent Housing is a housing association - we have been providing homes and services for a diverse range of people since 1966. Accent Housing has more than 20,000 homes across England. They provide quality, affordable homes to suit your needs and improve your life.

We have a wide range of independent living schemes (sheltered housing) across the country, to find a scheme close to you choose from the options below:

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