Not sure if you can afford a nursing home? Prefabricated backyard cottages are the newest assisted living trend.
Whether you call it a granny flat, a granny pod, or a mother-in-law cottage, the idea’s the same: a small, safe prefabricated house that fits right in your backyard and provides an innovative alternative to assisted living. Instead of footing the bill for a nursing home, which can cost thousands of dollars per month, another option is to buy a granny pod and keep your senior loved ones nearby, under your care, but still living independently.
It’s an arrangement that both caregivers and seniors can get behind. But what are the advantages over a traditional nursing home, or simply moving your loved ones into your own house?
Independent Living Reduces Caregiver Stress
One of the great advantages to moving Mom into a backyard cottage is being able to keep her close by—close enough to help if there is an emergency—while also maintaining her independence.
“Older adults have their own living space and privacy, which has the potential to reduce much of the stress associated with caring for aging parents,” reports Bernard A. Steinman, a researcher at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts.
Backyard Cottages Provide High-Tech Assisted Living
Part of the reason granny pods are such an attractive option is that they don’t simply provide a place to live; they also include high-tech perks that make them senior-friendly and accessible for the mobility-impaired.
One product, the MEDCottage, is a prefabricated 288-square-foot unit that runs off the homeowner’s utilities and contains its own bedroom, kitchen, and handicapped-accessible bathroom. Not only that, a sophisticated air filtration system checks the air for contaminants, a sensor- and video-based monitoring system alerts caregivers to accidents and falls, and a computerized system monitors medical information and ensures medications are dispensed on time.
Another cottage, sold by P.A.L.S. or Practical Assisted Living Solutions, includes levered closet racks, bathrooms with grab bars, and motion-detector night lights. The full cost may sound like a lot—starting at about $67,000 for P.A.L.S. and $85,000 for a MEDCottage—but total up the costs for a nursing home and it suddenly doesn’t seem so pricey.
Of course, zoning restrictions vary by state, and putting a cottage in your backyard might not be an ideal solution for everyone, particularly those whose loved ones require professional medical care. But for more and more people, granny pods are the perfect answer to the question of how to take care of Mom and Dad without compromising anyone’s independence or privacy.