Elderly care for relatives is becoming a challenge for more and more families in the UK.
There is an ageing population on the rise, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recording that there are 11.8 million residents aged 65 or over, making up 18% of the population in total.
Future projections are that there will be a further 8.6 million people over 65 by 2066, with the fastest increase being those over 85 years of age.
The pressure on elderly care in the UK is therefore set to continue.
Beyond the statistics, caring for elderly relatives is very much a personal issue for many families, especially where the options seem restricted or unattractive.
However, there is one option that is growing in popularity, and that is the granny annexe.
What People Need from Elderly Care
Elderly people want to feel comfortable, safe and secure in their accommodation. For them and their relatives, the issue is how to ensure they can feel this way, and enjoy a good quality of life, even as they face getting older with its various challenges.
This is where specialist elderly care and disability adaptations to granny annexes can be a crucial factor in helping people continue to live independently and comfortably.
Many families face difficult choices about what to do to support and house their elderly relatives.
It is not always realistic to adapt existing family homes to house elderly parents, especially if they have specific mobility and care needs.
Adapting a home means installing mobility aids such as ramps and grab rails, and ensuring there is sufficient level access.
Depending on how much future-proofing there needs to be, it can also be a case of installing a chair-lift, and ensuring there are accessible bathroom and toilet facilities downstairs.
If budgets and practical layouts allow for it, a wet room is another recommended adaptation for elderly care.
On the other hand, a residential care home can prove a limited but expensive option. There have also been several prominent stories in the media about people having to sell their family homes just to fund this kind of care. Unfortunately, there have also been documented cases where residential care standards in these institutions have fallen considerably short of acceptability.
Location and independence are also issues: will elderly relatives be close enough for families and friends to visit them regularly? For the elderly, residential care can also mean a severe loss of independence.
The Granny Annexe Solution to Elderly Care
The granny annexe is an ideal means of ensuring elderly relatives can keep their independence, while at the same time keeping them close to a family support network.
It is a practical solution which involves installing purpose-built, modular accommodation in the grounds of the home. And it is becoming increasingly popular, with the Valuation Office Agency recording over 30,000 granny annexes in England and Wales.
As with making adaptations within the family home, it is crucial that the granny annexe is properly suited to the elderly people who will live in it.
The advantage this form of accommodation has over home adaptations is that it is highly adaptable.
This means that at planning stage, the annexe can be designed to have wider doorways, ramp access, grab rails and other essential qualities to ensure accessibility.
Specialist disability adaptations can also mean mobility assistance for the bedroom, such as installing a compact ceiling hoist.
Adapting bathrooms in granny annexes for elderly care is also straightforward, with upgrades including wider shower areas to allow for sitting down; bath boards and lifts, toilet frames, grabrails and slip-resistant surfaces. Annexes can also accommodate full wet rooms.
In the kitchen, LED downlighting eliminates trip hazards, and easy-opening drawers and cupboards installed at accessible levels ensure that elderly annexe residents can continue to cook their own meals and enjoy their independence.
Supporting Confidence and Comfort
With a granny annexe, the aim should always be to ensure that the person living in it feels confident and comfortable in this setting.
This is a prefabricated, functional solution for elderly care, but offering all the reassurance of both a real home, and the closeness of family support.