A Place for Mom

Assisted Living in Your Own Backyard

Sarah Stevenson
By Sarah StevensonAugust 15, 2012
MEDCottage Backyard Assisted Living

Not sure if you or a loved one can afford a nursing home? Prefabricated backyard cottages are the newest assisted living trend. Learn more.

Photo courtesy of N2Care

Whether you call it a  mother-in-law or backyard cottage, the idea’s the same: a small, safe prefabricated house that fits in your backyard and provides an innovative alternative to assisted living. Instead of footing the bill for a nursing home, which can be costly, another option is to keep your senior loved ones nearby, under your care, but still living independently.

What are the advantages over a traditional nursing home, or simply moving your loved ones into your own house? Learn more.

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 allowing her to maintain her independence.

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Having seniors live independently also helps ease the burden on caregivers, notes a recent article in the New York Times.

“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 Assisted Living Provides High-Tech Assisted Living

Part of the reason mother-in-law cottages are such an attractive option is that they don’t simply provide a place to live, they can also include high-tech perks that make them accessible and senior-friendly.

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.

Have you considered a mother-in-law or backyard cottage for you or your family? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Sarah Stevenson
Sarah Stevenson

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