Options for Older People

These include sheltered housing, almshouses, extra-care and supported housing.

Sheltered housing

Sheltered housing is accommodation specifically designed for older people (or younger disabled people) to allow them to live independently. It usually consists of self-contained flats with communal facilities. In most cases, it's available to people aged over 60, although some schemes may be open to those over 55 years old. Sheltered accommodation can be bought or rented, either by individuals or couples. 

To apply for sheltered housing in Mendip, you will need to make an application through Homefinder Somerset.

Extra care housing

Extra care housing combines accommodation with care and support services. There are many different types of extra care housing, from small communities of flats and bungalows to retirement villages. The facilities and care provided will vary, but extra care housing schemes usually include:

  • self-contained adapted flats or bungalows
  • on-site care and support staff, providing personal care and domestic services
  • emergency alarms throughout the scheme, with 24-hour help available
  • communal facilities and services, such as a lounge, dining area and garden.

To apply for extra care housing in Mendip, you will need to make an application through Homefinder Somerset, but please note that provision is very limited.


Almshouses are run by small, independent charitable trusts, many of them established hundreds of years ago and with many of the buildings now listed for their architectural merit. Each charity has its own rules determining which older people it can house and is run by a board of Trustees. For example, some were set up specifically for the workers of a particular local trade or for those in a certain parish. The Almshouse Association manages a list of local Almshouses and contact details.


Abbeyfield offer older people supported living arrangements that are similar to extra care. They also run care homes, some of which offer nursing care or specialist facilities for people with dementia. A key element of Abbeyfield is to address loneliness and so most Abbeyfield houses have a live in house manager and shared main meals. You can search the Abbeyfield site for vacancies.