'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.
Sharing 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.
Post continues below
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?