The rise of tiny living

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As much as you and I try to resist it, our worlds will often inevitably get smaller as we age. Often this is evinced in the downsizing of our living arrangements.

This is usually in response to our reducing desire or ability to support ourselves in the traditional family castle, the loss of our partner or, in some cases, the simple need to live in a supportive or caring environment.

In an effort to avoid the so called ‘home like’ environment of aged care, many more of us are resorting to the ‘in-house’ solution and moving in with our family or having the family move in with us. This can often involve the construction of a ‘granny flat’ in, or on, a family member’s property.

One of the downsides of these arrangements is the potential for relationships to break down and the parent being required to leave the granny flat and find alternative accommodation. This can often be difficult, distressing and expensive – not what you want to have to face in later life.

What if there was a way of easing this exit transition that did not involve a complex unravelling of the arrangement and where you could simply ‘pull up stumps’ as they say, and move on?

Entrepreneurs are now developing micro homes on wheels designed to be entirely movable from one place to another. They are variously called Tiny Homes or Tiny Houses. They look like a home, feel like a home (not a caravan) and they are small.

It would seem to be an intelligent alternative in the downsizing options confronting us and a potentially simplified effective exit plan where family breakdown occurs.

Be wary, however, of the need to properly investigate local council and building requirements and the connection of utilities not to mention the legal relationship between you, as the owner of the tiny home and the member of your family on whose property you are proposing to place it. Documenting the arrangement is crucial.

Ageing is so interesting.

Brian Herd

Recognised as one of the leading experts in Australia on elder law, aged care, retirement, estate planning and disability and a regular author, broadcaster and popular presenter on many elder law subjects and issues.