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‘Granny Pods’ Are New Housing Units That Allow Your Aging Parents To Live In Your Backyard

As a nurse, I can say – aging is not easy, pleasant, or welcomed by anyone. Losing your ability to be independent can be especially devastating and difficult if you don’t have adequate supports in place. Luckily, manufacturers are beginning to understand, and respond to the challenges of aging (just in time for the boomers!).

A Blacksburg, VA company has been specifically proactive in creating and marketing the MEDCottage, also referred to as a ‘granny pod’.

Living The Granny Pod Life

Do you have a loved one who is senior and could use extra support, but refuses to move in with you? Or are you reluctant to let an in-law move-in for fear that they will take over? Maybe you just don’t have the space? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a granny pod may be a great solution for you.

All granny pods are pre-fabricated structures, and there are three main designs available. The most popular model is deemed the MEDCottage classic, which is delivered as a kit to be assembled by yourself or a professional as a freestanding structure. This classic version of the granny pod is decently large (12 by 24 feet), and offers majestic french doors. Unfortunately, this model is only available within Virginia at this time! The Living Roo model is designed to fit inside a double bay garage, which adds a greater ‘live-in’ component to the granny pod. Yet, the windows of the Living Roo pod are HD monitors, framed out to look like windows, which correspond with a camera outside. As a result, the occupant can get the feeling of living in an open and separate space. Finally, the Mother Ship is a small, but versatile granny pod. The Mother Ship fits on top of most RV platforms, making transport easy. Maybe with the Mother Ship, you can send your senior to live with different relatives every few months? (1, 2)

Portable Nursing Home?

Granny pods can come with lots of high-tech medical extras too, depending on what the senior in your life needs. Like a guest house, each MEDCottage has room for a bed, accessible bathroom, and kitchenette. Additionally, safety features like hand railings, soft flooring (minimize damage from falls), and double doors (allows for hospital equipment to come into the unit) come with the granny pods. (1, 2)

Legal And Zoning Issues

Before making the leap to purchase a granny pod of your own, there must be a consideration of local zoning and homeowner association regulations. Not every municipality allows granny pods, but the majority (90%) of American municipalities do allow the Living Roo model. Other considerations for zoning include how heat, sewer, and water will be supplied to the pod and any land protection by-laws. (1, 2)

Purchasing Your Own

So what will a granny pod but you back? With payment plans available, a MEDCottage can run from $100,000 to $250,000. If this seems steep, financial experts ask that you consider the length of time you may require the pod and other potential uses. The MEDCottage website points out the pod can be alternatively used for rehabilitation for chronically ill people of all ages. If the pod is replacing a nursing home stay, then the investment could be worthwhile too! (1, 2)

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