A Living Choice

Many families face a conundrum when elderly relatives start to find it hard to manage in their own homes. The choices often appear stark: remain ‘as is’ and try to manage in what can often be larger, older and colder ‘family homes’ or delay and then face a seismic shift with potentially high fees and all of the problems associated with finding the ‘right’ care package or nursing home. Those life choices led two families to explore a “middle-ground alternative” – and Songbird Spaces is the result.

Understandably, the families have remained anonymous throughout their journey as an elderly relative is involved – together with their wish to preserve privacy and dignity. One involved explains: “We suffered a life changing event. It was the resulting realisation that we needed additional living space for a loved-one but did not have that within our own home that led us to explore all options.” They add: “As for so many families, affordability is key and we did not want to consider a care home as those we’d looked at were neither right in location or feel.”

Independent living …

Crucial in the families’ plans was the need to maintain an independent lifestyle for their elderly relative together with privacy as well as to find a suitable alternative that would be safe and close-by. As they explain: “All too often the options mean a move – sometimes distancing relatives from family and friends who have been their mainstay.” They add: “We recognised the enormous benefits of trying to keep our relative close – benefits for them to have that constant of a known neighbourhood as well as benefits for us to be on hand if needed.

Pounds, shillings and pence …

The relatives involved in this story were atypical of so many who find themselves – in their words – “hanging on” to the family home as they believed there to be no viable option: sell up to move to a care home and a lifetime of savings could be depleted rapidly. Stay put and run the risk of struggling to maintain a big, cold house … as well as increasing costs of carers coming to visit. A more cost-effective answer had to be ‘out there’.

All that happened during lockdowns helped to spark their solution. As they explain: “Through the last few years, so many people have changed the way they live and work. Increasingly, people around us started working from home and – over time – built garden offices to cater for that change. Our concept was born out of the same thought: to make the most of our own home to provide a viable, cost-effective solution.

Granny Garden …

Anyone who has read the lovely Katie Morag books will know all about ‘Granny Island’ and ‘Granny Mainland’. The grandchildren involved in this story loved the idea that their Granny would become ‘Granny Garden’ … living in a new space created in their own garden where she could stay yet maintain her independence and a better quality of life.

Songbird Spaces was born – the name coming from the families involved: the plot where they stood when planning the idea was “alive with birdsong“.

Granny’s garden home was created – a warm, compact yet spacious space, all on one level that stands alone in the garden. It has “all mod cons” as well as its own lockable front door, easy-access bathroom, a living-kitchen area and a bedroom.

And so granny moved in. Of course, she does not love her new home as much as the old family home: “Nothing could replace that!” is what she told us. But that was wrapped up in a near-lifetime of memories. What Granny Garden has found is “the next best thing … my own ‘home from home’ that means I can be independent. I can shut my door and be away from everyone if needed – just as easily as opening my door to welcome friends and family, right on my doorstep.”

The cosy cabin is the “middle-ground alternative” that was sought at the outset. It is not perfect. Few things are – but it is a bridge that delivers independent living, an independence that is often given up or taken away too early. Most of all, it delivers peace of mind and a continued quality of life that would have suffered a detrimental step were it not available.

Living Options …

They have two cabins available – both built in the UK and both of a contemporary design:

  • Aria Cabin – a one bedroom space – with drawers, hanging space and cupboards
  • Duet Cabin – two bedroom spaces – again, each with drawers, hanging space and cupboards; perfect for a couple or for a single who would like a guest room.

Both have …

  • Kitchen – with dishwasher and fridge
  • Fully insulated – warm in winter and cool in summer
  • Economic to run and energy efficient
  • Full wet room with shower and fitted WC
  • Double glazing throughout

Optional extras …

  • Seniors fitments optional – orthopaedic mobility bed, grab rails, panic alarm system and walk in bath
  • Underfloor heating
  • Roof light
  • Furniture
  • Foundation Pads or Ground Screws to support the Cabin
  • Delivery & final connections

Available now …

This story happened close by.

We have spoken with those involved and offered to share on our Blog. Not everyone will be able to consider it, but for those who do, Songbird Spaces are keen to help.

So what are the costs? The units come fully fitted and are available to lease at £1,000.00 + VAT per month for a minimum contract of two years: thereafter, the monthly fee drops to £500.00 + VAT for a further three year contract … or the family has the option to buy the garden home outright after two years at a price that would be negotiable. Depending on location, planning may be a consideration – but a planning service is available and is included in their pricing. Cancellation fees apply but that is explained in full on an initial consultation.


Need more?

Visit their website via this link or call 0330 8224317 (Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm).


Thanks for reading!