By Nick Freeth, Managing Director, Retirement Homesearch

Retirees are often now staying in their homes for longer – reflecting advances in technology, health-care and life expectancy.

But for those who do make the move, the options have grown significantly and, whilst more choice is positive, it can fuel confusion too.

Many retirees and their families struggle to understand the difference between independent living (sometimes also referred to as sheltered housing), assisted living and care/nursing homes.

If you’re not sure about the different options, the Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) provides some really useful guidance, here.

We know from experience that often independent and assisted living is  mistaken for a care home setting, and, when it comes to making decisions about what option is best for you or a loved one, it’s is an important distinction that independent and assisted living developments do not provide the same level of services as you would get in a care home. While security, sociability and support are key features of these developments, they are designed for active, independent living within a protected environment where you can enjoy the company of other people your age.

We see time and time again people who don’t require a ‘care setting’ dismissing – and missing out on the benefits of – independent retirement living because they just don’t understand its value. On the flip side, many people sadly move into independent living developments totally misinformed about what they’re getting in their new home, and it’s always a concern to see people moving into properties that are not able to accommodate their needs.

To best serve the needs of older homeowners looking to downsize into retirement properties, Retirement Homesearch takes a different approach to that of a high street estate agent. We align closely with those that work in retirement developments – the people who know them inside out –  so we can explore each potential resident’s needs and wishes and make sure it’s right for them.

If you come to us interested in a retirement property, we will introduce you to the Development Manager. It might be that you then go and meet them, have a cup of tea at the development, and get a feel for what it’s like.  We think this is really important. We want to make sure potential residents and their families are making these significant purchasing decisions in the full knowledge of what the development can offer them, and what it cannot.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can pair you up with your prefect home, visit

Nick Freeth is Managing Director of Retirement Homesearch, Britain’s number one retirement property specialist.

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