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What is Independent Living?

Mature woman in a kitchen holding a cookbook

Independent Living is for people aged 55 and over who want to live in their own home but with the peace of mind of 24-hour care, if they need it.

Independent Living homes can be rented or bought outright. For some homes, there is a minimum weekly care requirement to be able to live there.

You may have heard Independent Living called Extra Care or Assisted Living. It means living in a safe property that gives you the freedom to come and go as you please.

Up to 1,800 Independent Living homes are set to be built across Essex by 2021. The first are in Harwich, Walton-on-the-Naze and Saffron Walden.

Unlike sheltered housing, Independent Living offers around-the-clock care.

Care when you need it

The 24-hour emergency support is given by an on-site care provider. Your personal care can also be provided by the on-site care provider or by someone else. Personal care can include:

  • Managing your home
  • Help with laundry, cleaning and shopping

Care can be provided if you’re a couple but only one of you needs support. Care support includes early and mid-stage dementia


All homes have fitted kitchens. In many developments you can also pay for a delicious warm meal served daily by a dining service.


Leisure activities

Independent Living means living life your way. When you move in you'll be able to carry on doing the things you already do. These can include:

  • Meeting friends and making new ones
  • Making trips to local shops and using services and public transport
  • Living with pets (at the discretion of the on-site care provider)


All Independent Living homes are modern, easy to maintain and include:

  • One or two bedrooms
  • Fitted kitchen with built-in oven and electric hob
  • Bathroom with en-suite access and walk-in shower
  • Living room
  • Attractive modern flat with its own front door

On-site facilities

You'll have access to shares communal spaces and facilities, including:

  • Shared space and gardens
  • Communal dining room
  • Mobility scooter store
  • Car park
  • Laundry room
  • Wifi in communal areas
  • Lifts to all floors
  • Landscaped gardens
  • Licensed bar

Video showing residents of Helen Court

Get in touch

or call us 0345 603 7630

"I would say to anyone thinking of living here to seriously think about what it can offer. It’s a life-changing experience." Julie