What Are Granny Pods? Few family responsibilities in life are more important than making sure our parents are comfortable in their heyday – but the options can be daunting. Finding a quality nursing home can seem overwhelming, as can the price. You may be able to share your home with your parents as a solution – or this option may be a non-starter due to limited space or other barriers.
Especially if you are a member of the sandwich generation, you might recognize yourself in this scenario, and you may be looking for an alternative configuration – and a granny pod might just be the answer you were looking for.
What is a granny pod?
The so-called granny pods are essentially guesthouses on the property of a residence – only with a special design to meet the needs of an elderly occupant. The Washington Post note that some of these extras may include an elevator to help the resident move between the bed and the bathroom; a video camera system to monitor the space (it can be placed at ground level to provide privacy but also an additional measure of security); and smart devices such as toilets equipped to measure temperature, weight and urine content. Other lower-tech safety features could also include guardrails, softer floors to cushion falls, and first aid items.
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You may have heard of similar spaces generically called step-parents units or ADUs (accessory housing units). Or maybe you’ve heard of MEDCottage, designed by the Virginia-based company N2Care with Virginia Tech. Think of them as having state-of-the-art hospital room features on the inside and a charming residential look on the outside so you can install them in the backyard behind your main house if the zoning laws of your region allow it. Each is approximately 12 feet by 24 feet (approximately 288 square feet in total) and includes a small kitchen, bedroom, accessible bathroom, and visiting space.
The company produces three varieties.
The Living ROO is designed to fit inside the garage, with HD monitors framed like windows with a corresponding HD camera outside to create the illusion of window views. The Mother Ship is designed on an RV platform and can be placed in 90% of the country’s municipalities. And the redesigned MEDCottage Classic, which comes in a kit that you can assemble yourself or hire a local contractor. (This is currently only available in Virginia.)
Other companies also offer prefabricated housing products like these with features to support aging residents and those with medical needs. Seattle-based FabCab manufactures home kits ranging from 300 square feet. And The Home Store also offers custom ADUs, according to AARP.
How much does a grandmother’s capsule cost?
According to The week, these cottages start at around $ 85,000, but you will need to budget around $ 125,000 when you plan to install. And it is certainly a major investment. But consider that the alternatives – nursing homes or nursing homes – also come with significant prices. CNBC cites the cost of qualified nursing care at nearly $ 93,000… every year. (Although Medicaid can pay the bill for many residents.)
Are Grandma’s Pods Legal in the United States?
You will need to find out about your local zoning laws to determine if a granny pod is legal for you. Zoning laws can dictate whether you can have an ADU on your property. Also how much total space on your land can be covered by a structure.
Of course, you may encounter additional obstacles if you are part of an association of owners and bound by its rules, or if you are close to certain parks or watersheds for which you will need to obtain an exemption or exemption.
The AARP notes some additional legal considerations: contact your local electricity, sewer or water agency for customs clearance. And also check the septic tank. Adding an ADU with its own kitchen and bathroom can mean that your system is no longer compliant and needs to be updated.
Although you may need to request a waiver or special deviation from local regulations. This can take time, note AARP – most of these potential hurdles don’t disqualify you initially. So if you think a grandmother’s pod is right for you … keep going.