'Granny pods' provide shelter for aging parents

Prefab cottages are designed to be placed on a relative's property. All are equipped for the elderly and some include high-tech medical monitoring.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate May 18, 2012 1:27PM

© MedCottageSharing your property with aging parents isn't new. You can find many old houses with cottages and many new ones with two master suites or an extra living unit.

 

A number of companies are now selling prefab "granny pods," which you can put on your property to house parents who want to live independently but no longer want to maintain an entire home. One of the most sophisticated units for elderly parents is the MEDCottage, which was recently mentioned in The New York Times.

 

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The 12-by-24-foot cottage has a sleeping area, living area, bath and kitchenette. But it also has features designed specifically for the frail elderly.

The floors, for example, are rubber, to lessen the chance of injuries from a fall. Among the other features:

  • A mat stretching from the bed to the toilet lights up when you step on it, then turns itself off after 20 minutes.
  • Tracks along the ceiling can be used to install a lift or a hook to help residents with balance issues.
  • A camera sweeps the area along the floor, so the people in the main house can see if their loved one falls.
  • A medicine dispenser reminds the occupant if he fails to take his meds and also sends a text message to the caregivers.
  • A system is installed that will track blood pressure, glucose, heart rate and blood gases.

The first MEDCottage is being installed this month in Alexandra, Va. It's not cheap: about $85,000. But the company will buy it back after two years for $38,000, The Times reported.

"Granny pods" without all the high-tech touches are being sold by other companies as well.

In the Northeast, residents can buy or lease P.A.L.S., short for Practical Assisted Living Structures. The cottages don't include the sophisticated medical monitoring systems, though such a system can be added for about $16,000, The Times reported.

 

The Huffington Post has information on other "granny pods." And, of course, you could just build one from scratch, retrofit rooms in your house or buy the house next door.

 

 
23Comments
Mar 30, 2014 2:10PM
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What?  the tool shed isn't good enough anymore?
Jun 2, 2012 6:09PM
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Yes, the granny pod is a good idea but $85,000?  Who can afford that except the rich?  You can't tell me they couldn't make these things for less money.  They still want to stick it to you even to the last breath.  I just hope I drop dead in my yard or home without any warning.
Jun 2, 2012 4:20PM
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I share caring for my elderly and physically limited parent for extended times. I would love one of these and so would my parent. Just enough freedom so they don't feel as though they are in the way, a common complaint, but close enough to not be alone. One option I would like to see would be O2 hook ups so they don't have to drag a long nose hose around. Finish it off with another lit pathway to the door to the main house and you are set.
Jun 2, 2012 2:16PM
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If you are reading this story and thinking you couldn't afford something like this for your parents when the time comes to help them when they might need it I have some valuable advice that I wish someone would have given me before my mom had her stroke in 2009.

 

Take care of the legal stuff meaning make sure it is documented somewhere what your parents wishes are when it comes to whether they wish to be kept alive by artifical means or if they would perfer to pass away with dignity. Appoint a health care surrogate and have a POA document.

 

If your parents are considered low income there

are a number of programs that they could be eligble for and to find out more about those programs contact your individual state's Department of Elder Affairs or SHIP line.

 

Caring for elderly parents and balancing the needs of your own family can wear you out make sure you find time to care for yourself as well. There are caregiver support groups all over the US that can help you lighten your load.

 

Also when checking out ALFs and other living arrangements make sure you ask to see the last inspection report for the facility. You are entitled to view that document. Visit the facility at different times of the day and even evening to see how the staff interact with their clients.

 

And if you have no other choice but to have your parents move in with you by all means make sure your dealing with a reputable home health agency. Their employees should be licensed and bonded.

Jun 2, 2012 1:58PM
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seems pretty callous to isolate Granny and Grampy from the family house.  Might as well have them sleep in their coffins.
Jun 2, 2012 12:18PM
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It's a brilliant idea, it's just too bad it's so expensive.  It doesn't make financial sense to most of us middle class people who's parents aren't financially sound.

 

Jun 2, 2012 10:01AM
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Try getting planning permission for one of those pods.
Jun 2, 2012 9:26AM
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Everything is so expensive.  I know that assisted living apts and nursing homes are

way to expensive.  People have the wrong idea and think their insurance or medicare will

pay for long term nursing care, which it does not.  Neither does it pay for a caregiver to come in and help the elderly stay in there home.  Having a family member willing to even take you into their home to live can be hard.   These pods would work, but the money is beyond most peoples reach.   I just hope that I am not around before I reach that point. 

Jun 2, 2012 8:15AM
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Sounds great except the county I live in does not allow mother-in-law houses.  Can't get a break here.
Jun 2, 2012 7:16AM
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Sounds like a very nice way to live out our "golden years".  BUT when it becomes practical and affordable for everyone I will get excited about it.  At the present time it is waaay out of my expectations. Get real about affordable.
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How about allowing such structures to exist independently on small lots, without a hassel from local building permit restrictions?
Jun 2, 2012 12:18AM
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Sounds like something poor older adults dream of and only wealthy people can afford.I will die alone; I have one daughter whose very sick and she is only child I have; all rest of my family mother; father; brother all have already passed away so i'm left.only child I had was born mentally disturbed and i was  afraid to have any more.When a person has first child and something is wrong right away;you are too scared to have anymore.My husband didn't want anymore either because drs couldn't promise us what would happen to others.As for adoption we had our hands full with taking care of her.What ever insurance didn't cover we paid out of our own pockets.So now my husband has passed away; my mother;father and brother passed away i'm left alone to look after her.No-one is to look after me no matter what happens.Even in old age some people can't even live or die in peace.I often wondered how some people consider themselves so unlucky yet they never had near the bad life I had and still have.I often thought  what if they walked a mile in my shoes what would they think and how would they feel?Back when she was born in-laws were old fashion they believed sweeping things under carpet.Back 30 or 35 years ago some relatives still did this. You write the terminally ill ones  off; you never have anything to do with them they were the type of people who distant themselves from you.Today the in-laws have never called us ; they have never offered to help nothing since I lost my husband.I can't get sick myself because i'm all she has.Lots of times I wonder whats going to happen to her when I pass away.Whose going to take care of her? How will she be treated all that.A large percentage of people have a great life and don't even appreciate it.I appreciate every little thing everyday things that others take for granted to me is a luxury.
Jun 1, 2012 11:52PM
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why do they make these so expense,that people like me looking after my mom,& also both husband & myself are ill and I have no brothers & sisters. I don't eef this is fair, to a only child with a mother to look after and don't work.

But for those with money of course this is the answer.

Now when does mine come without going on Welfare?

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