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Housing options for retirement accommodation

04 January 2016

Anyone taking a proactive approach to planning their retirement will need to know exactly what accommodation and housing options are open to them.

Mature couple considering options
Anyone planning their retirement will need to know what housing options are open to them

Depending on their personal circumstances, requirements and preferences, there are several housing choices for people nearing or enjoying retirement that are not necessarily available to other people.

Your current home

There is, of course, the very straightforward option of remaining in your current home. Although, if your home was originally chosen to accommodate a growing family that has since flown the nest, it might be worth assessing whether you are still happy with its size, layout or garden.

Retirement villages

These are purpose-built developments that can vary in size to create a village-style community. 

They can provide accommodation of different types, sometimes a mix of apartments, bungalows or houses, for residents typically over 55 or 60 years of age (the age restriction can depend on planning requirements). 

Retirement village homes are self-contained and there are often dining or leisure facilities provided too. The homes in such developments are generally sold as leasehold properties, although some may be available to rent, depending on the village operator.

Sheltered housing

Sheltered housing consists of self-contained flats or houses that have a manager or warden who often lives on the premises. It is common for sheltered housing to offer a 24-hour emergency alarm system too. 

The size of a sheltered housing site can vary from a single building divided into compact residential units, to a collection of flats and houses in one specific location.


Moving into a smaller home has long been a popular option for people whose children have flown the nest. Small homes in the UK, particularly those built pre-1960, might be perfect size-wise but can lack functional space, natural light and high ceilings. 

If you are looking to ‘downsize’, make sure that wherever you are moving to is not simply smaller, but is appropriate for your lifestyle.

Find out more about downsizing.

House sharing

The option of moving in with relatives, be that your children or a sibling, will depend on the size of the home to be shared. Some families pool resources to find a new property to suit two or three generations. 

It might not be possible to share with a family member, so you could consider the idea with a like-minded friend.

Read more about the pros and cons of living with your family.

Park homes

Park homes are also known as mobile homes. These bungalow-style or single storey lodges are typically available in rural settings or parks. They provide homes on a private estate, some of which are designated specifically for people who have retired, and offer a community atmosphere. 

Residents generally buy the building and rent the land on which they sit. You can live in a park home all year round.

Care homes

If you have any severe medical or mobility issues, a care home might be an option to bear in mind. At a care home, residents have their own private room and there are communal areas, such as a dining room and lounge. Different homes can offer different levels of care. 

A care home is likely to provide assistance with washing, dressing and administering medication, whereas a nursing home will also have qualified nurses on hand day and night. Some care homes may specialise in providing particular forms of care for specific medical issues.

Can you avoid care home fees?

Retirement Living Guide

For further information about retirement living and how to find your perfect home, download and read our complete guide to Retirement Living and Villages.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.