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What is the difference between Supported Living & Residential Care?


The options for care and support for individuals with varying needs can be bewildering. Two terms that often come up are supported living and residential care. Let’s take a closer look at these concepts to understand how they differ.

Supported Living: An Introduction

Supported living is a service designed to help people lead fulfilling lives in their homes, particularly young adults. The level of support can range widely based on individual needs. For some, this means minimal assistance with a focus on independence, while others may require more comprehensive help.

Young adults, especially those with a learning disability, often thrive in a supported living service. They can maintain control over their lives, make decisions, and take part in everyday activities with support tailored to their needs. One of the essential elements of this service is flexibility. The costs of living and the care provision can be adapted to the individual’s changing needs.

In essence, people in supported living arrangements have the opportunity to live in a supportive yet empowering environment. They can integrate into their communities, pursue hobbies, and contribute meaningfully.

Residential Care: A Closer Look

In contrast, residential care homes provide a structured living environment with 24-hour personal care for individuals who may not be able to live independently due to physical or mental health needs. In these settings, trained professionals manage everything from personal care to medication administration.

Bodies like the Care Quality Commission regulate the care provided in these settings. This ensures that residents receive a high standard of care. Like supported living, the costs of living can vary based on the local authority and the level of care required.

Comparing Supported Living and Residential Care

The difference between supported living and residential care boils down to the degree of independence and level of care provided. Both are designed to help people with learning disabilities or other special needs lead fulfilling lives.

In supported living, residents often have their own homes, sometimes sharing communal areas with others. It offers a level of independence and encourages personal development. Meanwhile, in residential care, residents live in a communal setting with constant support.

While both have their place, the decision between residential care and supported living is highly personal. It depends on the person’s care needs, desire for independence, and comfort.

What is Supported Living for Young Adults?

For young adults, particularly those with a learning disability, supported living offers invaluable independence and an opportunity for growth. 

It gives them the means to lead fulfilling, independent lives while still having access to care and support as needed. Whether it’s learning to manage personal care tasks, navigating public transportation, or pursuing education or employment opportunities, supported living can help young adults achieve their goals.

How does Live In Care compare?

An alternative to both supported living and residential care is live-in care. Live-in care provides personalised 24-hour care for those who wish to stay at home in their own environment or surrounded by family, giving them the best choice and control of their lives. 

Live-in care can provide invaluable short-term relief for primary caregivers, often family members, who need a break. Known as respite care, this service ensures that their loved one continues to receive professional, high-quality care in their absence.

The bottom line is that both supported living and residential care exist to offer supportive, caring environments for individuals who need them. The right choice depends on the unique needs and aspirations of the individual. 

If you are looking for advice for yourself or a family member, our team will gladly help you. You can get in get in contact on 01242 505415 or email us at

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