ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent Creating space in your home for caring for elderly parents

Creating space for older family members in your home

Avoid feeling overwhelmed and crowded and create space for caring for elderly parents with our top tips.

6 min read

Inviting older relatives to join your home can be a life-enhancing experience for everyone involved, as well as posing certain challenges. Family dynamics aside, you’ll likely need to rethink your space to ensure that everyone is not just accommodated but comfortable.

If you’re caring for your older family member, these considerations will likely feel even more pertinent. If your home isn’t yet set up to house another person, it can feel overwhelming to think of all the practical and logistical considerations involved particularly if that person has mobility issues or specific needs. We run through some of the best ways of creating space for an older family member in your home so you can live in multigenerational harmony.

Creating privacy

The more people you live with, the harder it can be to find pockets of time for yourself. While we can’t guarantee you won’t be interrupted anyway, we can suggest ways of creating space that allow the opportunity for privacy. Having the option is almost integral to feeling independent and respected, and could be particularly important to older family members who may not have lived with a brood for a while. Read on for some of our top ways to achieve this.

Create privacy for older family members in your home

“Granny annexes”

Granny annexes (also known as granny flats) are an increasingly popular type of home extension. Whether the name will be popular with the older family member in your life is an entirely different matter. Granny annexes are a small, self-contained flat that’s either attached to your main property or built in the garden (not to be confused with garden rooms – these aren’t made for living in). Because these structures are close by but separate from the main property, they’re an effective way of supporting autonomy while being near enough to be on-hand should you be needed – or if you fancy just popping around for a chat! If you’re looking for more information about granny annexes – from planning permission to costs and building timelines – check out How Much Does it Cost to Build a Granny Flat.

Garden rooms

Moving on from granny annexes to garden rooms. Because garden rooms aren’t technically classed as habitable space, we’re not suggesting that you offer up your garden room as a place to live. Rather, if you have a home office in your main property, it could be a great opportunity to redesign it into a comfortable bedroom and move your work into an outside office. This could be a suitable option if you have an older family member who’s kind enough to watch the kids while you’re working from home or if you’d prefer the peace of mind of them being inside the family home.

Garden room offices could free up vital space in your home as well as giving you all-important breathing space to maximise your work. Check out these inspirational ideas for garden rooms to see if they’re something you could envision for your home.

Side return extension

Side return extensions (or side infills) are a fantastic option for homes that have unused space towards the side of their property. The general premise is that the construction work knocks into the empty space, securing you plenty of extra room that would otherwise not be taken advantage of – all without cutting into your back garden! A lot of people pick this option if they’re looking to create an open plan kitchen but there’s so much more to it than that. In the case of accommodating another person in your home, for example, you could carve out an entire room which could provide a new bedroom, a utility room (particularly useful if you’re caring and need to house new equipment) or simply make your existing property feel less claustrophobic. Get to grips with side return extensions and see what they could do to benefit your family with our complete guide.

Wraparound extension

If what you’re searching for is as much space as possible, a wraparound extension could be just what you’re looking for. It’s a combination of a side return extension and rear extension in the shape of a capital L. It capitalises on the empty space at the side of your property as well as making the most of the available space at the back of your home. The possibilities that come with this amount of space are endless but if you’re looking to create an extra room on your ground floor for an additional bedroom, it’s the perfect way to create that space. Find out how much your extension could cost using our Quick Quote Calculator.

Making it easy

There are plenty of ways you can create space and adapt your home for older family members without undergoing an entire home renovation. Here are just a few ways that we hope you’ll find useful.

Adapting your space to invite your elderly parents

Ground level adaptations

We’ve touched lightly on keeping things at ground level throughout this article but, everyone’s needs are different, and where a second floor bedroom might suit one family member, a ground floor bedroom overlooking the garden may be better for another. This is particularly true for members of your household with mobility challenges. Keeping things smooth and sleek over one floor can save time, improve efficiency and enhance independence. One easy way to achieve this is reorganising your house to free up a room on the ground floor.

Some other examples of ground floor adaptations when it comes to wheelchair users specifically include, but aren’t limited to, smoothening the ground on the floor in your property. For wheelchair users in particular, creating easy-to-access, slightly lowered amenities like cupboards, sinks and even surfaces can make all the difference to someone’s general wellbeing. Use this guide from Mobility Smart to make sure your home is well-equipped for your loved one.

Declutter and organise

Anyone familiar with Resi by now knows how fond we are of a big decluttering session to clear your space and make room for what you really need. If that’s space for an older relative coming to live with you then it’s a must that you streamline and get organised. Check out our article on decluttering your kitchen in 2023 and apply those principles throughout your home. The clear space will allow vital ease of manoeuvring for wheelchair users. Plus, you might just find you had a lot more room all along.

Reassess your light

If you’re welcoming older family members into your home, it could be time to reassess the lighting in your home. Where mood lighting and statement lampshades could once have taken priority, you’ll now want to embrace a more practical arrangement of light. Make sure that stairs and bathrooms are well lit, with light switches within easy reach – we’d recommend spotlights for these areas as they’re fantastic for illumination and could limit the risk of injury.

Also consider what the personal needs of your relatives are - do they love to read in the living room, teach your kids recipes in the kitchen? For a guide to identifying the ultimate kitchen lighting for your needs, explore this guide for inspiration.

There’s also some evidence that bright lights can have a disruptive impact on sleep in elderly people. So, while it’s important that stairs are brightly lit, bedroom lighting should be carefully considered to ensure that a great night’s sleep is had. We love these sleep and wake up lamps that eradicate the need for an alarm clock and soothingly stir you awake. If having a wake-up call each morning isn’t on the agenda for your loved one, there are also a feast of beautiful side-table lamps that can aid bedtime unwinding. John Lewis is a classic favourite for all our home furnishing needs.

If you’re soon to be welcoming an older relative to your home and want some advice on how to create more room, book a free architectural advice call with one of our experts.

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