Older people with care needs in Northamptonshire have described how taking up residence in specialist Extra Care housing has given them a new lease of life.

Extra Care housing refers to a group of self-contained homes, often apartments, with special design features and support services to enable people with care needs to keep their independence for longer.

Because they usually they have an on-site care provider to meet residents’ requirements, Extra Care flats provide an alternative to traditional residential care and can help to reduce people’s need to access local urgent care services.

People living in one of Northamptonshire’s newest Extra Care housing schemes – Balmoral Place in Kingsthorpe, Northampton – have been sharing their stories about the positive effect it has had on their lives.

Alan Wheatley, aged 70, recently appeared in The Guardian newspaper where he talked of how his quality of life had significantly improved in his new home.

Alan (pictured left), from Kingsmead, Northampton, previously lived in private rented accommodation where his mobility problems led to him becoming socially isolated and a frequent hospital attender. Now he has an active social network and is getting the support he needs to stay mobile and independent – something he feared he would have lost if he’d had to move to a care home instead.

“It would have been detrimental to the way I live, my quality of life [in a care home],” Alan told The Guardian. “It’s the flexibility here that makes all the difference.”

Barbara Pisani, aged 75, from Semilong, also moved to Balmoral Place from rented accommodation as her previous home couldn’t be adapted to her care needs. Now she lives in an Extra Care flat with specialist equipment and adaptations, helping her live more independently with less reliance on her care package.

“I’m happy to be at Balmoral and I’ve made some nice friends,” says Barbara.

For 69-year-old Graham Miller, life could be difficult in his previous home in minimal support housing. Struggling to cope with his care needs, he frequently found himself visiting A&E or contacting the emergency services for help – but all that has changed since he moved to his Extra Care flat.

“I’m enjoying living at Balmoral,” says Graham. “Enjoying my independence and knowing that staff will help me when I feel bad.”

Funded Extra Care places are available in Northamptonshire for county residents aged over 55 and eligible for social care and housing benefit. Health and care professionals wishing to make a referral to Extra Care accommodation can find out more by emailing bernie.lally@nass.uk.net.