Will Granny Pods Become Foundation of Aging in Place Movement?

While seniors may be initially cautious about accepting so-called “granny pods” as a new residence, the increase in these types of senior housing products may play a crucial role in people’s ability to age in place.

The intended inhabitant of the nation’s first MedCottage placement wasn’t exactly gung-ho to move in, reports The Washington Post. MedCottages, and other similar products, are essentially small living spaces that can be attached to or located nearby dwellings. Some utilize a variety of monitoring technology to create a safer environment for inhabitants who are often old and frail, but don’t want to move into a senior care residence. 

The Washington Post reports:

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[Viola Baez’s] daughter’s family had just invested about $125,000 in a new kind of home for her, a high-tech cottage that might revolutionize the way Americans care for their aging relatives. But Viola wouldn’t even step inside.

She told her family she would rather continue living in the family’s dining room than move into the shed-size dwelling that had been lowered by crane into the back yard of their Fairfax County home.

As the first private inhabitant of a MedCottage, Viola is a reluctant pioneer in the search for alternatives to nursing homes for aging Americans. Her relatives agonized over the best way to care for Viola only after her ability to care for herself became questionable. Their decision exposed intergenerational friction that worsened after the new dwelling arrived.

The MedCottage, designed by a Blacksburg company with help from Virginia Tech, is essentially a portable hospital room. Virginia state law, which recognized the dwellings a few years ago, classifies them as “temporary family health-care structures.” But many simply know them as “granny pods,” and they have arrived on the market as the nation prepares for a wave of graying baby boomers to retire.

The MedCottage in Fairfax is about 12 by 24 feet, the size of a typical master bedroom. With its beige aluminum siding—and cosmetic touches such as green shutters—the cottage looks a little like an elaborate dollhouse.

Several other firms have entered the market with products similar in nature to the MedCottage, notes the article, including FabCab, Practical Assisted Living Solutions, and the Home Store. 

Read more at The Washington Post.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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