A huge draw towards a family or a parent investing in a granny annexe is that they will be living much closer to each other or their children. This is ideal for a person who is ageing; as we become older and less mobile, having family around to help with tasks can be a godsend.
But living so close to relatives can also have a couple of drawbacks. Overstepping boundaries, becoming too reliant on an individual or a lack of privacy; these are all things you should take into consideration before agreeing to live so close to a loved one. even the closest of families can irritate each other sometimes!
Here are some things you should consider when living so close to a relative and what you can do to help keep a harmonious atmosphere at home!
Discuss Needs Beforehand
Before any living arrangements are made with a relative, whether that be them moving into your home or building a granny annexe, an open discussion needs to be had about your relative’s needs.
Will your relative/you be highly dependent? Or will you remain as independent as possible? As a family, have an open discussion about what support you will realistically need, on a day to day basis.
The smallest details need to be discussed; down to mealtimes to getting out of and going to bed. Does anyone in the house still work full time? If so, how do you see caring for a relative fitting into this? It’s important to discuss all this beforehand so that everyone’s expectations are met – if you don’t really think you can meet everyone’s support needs, then perhaps discuss additional support you may need.
Home care assistants for example – home carers can help with many things, from making a home call midday whilst you are at work to check on a relative, to providing total personal care. Home care isn’t usually free – your local council will do a means test to see if your family is eligible for any government support. Age UK has lots of advice here about paying for homecare.
Of course, the case may be that you or your relative are fully independent – that’s great but you should still consider the future. Even if it’s on a ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it’ basis.
Once you and your relative are living together, or close to each other, such as in a garden annexe, you will need to set some boundaries. This helps preserve everyone’s privacy and in some cases dignity.
We aren’t suggesting drawing up a list of rules – simply discuss things such as when everyone likes to have private time, how much time you will be spending in each other’s company, and, what everyone’s expectations are.
Of course, you aren’t going to get it right at first – blending two lives together is a complex process and there will be a period of adjustment whilst everyone gets used to the new living arrangements.
Again, discuss simple things such introducing knocking on doors before entering someone’s room or, if your relative is living in an annexe in your garden, calling them before you go into the annexe – just as you would before visiting anyone’s else’s house. Small, respectful gestures like this can help preserve everyone’s privacy and sense of their own space.
A huge draw of families to living together is the quality time that can be spent together. As your parents’ age, they may want to spend more time with you and their grandchildren, and you will also want to spend as much time as possible with them.
Even with a highly dependent relative, remember that life won’t be like this forever and enjoy the quality time you can spend together.
When you live together, it can sometimes feel like you see each other all the time so you don’t make many ‘special plans.’ Change it up and go out as a family somewhere for the day or for a nice meal. Basically, remember to still have good times and make more happy memories.
With a happy medium between enjoying yourselves as a family, and everyone’s support expectations being met, living together with family can be a wonderful experience.
If you are considering building a granny annexe for your relative to live closer to you, then please get in touch with iHUS. We have years of experience uniting families and providing them with the perfect living arrangements.
You can view our core annexe range here.