Housing options for older people

The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 came into effect on 1 April 2015 and aims to improve an individual’s wellbeing and independence by giving greater control and influence to those in need of support.

If you would like a little extra help, but don’t wish to move from your home, visit the People First website for further advice about staying in your own home or for more information on the Care Act.

We also have a number of housing options, services and schemes available for older people listed below.

1. Community alarm

A community alarm works by having a pendant alarm that is worn round your neck, or alternatively worn like a watch on your wrist. If you become unwell, or have a fall and cannot get up, you can activate an alarm by pressing the pendant. This goes through to a central office where someone can talk to you and find out what the problem is. The office is open 24 hours a day. Your alarm call to the central office will be answered within 30 seconds.

What you need

You must have a landline (BT type) telephone and an electric socket nearby. You should choose 2 people who are willing to hold your door keys, who should live locally or within a reasonable distance. If you don't have anyone who can be a keyholder for you, this can be arranged for you again by a central office, the Emergency Response Office.

How to get one

Call us at Senior Passport on 020 7641 1444 and ask to speak to the care management team
Or you can contact the link alarm office on 020 7641 4528 to request an alarm, but you must have your own keyholders.

There may be circumstances when you want to purchase your own community alarm and keyholding service without an assessment, or have been assessed as not eligible for services and would still like an alarm. You can organise this through the emergency response team on 020 7641 4065.There will be a charge for this service provision.


If you are assessed as eligible for services under our FACs criteria from Westminster's Adult Services Department  you will not pay extra for the community alarm. If you choose to have an alarm installed yourself  without an assessment you will pay a charge. The cost is currently £38.19 for a 3-month period. If you purchase your own alarm and keyholding service, there is currently an additional charge of £10 a month for this service.

2. Home care

Some examples of the home care services that a home carer can provide you if you are having difficulty being independent at home are:

  • laundry
  • shopping
  • preparing a meal
  • bathing
  • helping you to dress help to get in and out of bed
  • home meals

Home care services are usually provided by Housing 21 and Anchor Care on behalf of Westminster Council. They provide care between 7am and 9pm each day. We also work with other agencies to provide carers if necessary -including agencies that have carers who speak specific languages

There is also a specialist service for one off intensive cleaning in some circumstances, should this be agreed on assessment.

How to get home care

You will need to have an assessment of your needs. This assessment is free of charge.


You will be assessed to pay for the home care service, and the amount you pay will be based on your income and savings after all relevant factors have been taken into account.

If you are entitled to receive care, you may prefer to receive direct payments to pay for your own care rather than use the care provided by social services.

Alternatively, you can contact care agencies directly yourself.

3. Home adaptations

If you are a disabled person, a home adaptation can help to give you more freedom in and around your home, and to access essential facilities within it. Having your home adapted to your needs can mean that you can stay in your home rather than have to move elsewhere. Adaptations are usually the type of works where structural changes are needed to your home such as:

  • fitting a stair lift
  • replacing a bath with a walk in shower or fitting an over-bath shower
  • adapting your home for wheelchair use (eg widening doors, installing ramps or a ceiling track hoist)

Before we can arrange social services for you, you will need to have an assessment of your needs, either at home or in hospital before you return home. An assessment involves you and a member of our social care staff.

At the assessment, we will:

  • consider your and your carer's views and wishes
  • ensure that matters such as race, religion and language issues are taken into account in your assessment.
  • encourage you to have a friend, relative or someone else present to help you or speak for you if you wish
  • give you information about the services available and any charges involved

When you are assessed for social services we will ask you:                                         

  • what you think your needs are
  • what problems you are facing
  • what help you have now

If your needs are such that you require 24 hour care, the option of more supportive accommodation (a residential or nursing care home) might be something you wish to discuss at your assessment

We aim to start your assessment within 48 hours of you contacting us and complete your assessment within four weeks. You will receive a care plan detailing your needs and how they will be met, and you will be given a written copy of this.

Call us on 020 7641 1175 to get the process started. You will be asked about your situation and where you live.

You will not be charged for an assessment of your needs. However, if as a result of the assessment certain services are offered, you may be assessed to pay for these. 

4. Community supportive housing

If you are 60 years of age or over when you apply for housing, we will assess you to see if your needs could be met by either extra care or community supportive housing.

These schemes offer independent flats with varying degrees of support. You can choose whether or not to take advantage of these services, however many people enjoy the additional security that a sheltered or supported flat will offer.

Community supportive housing

These are self-contained flats but with a resident scheme manager who contacts each tenant subject to their support needs. The scheme managers liaise with social services and other agencies to ensure residents are able to live independently.  Most schemes have communal facilities such as a lounge, and a laundry service.  When the scheme manager is off duty all flats are linked to a 24-hour emergency alarm system. 

5. Seaside and country homes scheme

The seaside and country homes scheme is run by central government and provides bungalows and flats for older tenants who want to move out of the city to a seaside or country location.

The scheme has a portfolio of one and two bedroom flats and bungalows across the south and east of England, mostly in seaside towns or rural country areas.

In order to qualify, you must be an existing council or housing association tenant and be aged 60 years or above.

For more information on how to apply contact the housing moves team on 08450 21 20 20 or visit the website.

Do you think seaside and country homes might be for you?

Read about the experiences of Anne and Eileen, who both left London and moved to Brighton and the Isle of Wight via Seaside and Country Homes.


6. Extra care housing

A community supportive housing with a difference

This scheme offers an alternative for residents who are no longer able to live alone or in community supportive housing but do not want or need to go into residential accommodation. This scheme is ideally suited to residents who require a care package between 2 and 4 visits a day.  Residents still have their own self-contained flat, with a scheme manager on site. The extra care comes from a specially trained team of home carers who are on site daily.

7. Community support and outreach service

The aim of this scheme is to help older tenants to live independently in their own homes for as long as they are able and wish to do so. The community support and outreach officers maintain regular contact, act as advocates, and arrange appropriate support services.


8. The Advocacy Project

The Advocacy Project is a local, independent voluntary organisation based in Soho. The Advocacy Project helps older people say what they want, secure their rights and obtain services.

This includes helping people with housing issues, assisting in obtaining the care and support that is needed, or resolving social and commercial disputes.

The Advocacy Project has a wealth of experience advocating for older people. Take these recent case studies:

Mr White was referred to the Advocacy Project by the local corner shop where he was well known. He had been beaten up. It turned out that Mr White had memory loss and was totally unknown to any services. The Advocacy Project developed a relationship of trust with him and helped him to access health and social care.

Mrs Jones lived with her family in what had been her home. She was getting confused and was waking the children in the night to get up for school. The family couldn't cope and wanted her to go into residential care. Mrs Jones was adamant that she didn't want this. The Advocacy Project helped to mediate with the family and found a solution that suited them all. Mrs Jones was referred to a day care centre, got regular respite care and also benefited from a befriender to visit and spend time with her.

If you are over 60 and you think the Advocacy Project could help you, contact them. 

address: 73 St. Charles Square, London, W10 6EJ
email: info@advocacyproject.org.uk
telephone: 020 8969 3000


9. Decorating, repairs and DIY

There are many handyperson services available to older people including maintenance help or repairs. For more information please visit PeopleFirst.

Last updated: 4 January 2017
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