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UK Dementia Congress 2020

10 Nov 2020

Bournemouth

For those of modest means

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A retirement village developer has recently opined that “the concept of a granny annexe is increasingly consigned to history”. I’m not at all sure that this is the case. With shrinking provision of publicly-funded social care for growing numbers of people with modest means, I think planning officers may soon see a surge in applications to build granny flats from households with the scope to do so.

And I think these applications will be approved wherever possible; local authority planners seem to be fixated on the concept of intergenerational integration so we might expect them to lend their support to a renaissance of the extended family.

Technology too, is pushing in the same direction; we are not talking about the 1950s model of a day-bed and commode in the front room, but bijou units bristling with assistive devices and monitoring systems. Neighbourhood websites are increasingly being used to arrange domiciliary care provided by local freelancers, along with meals services and specialised community transport to activity groups.

And a granny flat, when no longer required by granny, remains as a capital asset providing convenient guest accommodation for family and friends, or use as a home office. It also has income potential as student accommodation, airbnb, accommodating a lodger or the like.

With technology enabling more people to work from home, surely a good proportion of them will see a granny flat and family care provision, with external support as required, as a better option than degrading family assets to pay for commercially-provided comprehensive care services. In the absence of any initiative from government, people are increasingly likely to take their own.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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