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Not only is erecting a granny annexe in the garden relatively cheap but it also maintains privacy for both parties.

Being able to have daily contact and something to look forward to is important.’And the Lowes are at the forefront of a new family dynamic — with the garden acting as a buffer between the generations.

The number of annexes in England has increased by more than 50 per cent in the past four years.

One study showed that older people fear going into a care home more than death.

But squeezed social care budgets mean that for those who do stay in their own homes, any minor care needs are increasingly falling upon relatives’ shoulders.

Nearly two in five said entire days went by without them speaking to anyone, and around half said they had felt lonely for years.

And campaigners warned that many people — particularly pensioners — were suffering in silence, as the majority had not told their family how they felt.

And in many cases the form this neglect takes is not physical — but emotional.

Earlier this year a study claimed Britain’s older generations are suffering an ‘epidemic of loneliness’, with almost three-quarters now describing themselves as lonely.

Soaring life expectancy means people will soon spend at least two decades in retirement.

While inevitably there will be those who have health care requirements that necessitate specialist accommodation and nursing, the majority want to live independently for as long as possible.

They fine-tuned the layout and applied for planning permission in March.

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11-Sep-2019 23:56