High-Tech Granny Flats ‘Granny Pods’ Allow Elderly Family Members To Live In A Backyard Cottage For $125K

30/11/2012 1:58 am

With the baby boomers now moving into their  6o's where to house elderly parents and grandparents who have increasing medical needs but still want to retain their independence might have some families stumped. That’s why a US based company has developed “granny pods.”

The Washington Post recently featured the “temporary family health-care structures,” which can be located in a family’s backyard. You might be thinking what 88-year-old Viola Baez thought when her family invested in a backyard MedCottage.

“You’re throwing me out! You’re sending me out to a doghouse!” Baez said, according to the Post.

Baez might not have initially wanted to reside in the $125,000, high-tech cottage but into it she went.

The company — N2Care — that creates the cottages was started by Rev. Kenneth J. Dupin. The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center helped design them, according to the Post.

“Today, as 78 million Baby Boomers prepare for their senior years – potentially straining nursing homes and government-funded health care programs – we’ve taken a significant step forward in redefining the role of family in healthcare,” Dupin said in a statement earlier this year. “The first placement with a family validates our vision – to develop an alternative model for healthcare.”

Features of the 288-square-foot cottages include electricity and water; a kitchen that has a medication dispenser; and a bedroom for the patient as well as an extra space for caregivers when necessary. But that’s not all the bells and whistles. The website describes further:

Using smart robotic features, it can monitor vital signs, filter the air for contaminants, and communicate with the outside world very easily. Sensors alert caregivers to problems, and medication reminders are provided via computers. Technology also provides entertainment options including music, literature and movies.

The Post reported that even the floor is specially designed to be cushioned in case someone falls. They demonstrate this by dropping an egg from a height of 7 feet onto the floor. They then drop it from 5 inches onto a hard surface to prove the egg was real.

The Post reported the market is growing for similar homesteads:

Several firms have entered the market for auxiliary dwelling units, or ADUs, as they’re known in the building industry. These include FabCab, a Seattle-based company that makes ADUs and full-size homes. Practical Assisted Living Solutions, or PALS, a firm based in Meriden, Conn., makes freestanding modules; and the Home Store, which is headquartered in Whately, Mass., sells modular “in-law” additions called “Elderly Cottage Housing Opportunity” additions.

Read more details about the MedCottage in the Washington Post’s feature here or on its website here. See a slideshow of photos of Baez’s “granny pod” in by the Washington Post here.

Retirement home: How the finished cottage would look in your yard

Easy setup: HyBrid architectural firm, based out of Seattle, designs structures that can be shipped and set up in someone's backyard


Comfort: The bed takes up most of the living space