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Building an Annex

Amanda C

New member
Feb 24, 2020
2
My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year and has asked if she can move in with us . Unfortunately we cannot accommodate her within our house as children currently share bedrooms and no spare room .
So we’d need to build an annex or pod .
We don’t have the funds ourselves but mum does and is happy to
Pay .
My question is regarding how that affects us and our property deeds .
Would we be better borrowing the money from mum and paying her back ? Or her paying the builders directly ? I don’t want to risk us having to sell our family home should she require a care home placement in future ?
She’s currently too well for a residential home and keen to come and be with us .
She currently lives 200 miles away so I’m struggling to support her from such a distance .
Guidance or where to seek guidance very much appreciated.
Also power of attorney was set up two years ago but we haven’t yet activated it . When should we do this ?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,373
South coast
Im afraid I cant answer your question about funds, but Im wondering whether you know what you will be letting yourself in for?

My mum wanted to come and live with OH and me, so she stayed for a weekend to see how it would work. It was enough to convince me that I would never be able to make it work. My OH has problems, but mum resented any time that I spent doing things for him, she wouldnt let me do any housework - she just wanted me to sit and talk to her all day, and she was full of complaints and accusations about everyone around her. And then she was up literally every half an hour from 2.00am onwards waking me up because there were "noises in the kitchen" (there was nothing in the kitchen). At the end of the weekend I was run ragged and couldnt wait for her to go.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,673
I think I'd be very wary about building an annexe as you could find that when your mother is in close proximity to you she focuses on you for help and if you already have a busy life which I'm sure with children you do, you might find yourself pulled in too many different directions.
I think I'd be looking to see if there is any suitable housing nearby that would be able to support your mother for a long time, maybe somewhere with flats but a nursing home as well. When I moved from being fifteen minutes drive away from my mother to over an hour away my brother and I looked into the idea of her moving nearer to one of us. I wasn't keen as mum was managing well at the time and I thought an unfamiliar place would hasten her decline. My brother found a place he thought would do, but I rather kyboshed that. When she declined further a couple of years ago and I was schlepping over to see her twice a week, I wish I hadn't done that. However it all worked out in the end as mum is now in a care home near me, and I think she would have needed to have moved into one anyway, and we'd have been stuck with trying to sell a difficult to sell flat.
Mum's care home has quite a few residents who are in the very early stages of dementia or just have additional needs that mean they feel safer in an environment with carers around. They come and go as they please, and have loads of interesting activities laid on for them. I wouldn't dismiss a care home out of hand even at an early stage.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,287
I agree with the previous posters. By the time the annexe is built and your mother has moved in, the illness will have progressed and you may end up having what would have been the right type of accommodation for her six months previously (if you see what I mean).

As she lives such a distance away, I guess you don't have the experience of being with her regularly for days/weeks on end? If you do decide to go ahead with the annexe, I would do as Canary as indicated, and have your mother to stay for a couple of weeks. You will then see how she is coping, what type of help she needs and whether you think you can provide it 24/7 for the foreseeable future. She is likely to need more help than you anticipate - my mother managed to bluff her way through appearing to cope until suddenly something arose which was too challenging to deal with.

In terms of funding the annexe, I think the problem would be that regardless of how your mother pays over the money, Social Services would want that money back out in order to fund her care if/when she moves to a care home. How would you achieve that? (Although if she has huge amounts of additional cash to fund a care home, it wouldn't matter as long as those funds didn't run out in her lifetime.) I would speak to a solicitor for advice.
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
13,224
England
Putting aside the problems you will have in caring 24/7 for someone with dementia there are likely to be problems with your Mother funding the building.

When you hold power of attorney you cannot gain from the person for which to have power of attorney. The annex will add value to your home and when she no longer needs it, you have gained value to your property and your Mother has depleted funds.

If the local authority become involved in funding then they may ask for the money to be returned or say that they won’t be involved in her care until she has received care to the value of the money used. Either way someone has to pay other than your Mum.

The best idea would to move your Mother nearer to you into accommodation suitable for her with either you or paid for Carers popping in to see to her needs.

The above is how I see it, apologies if I’m not seeing it right.

I looked after my husband at home for seven years as his sole Carer. I had no one else to worry about but it was so, so hard and looking back I really wonder how either of us survived those last few years before he went into nursing care.
 

