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Aged Care vs. Habitable Workshops

When you’ve got an older parent or relative, the time comes when you have to make the call whether they need to go into an aged care home. However, sometimes housing your elderly loved ones in your backyard can offer a better solution. While Aarons Outdoor Living doesn’t offer granny flats, our Workshops, when following relevant council regulations, can be habitable, with the same functionality as a granny flat, but without having to remove it once the dependancy is no longer required. 

It’s important to understand the differences between granny flats, workshops and studios before making your purchase. Aarons’ Workshops are designed to meet council and building regulations for habitable rooms*. This means it can be transformed to appear as a granny flat would, complete with a kitchenette and ensuite. Aarons Studios are not designed to be habitable, and do not meet building regulations**.

We’ve put a list of pros and cons together to help you decide whether aged care or a habitable Workshop is the best option for you and your family:

Pro: Care you can’t get at home

People who need to work during the day won’t necessarily be able to drop these obligations and look after a relative who is in a Workshop. Being in an aged care home means there are nurses on-call, food provided, and it’s an easier situation if there is an emergency. You really have to consider whether the person is capable of looking after themselves while they live in a Workshop. If they need extra support, then it’s probably best to consider an aged care home.

Con: People are reluctant to go into aged care

While sometimes it is the only option, it can be scary for the person who needs to go to aged care. They have to leave the home they’re used to, and start again in a new and unfamiliar environment with other people they may or may not get along with. It is also a big loss of independence. In an aged care facility, there are nurses and aids who will constantly be around to offer assistance and company.

Con: Aged care can be expensive and inadequate

Before placing an elderly relative in an aged care facility, you have to consider the financial cost. Will someone have to cover the cost, or can this be covered by their Centrelink payments? You’ll also have to review and compare the various aged care facilities. Some are better than others, and the last thing you want is your parent miserable in an inadequate aged care facility. Consider their independence, how many people are at the facility and what services the facility offer. When considering aged care, carefully think about the cost and investigate the facility.

A Workshop is often considered a good alternative to aged care. The older parent or relative is still able to retain their independence while having family close by. However, if you’re a carer, it’s important to establish a granny flat right.

Frangipani Workshop with custom doors & 1 Extra Large Window

Granny flat right

A granny flat right is generally created as an arrangement with family members. In exchange for accommodation, money is provided for those living in the granny flat. You cannot have this right on a property which you own. This means there are a few options:

  • The parents sell the property they live on, and pay for a granny flat on their children’s property.
  • The children move into the parent’s home, and have the title of the home transferred to the children.
  • Both parent and children to sell their home and buy a completely new house with the intention of giving care there.

If you have established a granny flat right, it’s important to get an aged-care assessment from Centrelink.

There are many questions to think about when considering this option. If the granny flat is permanently vacated within five years, the interest will be reviewed. If the reason could have been anticipated, the deprivation rule known as gifting will apply.    

While no formal agreement needs to be put in place, Centrelink also encourages all parties to have an agreement in writing and gain independent legal advice. LegalVision suggests the agreement should include questions such as:

  • Would will happen if the property is to be sold?
  • Will the carer be required to give up full-time work and care?
  • Who will pay for the utilities?
  • What happens if the carer dies or becomes seriously ill?

The Australian Department of Human Services has resources for those needing more information on the granny flat right.   

If building a Workshop sound like the right option for you, Aarons Outdoor Living can help you with the solution. We have Workshops that can be built for any purpose and have eighteen size ranges. These can be customised to add a verandah or other options such as different style doors, windows, steps and ramps. and can be built by our team of professional installers.   

*This applies when following relevant local council regulations. Please ensure you check with your local authority before committing to your purchase.

** See Building Code of Australia, or contact your local authority for definition of “Habitable”

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