If you have land with spare outbuildings, or you have a garage that is rarely used, you might be looking at turning them into a granny annexe. It can be a really helpful addition to your family home, especially if you have a parent or in-law who is no longer able to live alone. They’re also quite commonly used as a place for young adults to live in whilst they’re saving money so they can move out and buy their own home. However, it is advisable to create the annexe with the older generation in mind as it will make your property more saleable in the future.
So if you are thinking of creating a granny annexe, here are a few helpful ideas when doing the planning and furnishing:
Accessibility is key
The planning stage is the time to make sure you think about everything that an elderly person may require. It’s not so easy to get around later in life, so aids such as wheelchairs and sticks are commonly required. First and foremost, that means that there should be ramps instead of steps so your loved one can come and go without assistance. It’s also helpful to create a wet room instead of a typical bathroom, as it will be easier for them to move around. Think about the height of the counters and the amount of space you should leave in between furniture.
Think about the outlook
It is nice to think about the smaller things that can really make a difference to the family member who moves in. This includes the outlook of the annexe, especially from the kitchen sink. If they are a big fan of bird watching, you might want to put a feeder outside the window so they can watch them whenever they’re cleaning a glass or a mug. They may even fancy their own private space outdoors; could you section off a bit of garden for them?
Make everything comfortable
When it comes to furnishing and decorating, you should ask them whether they’d like to bring their own things. If this is the case, help them to pack up their belongings and transport them and help them to lay everything out. If they’re not bothered about their furniture but just want to bring photo albums and ornaments, take time to search for comfortable replacements. For example you could pair an orthopaedic mattress with a warm and fluffy feather duvet, as well as finding a supportive armchair with a matching footstool.
Put in communication methods
Finally, don’t make your family member feel like they are isolated in their annexe. Invite them to the main part of the house for roast dinners and other family events. It’s also important to make sure you put phone and internet connections in the annexe so they can continue to stay in touch with people they know. It might be a good idea to put in an alarm system that they can use if they need help; have a look online and see what’s available.