Sheltered housing and care for older people: Perspective of tenants and scheme managers

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Sheltered housing schemes for older people took a new turn in the UK with the community care policy of the early 1990s with care provision for people living in such schemes. There is relatively little research on what sheltered housing schemes provide and what makes them work well. Data was gathered in relation to sheltered housing provision for older people in the north Antrim area of Northern Ireland through ten focus groups with tenants and sixteen questionnaires administered with managers of schemes. Tenants valued the independence and choice of sheltered housing by comparison with institutional care. They also valued highly the social interaction with other tenants, fostered by such as coffee mornings, regular lunches and social activities. Tenants often helped each other with transport and when sick. Tenants of schemes in small towns were generally satisfied, because of access to shops, churches and other services. Transport was an issue for many, particularly in more rural areas and in relation to attending hospital appointments. Scheme managers were often available to tenants for long and anti-social hours. The home care arrangements were generally regarded as satisfactory although there were criticisms of the limited hours for tasks and the skills of some care workers. Some scheme managers thought that the publicly-funded homecare service would be more efficient if the staff were managed from the housing scheme. Appropriate social activities and effective care arrangements are an important aspect of supported housing, as well as the independence that it offers. Consideration needs to be given to access to services in locating new schemes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
JournalQuality in Ageing and Older Adults
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2009


  • Community care
  • elder care
  • home care services
  • housing for the elderly
  • supported housing
  • sheltered housing.


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