Her caring grand daughters with a smiling granny – Photo Courtesy: United Pentecostal Church
A lot of people reach a time when they have to make difficult choices about what is best for their elderly parents and their well-being. While it can be tough to think that the people who brought us up can no longer handle having full time independence living alone in their homes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the solution has to be a nursing home.
In some cases, if your parents don’t need full time medical care, there are other options that can be less disruptive for them like hiring a carer to call in on them each day, or allowing them to live with you.
A Granny Flat on a property – constructed by Todd Devine Homes of Australia
Granny flats tend to be self contained apartments on the same property as your house. They got their name because they have long been seen as a suitable place for aging parents to live. They not only keep your older mother or father in a safe place where you can protect them, but also allow them to keep some independence.
They are also popular because it can be less disruptive to you and your family than suddenly having another person in your home all the time. Some people have converted existing parts of their house into granny flats, or had them added on when it seems like it may be a good time to start thinking about moving their relative in. In recent years, granny flats have also become a place to put adult children who have returned to the nest after financial problems or relationship break ups!
Building a granny flat can therefore give you other options for the future as well as improving the sale value of your house by adding extra rooms, but obviously it is not an option on every property. You may also have to think about the space you may be able to convert, for example in the basement or loft, as it may not be accessible for an elderly person without a stair lift.
However, if it is something you can build on your house or already have a facility for (perhaps just by adding a small en suite kitchen to a spare bedroom), it can be a very helpful solution.
The other main options you have are residential care, moving your parent or parents into a spare room with you or one of your siblings, or trying to find a care solution that keeps them in their own homes. Full time care can be very expensive and can also make people feel like they have lost their freedom, especially if they are still mentally sharp.
It can also be hard to find a place for them that you are happy with, and that your relative is also fine with moving to. It therefore tends to be very much a last resort, with a carer or nurse that visits their home or a place with another family member to live until that point is reached and normally seen as a better option.
Of course, your parents may still deteriorate further and ultimately need residential care; however, you may have years before this becomes the case. It therefore makes most families more comfortable to try other solutions first.
Jenny Wadlow is a freelance blogger and works part-time as a receptionist at Todd Devine Homes, a well-known construction company of granny flats in Melbourne. You can follow her on Twitter @JennyWadlow.