Extra Care Housing could play a major part in delivering better health outcomes and reducing the long term care costs facing older people.

New research, which uses longitudinal data from three providers of Extra Care (Audley Retirement, Extra Care Charitable Trust, and Retirement Security Limited) finds that compared to those living in the community in receipt of domiciliary care, those in extra care housing are about half as likely to enter institutional accommodation. The research argues therefore that extra care accommodation is a ‘home for life’ – one that does successfully adapt to residents’ changing social care needs.

The research also finds that:

  • Around a quarter of residents who enter extra care with additional social care needs, later go on to experience an improvement in their health equating to a decrease in social care needs.
  • Extra care housing is associated with a lower likelihood of admittance to a hospital overnight compared to a matched sample living in the community.
  • A lower than expected number of falls was recorded in a matched comparison group when compared to those living in the community.

These findings suggest that extra care housing could contribute significant financial savings to the public purse, particularly when taking a long-term perspective.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said: “In publishing his recent report on paying for care, Andrew Dilnot recognised the importance of Extra Care housing. This new research provides further evidence that early investment in good quality housing could improve health and care outcomes and reduce costs. It is a win-win situation. We urge the Government to make specific pledges to support the development of the extra care housing as part of developing a range of housing options available to older people.”

Dr Dylan Kneale, Senior Researcher, ILC-UK added: “This report breaks new ground in researching the housing with care model, through using never before analysed longitudinal data on almost 4,000 extra care housing residents. In doing so, the report shows that extra care housing successfully lives up to the remit of providing housing for older people that can adapt to their changing needs.”

Jeremy Porteus, Director of Housing LIN, welcomed this excellent report. He said “This is an extremely important report that cuts across housing, health and social care sector silos. It makes a significant contribution to the growing body of evidence around the value of extra care housing and the triggers for older people wanting to make a positive lifestyle choice on independent living in later life or in response to or pre-empt a future health and care need. The macro economic benefits and the potential ‘dividend’ to local health and social care economies where there is an extra care scheme are enormous. Most importantly, extra care housing can offer a ‘home for life’ for many residents and reduce demand on more costly care interventions. Policy makers, commissioners and planners should take note.”

ILC-UK believes that:

1. Policy-makers need a co-ordinated response to providing housing, health care and social care for our ageing population.

2. Policy-makers should make specific pledges to increase the level of provision of extra-care housing.

3. The proposed National Planning Policy Framework should champion the housing needs of older people far more robustly.

4. Policy-makers should recognise and encourage private sector development of extra-care housing.

5. The Health White Paper in its current form does include some mention of housing, although this is in the context of Lifetime Homes and the Warm Front schemes, both of which have fallen by the policy wayside in recent months. The findings in this report suggest that policy-makers drafting the Health White Paper should explicitly consider and make specific pledges to increase the role of housing with care.

6. Policy-makers should enhance programmes of education for those who are retired and newly retired to plan their housing and financial futures. Furthermore, consumers need reassurance that policy changes will not negatively impact their retirement decisions.

7. Any National or Local Falls Prevention Strategy should include housing as a key component of preventing further falls.

8. Receipt of Attendance Allowance opens a gateway for many older people to access extra care housing, through helping to finance monthly care costs and to help access other benefits. We would urge policy-makers to ensure that all who are eligible to claim Attendance Allowance do so which could enable greater numbers of older people to support a stay in extra care housing.

9. We would call on policy-makers to fund the design and delivery of standard data collection across the sector to allow researchers to fully quantify costs and benefits of different care models.


  • Extra care housing represents an integrated model of housing and flexible social care support that potentially holds fiscal and wider benefits for older people and the state
  • Over the last year, ILC-UK has been undertaking a major piece of research into the benefits of extra care housing through examining resident outcomes.
  • Using longitudinal data from 3 providers, Audley Retirement, Extra Care Charitable Trust, and Retirement Security Limited, with additional funding provided from Housing Learning and Improvement Network, we have undertaken a major review which explores the characteristics of residents, the notion of extra care housing as a home for life, the health outcomes of residents, and patterns of health service usage of residents.
  • We have also explored the costs and benefits associated with our findings. This new research also explores how the outcomes of residents in extra care could differ from the outcomes of older people living in the community in receipt of domiciliary care.
  • The research will be launched at an event on 13th September 2011 at the International Longevity Centre – UK.
  • The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate.


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