Amanda C

New member
Feb 24, 2020
2
thank you all for you replies .
Mum has stayed with us in the past and her last visit was Christmas and older boys camped in the lounge which is fine for two weeks over Christmas but not on a school night .
Yes she is very focussed on me and follows me around the house . Which I was hoping was just because the transition was unsettling . I really don’t know if I have the capacity to look after a young family and Mum but she’s adamant she wants to be here and not in a home and she can be quite forceful.
Im guessing it’s not going to be easy no matter how we proceed and the biggest hurdle regarding sheltered or nursing accommodation will be getting Mum to consent to the move .
 

Abbey82

Registered User
Jun 12, 2018
94
Hi, I have a slightly different opinion in that we built an annex on our house for my Mum and Dad once my Dad was diagnosed with FTD at aged 60. We thought it was best as we were a close family anyway and lived nearby, we figured we would be at either's house all the time, so this was easiest. There is no doubt that it was a huge struggle, but I wouldn't do anything differently again. The only issue I would say is that my Dad's dementia was very rapidly progressing and within 10 months of moving in he had to be sectioned twice and subsequently placed into a Nursing Home. As he is so fit and mobile but mentally not there (agitation and complex behaviour) we were just unable to have him at home any longer, but if his mobility had been affected he could of stayed as we could of dealt with him. We honestly thought we would have at least a good few years together, and on the other hand it has been great as my Mum still lives with us and it works great for her and us.
 

Vitesse

Registered User
Oct 26, 2016
216
I would agree with the earlier posts that you need to think hard about the commitment when your Mum lives with you. Many years ago I had the situation where my mum lived 200 miles away and I tried to visit regularly and then have her to visit for several weeks at a time. She did not have dementia, but she was very dependent and I realised that I couldn’t have her to live with us full time and have any sort of life of my own. i knew that I would be torn between caring for her and being a good wife to my husband. My husband now has AD and that commitment to caring for him is all encompassing. Put those two things together and you need to be sure you can cope. You are a wonderful daughter and family to be considering such a move.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,854
Chester
My children were 8 and 12 when mum had a crisis at the end of 2013 and ended up staying with us fortnight on and fortnight off for 3 months until we found her something else (my brother had her the other fortnight - his kids were then 4 and 6).

Prior to this we had her to stay in the August of 2013 and things were OKish - I hadn't realised she had dementia although I was aware something was wrong and certainly didn't understand the full implications of it.

Her behaviour and cognition had changed massively in the 4 months and slightly irritating habits had got worse.

She stayed in the spare bedroom, so had an element of her own space, but if an annex had been built I can't imagine she would have respected our space and would have expected to be in our house whenever we were home.

A couple of examples of issues:

My 8 year old is dyslexic and this meant that his use of cutlery at meal times was poor due to poor/delayed fine motor control, she'd tell him off for not eating everything etc.- she was continually criticising him such that he was very miserable at every meal. (now aged 14 he has no issues with cutlery or fine motor skills)

When my daughter got in from school she had homework, and mum just didn't realise this and wanted dau to do jigsaws with her every evening. I was at work, and so not in the house.

When staying at my brother's she didn't like the 6 year old so if she was playing a game with the four year old, and the 6 year old walked into the room she would pack up and say she wasn't playing anymore as she didn't like the 6 year old.

She expected everything to be done her way and continually told the children off for not behaving in the way she thought they should - which was harking back to how she had been brought up, not how we had been brought up (something which with hindsight had got slowly worse over the previous years) and what could be tolerated for a short period over holidays was difficult to cope with in the work school routine.

By chance we happened to have some slack for the 3 months in after school/work activities and so we managed to have a consistent meal time with her, there was no way the kids could have friends round whilst mum was there etc.

but she’s adamant she wants to be here and not in a home and she can be quite forceful.
I think deep down mum had expected to come and live with me, but on a lot of levels this wasn't practical.

This isn't just about your mum, but you and your partner and your kids - a decision should be in everyone's best interests - not just your mum's.

Your mum is the best she is going to be, and as the disease progresses she will need more and more support, something which is quite difficult to acheive around a young family.

