The umbrella term, retirement property, covers a wide scope of options available to those who are looking to switch from ordinary residential property to something more suitable for their current needs. In this article, we aim to explain the three main types of property you may come across during your search for somewhere to live during your retirement.

Let’s get started.

Sheltered housing 

Sheltered housing is often what people think of when they first consider retirement property. In fact, in some instances, sheltered housing is often referred to as retirement housing.

Sheltered housing usually takes the form of flats built specifically for the purpose of housing retirees. As opposed to a conventional block of flats, sheltered housing will often boast additional facilities for the residents to enjoy. This may take the form of something as simple as a large communal room for residents to socialise in, through to more elaborate amenities such as spas and pools.

While self-contained flats are the most popular form of sheltered housing, there are some complexes that will have bungalows on offer, too. One thing that all sheltered housing sites will have in common is that they are run by a warden or a scheme manager who will be on hand to help with any day-to-day concerns residents may have.

The majority of sheltered accommodations will have a 24-hour alarm system in place in case of emergencies. However, this type of accommodation is largely for those who wish to continue to live independently, but would like to have the peace of mind that comes with the support offered by such sites.

Retirement villages

Retirement villages are a relatively new idea, and they largely follow the sheltered housing model. The key difference is the type of property offered. Retirement villages will usually comprise of a mixture of houses, bungalows and apartments in a village environment, as opposed to the more conventional standalone blocks of flats associated with traditional sheltered housing.

The village feel can give residents a greater sense of community and the sites often boast their own private amenities such as doctors’ surgeries, gyms, pubs, restaurants and community halls. This makes retirement villages a great option for those who wish to remain active, but have the additional benefits of living within secure and safe surroundings.

For those who require a little more help with medical concerns or domestic support, many sites will offer additional services to accommodate their needs as well.

Assisted living

Assisted living is, again, very similar to sheltered housing, but it offers residents a greater degree of care and support. However, this type of retirement housing still allows residents to live independently despite their need for additional help.

Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) will usually have care staff or designated nurses onsite 24-hours a day, so those who live within the complex can rest assured that they’ll have someone there for them should the need arise. Properties will also be fitted with alarm systems that are monitored around the clock, which are especially welcome for residents who may be infirm or have mobility issues.

The range of properties available in ALFs can vary from self-contained apartments through to bungalows and small houses. Larger sites may have more amenities such as shops, hairdressers and cafes within the grounds. This can be great for those who find travelling difficult yet still want to maintain a degree of independence.

As with sheltered housing and retirement villages, ALFs will often have social activities residents can take part in. Again, these are completely optional, but they do provide a great way for the community to get together and enjoy each other’s company.


If you are looking for retirement property in Wanstead, Buckhurst Hill or any of their surrounding areas, Petty Son and Prestwich can help. Call our friendly, knowledgeable staff today to find out about the retirement properties we currently have on offer.

Wanstead office – 020 8989 2091 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Buckhurst Hill office - 020 8504 5403 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

retirement property types explained sheltered housing retirement villages and assisted living