7/20/2012 4:00 PM ET|
‘Granny pods’ vs. nursing homes
Prefab backyard alternatives to assisted-living facilities let elderly relatives stay close to loved ones, and the units can be much less expensive.
If there's one thing worse than sending an elderly loved one to live in a nursing home, it could be having them live in your house. With millions of baby boomers expected to need assisted living in the near future, some homebuilders are bringing creative housing solutions to the market.
Small modular units, dubbed "granny pods," can serve as an alternative to a nursing home. Compact, specifically designed to meet medical needs and relatively inexpensive compared to living in a facility, they bring assisted living right into your backyard.
Bringing care closer to home
The average age of admission to a nursing home is 79, according to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Millions of baby boomers will start reaching this age in less than 15 years.
In 2011, Nationwide Homes launched the Care Cottage, a 14-foot-by-44-foot modular home specifically designed as a way to bring assisted living closer to home. Dan Goodwin, the vice president of sales and marketing for the Martinsville, Va., company, says the small dwellings, which can be temporary or permanent, offer both care and closeness for loved ones without a loss of privacy for the family.
"What we found was that the preferred place for people to be is not in institutions but with family members. But people also want their own space," Goodwin says.
A number of other units have recently arrived on the market. MEDCottage, a 288-square-foot modular unit created by N2Care of Blacksburg, Va., is designed to serve as a long-term-care housing alternative to nursing homes. The 12-foot-by-24-foot unit features a kitchen with a small refrigerator and microwave oven, as well as, a medication dispenser and handicapped-accessible bathroom.
Since the risk of falling is one of the main reasons people go into nursing homes, MEDCottage has defenses. They include a floor-mounted camera that monitors up to 12 inches off the ground, safety lighting and a lift that can carry the resident to the bathroom. MEDCottage also features devices that can monitor vital signs and everything from blood pressure to glucose levels.
"It's not necessarily made to replace nursing homes but gives people an option who want their loved one close by. It offers a lot more than a spare room," says N2Care CEO and founder Ken Dupin.
A cost-effective alternative
Because of their modular design, most assisted-living units can be installed as temporary structures. When they are no longer needed, they can be sold back to the distributor, allowing the homeowner to recoup part of the cost.
According to Genworth Financial's 2012 Cost of Care Survey, the national median monthly rate of an assisted-living facility is $3,300 per month, or $39,600 per year. For a semiprivate room in a nursing home, the median rate is $73,000 per year.
Dupin says the retail price of the MEDCottage averages $85,000, meaning it can usually pay for itself within a year and a half.
Henry Racki is the CEO for the RockFall Company in Rockfall, Conn., which builds modular units called PALS -- Practical Assisted Living Solutions. He says buyers have been homeowners in their 60s who are purchasing PALS to care for parents in their 80s. Many of these homeowners are investing in the units with plans to use them themselves later in life.
Other buyers find PALS are well-suited not just for seniors needing specialized care, but also for disabled individuals who otherwise would need institutional housing. An "a la carte" menu of features means consumers can customize a PALS unit to meet their exact needs.
"We can design it to almost any level of medical needs. We've found that disabled people can now stay at home because they can have cost-effective facilities," says Racki.
Local codes could create barriers
While modular designs offer affordability, portability and the option of keeping loved ones close to home, they are banned by zoning regulations in many communities. Dupin says that in 2010, N2Care was successful in getting Virginia to pass a law superseding local zoning ordinances. The measure allows families with a doctor's order to put modular medical dwellings on their property.
Four other states, including New York and California, have enacted similar legislation. As more and more baby boomers start needing assisted-living care in the coming years, Dupin believes more codes will be changed to allow such units.
"It varies from state to state and the code. I think more states will follow suit in the future. You couldn't build enough brick-and-mortar facilities in the next 10 years. We're going to need creative options, and this is one of them," he says.
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My sister and I both have asked our mom to live with us and she refuses. Retirement communities are nothing but a money making racket and are ridiculously priced. Neither one of us have children and we have plenty of space. We work all day so she could have the whole house to herself and not have to lift a finger.
I just dont get this! Why would you spend 80k on a trailor parked in the yard when you could just do some Aging in Place home modifications!My company specializes in home bath mods for the elderly and phyisically challanged.Most baths cost around 10k to 15k for full remodels(curbless shower,grab bars, elevated toilets etc...).You also get to stay in your own home which most would rather do.Its much cheaper to have a caregiver come in a few days a week and help than move mom or dad into one of those retirement homes!Bathing is where most need the help and that is where most injurys occur as well.... Incredible Kitchens and Bath( home of AIP Bath renovations) Sacramento calif.
Consider the potential conflict of interest. Our young people in uniform return from Afghanistan & Iraq to find Grandma & Grandpa fired from their jobs because they were making too much. Also thrown out of their home by the bank. A Granny Pod would work, but the youngsters need jobs to pay for it all.
They're trained warriors so jobs are available with private security firms. Providing security for the same employers & bankers who tossed Grandma & Grandpa into the street.
The rest of this story is directed by Alfred HItchcock, & narrated by Rod Sterling.
That's only a good deal compared to the otherwise rip-off dollars the care homes charge.
That's like trying to sell the idea that skunks smell good after you've been stuck in a sewer all day.
I'm building one right now for the CAT!!
When Mom is ready the cat can move out and Mom can move right on in with her cat.
All will be welcome and seperate locks are between us.
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