Mum is in a sheltered extra care flat at the moment, and this has worked well for the last few years, she doesn't like the carers, but she is more likely to comply with them than me.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,373
South coast
she is very focussed on me and follows me around the house
Ah, shadowing!
She has reached the stage where she needs someone with her 24/7 to reassure and direct her. She is probably afraid to be on her own for even a minute, so she wants to keep you in her sight at all times. I doubt that she would stay in her annexe and you probably wont be able to leave her at home while you taxi the kids, or go shopping.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,346
thank you all for you replies .
Mum has stayed with us in the past and her last visit was Christmas and older boys camped in the lounge which is fine for two weeks over Christmas but not on a school night .
Yes she is very focussed on me and follows me around the house . Which I was hoping was just because the transition was unsettling . I really don’t know if I have the capacity to look after a young family and Mum but she’s adamant she wants to be here and not in a home and she can be quite forceful.
Im guessing it’s not going to be easy no matter how we proceed and the biggest hurdle regarding sheltered or nursing accommodation will be getting Mum to consent to the move .
If your mum follows you around now, she will not stay in the annexe on her own. She will want to go everywhere with you. You will have no life of your own with your family. As others have said, there will come a point when your mum can't be left alone. She will get confused over day and night and come looking for you or disturb the household at night. Could you deal with potential aggression from her? Or incontinence? Or refusing to bathe? Think about this very carefully.
 

Pete1

Registered User
Jul 16, 2019
866
My question is regarding how that affects us and our property deeds .
Hi @Amanda C, if it is gifted to you by Mum it will still be considered in a financial assessment should Mum need care within the time period stipulated by your Local Authority (it will be on their guidance, the time period varies between authorities) - if it falls outside their time period (generally its 6 or 7 years) it should not be included as her asset (it will be disregarded for assessment purposes). However, even if it was included in the assessment (e.g. she required care within their stipulated time period) you would not be forced to 'produce' the cash through selling the property, although a charge would be levied against the property which would be redeemed from the proceeds of any future sale. I would strongly recommend that you seek legal advice from a Solicitor (most now have specialists in this area) before embarking on this exercise, so you and your family are absolutely clear (and have a full 'audit trail').

However, I would also concur with the advice provided by the other good people on the forum that have contributed to this thread - by the time that you have the annex built and Mum has moved in her condition may well have changed. I think that both you and your family have to be fully signed up to what that may mean for you all, now and in the future. Then proceed with the solution that works best for all of you, whether that be an annex, or supported living local to you or another solution. All the best.
 

spandit

Registered User
Feb 11, 2020
115
My limited understanding is that any money spent on building the annexe could potentially fall under the "gift with reservation of benefit" rules introduced by HMRC - i.e. it never falls outside their estate, not even after 7 years. However, if you can get your mother to sign a document stating that the money is a gift and that she wants no interest in the property, as far as I know, that amount never appreciates.

For example, let's say an annexe will cost £100,000 (hopefully not, but trying to keep the figures easy). If this is given as a cash gift with the necessary documentation, when your mother dies, this is still "worth" £100,000.

However, were this to form a percentage of your house (with her sharing in the deeds), let's say 25% (so house worth £400,000 if you sold it tomorrow) and property prices increase (which historically they have always done), her estate would include 25% of the value of your house, so if it's doubled in value, say, her estate has £200,000 in it. Now, this is all under the £325,000 threshhold but I don't know what other assets she has. I'm not an accountant.

Regarding the annexe and LPA, you can benefit from the money if your mother agrees. In my case, we are looking to build an annexe for my father. My sister is a joint attorney and has acknowledged that it will potentially add value to our property (and she doesn't have a problem with this). As far as I'm concerned, we are providing free care that is far cheaper for him than residential or full time live in care, which is what he needs. My conscience is clear regarding the rise in our property value for that reason. He has stated, in front of an independent witness, that he does not wish to go into a care home and for us, we feel an annexe is the right decision as he's currently in the spare room and hogging the television in our lounge (and he doesn't like most of the programmes that we do). It means that we can see him every day, irregardless of the weather, and can be there in seconds if he needs help. It will give him the opportunity to roam the grounds (we live on a farm) on his good days but give him some independence and privacy, as well as being better suited to his needs. Haven't finalised the design yet but space for a live in carer would future proof it if funds allow.