Will Tiny Homes Become the Next Retirement Trend?

A variety of TV networks have showcased the tiny house movement as a “less is more” alternative to traditional housing, and this design is also catching on among older homeowners looking for minimal maintenance living.

Shows like HGTV’s Tiny House Builders and Tiny House Hunters, as well as Tiny House Nation on A&E’s FYI Lifestyle Network, have brought the concept of small house living to the forefront of American popular culture.

Tiny homes typically provide around 200-square-feet of living with all of the necessities a homeowner needs, including a kitchen area, bathroom, and bedroom. But despite the small square footage, the homes are designed to provide anything but claustrophobia.

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These new housing alternatives can be perfect for families that have aging loved ones by keeping them living independently nearby, thereby delaying the need to move to somewhere like an assisted living community, according to NextDoor Housing, a Minnesota-based company that specializes in tiny home design.

The company was recently featured in a CBS Minnesota feature story spotlighting its trademarked Drop Home, a handicap accessible dwelling that offers inhabitants more than simply downsizing.

“It gives your family the ability to bring their loved ones closer to home versus outsourcing the care,” said NextDoor Housing Co-founder John Louiselle to CBS Minnesota.

Ranging between 210- to 240-square-feet, the Drop Home is handicap accessible, having been universally designed with help from certified aging in place specialists and architects, according to the company’s website.

Using a $340,000 state grant, NextDoor Housing was able to put a priority on handicap-accessible design, including features like low cupboards and countertops as well as wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.

The homes don’t take up more space than the 30-foot by 8-foot plot of land that they sit upon, allowing them to be conveniently located adjacent to family members’ homes.

Since the Drop Homes are not permanent structures, they are not zoned as a house. Rather, being on a mobile frame, they are qualified as Recreational Vehicles (RVs). Each city, however, has different rules permitting these homes on a property.

By allowing family members to remain close to their loved ones, from whom they may also benefit from a variety of services and supports, NextDoor’s Drop Home aims to disrupt the traditional concept of what it means to downsize and age in place.

“Looking back in retrospect, my grandpa, he really could have used an option like this,” said NextDoor Housing Co-Foudner Jesse Lammie in the CBS feature. “There was nothing out there. We didn’t even know something like this was possible.”

Read the CBS Minnesota story.

Written by Jason Oliva