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Caregiving

Aging in Place: The “Granny Pods” Trend

By Hilary Young

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, over 80 percent of adults now intend to age in place. Nursing homes are no longer the norm. Many seniors prefer to stay active and remain independent for as long as possible. One major trend that is helping to make this wish come true is the proliferation of transitional housing options, otherwise known as “Granny Pods.”

Granny Pods,are small dwellings that fit easily on another home’s property–most often in the backyard–which makes it easy for adult children to keep a loving eye on their parent as they age. The homes are designed with seniors in mind. They are equipped with safety rails, well-lit space, rubberized floors, and handicapped bathrooms. Granny Pods have all the function of an assisted living facility with the comforts of home.

A Virginia-based company, MEDCottage, offers three models at different price points. The starting price on these pre-fabricated units is $85,000 with the option to sell it back to the distributor after 24 months of use for $38,000. That might seem like a large initial investment, but most assisted living facilities cost an average of $50,000 each year.  Not only that, but the Granny Pods from MedCottage all come with state-of-the-art amenities including robotic features that can monitor vital signs, filter the air for contaminants, and easily communicate with the outside world. Sensors alert caregivers to problems, and medication reminders are provided via computers.

If you live in the Northeast, you might consider a Granny Pod from Practical Assisted Living Solutions, or PALS.  Headquartered in Connecticut, PALS offers “handicap accessible, universal designed modular home additions that can easily be attached to your home, or temporarily placed on your property.”  The company also offers three different models — studios, 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom suites — that take about 6 weeks to customize and install. Prices for PALS Granny Pods start around $67,000 but are also available to lease.  A five-year lease agreement costs an average of $1700 per month, and at the end of the agreement you own the unit. Each PALS unit comes with phone and TV cable lines built into the wall, ensuring there will be no wires to trip over. The units also feature motion detectors that automatically trigger a night-light system, and various no-step entryways.

Across the country in California, Pacific Modern Homes also provides custom housing solutions for seniors.  While Pacific Modern Homes is primarily known for non-senior specific pre-fabricated homes, they recently expanded their line to accommodate a growing demand for aging in place options.  Their “Sonoma” model is 682 square feet, which includes a “Living/Dining area with vaulted ceilings, spacious bathroom with two sinks and a walk-in shower.”  The Sonoma is offered as a “kit” that comes with detailed assembly instructions (like an IKEA dresser) for a little over $20,000.  The added cost of hiring a contractor to assemble the Sonoma for you would bring the total cost up to around $50,000.

Why not consider a Granny Pod, either for your parents or down the road for yourself? What a great way to experience the joys of a multigenerational family with out the drawbacks that can come from having everyone living in the same house!

So stay ahead of the curve, be a trendsetter, and follow the new fad by figuring out the best way for you to age with pride, dignity, and independence.

Hilary Young is the Communications Manager for Medical Guardian.  She helps to keep baby boomers and their loved ones educated about their health and wellbeing.  She is also a regular contributor to the Medical Guardian Blog, the Huffington Post, and BlogHer.com.