28 June 2012

A "grannypod" in the back yard

A story in the New York Times details an alternative solution to caring for an infirm elderly parent. 
They ordered a MEDCottage — a prefabricated 12-by-24-foot bedroom-bathroom-kitchenette unit that can be set up as a free-standing structure in their backyard. It’s more than a miniature house — it’s decked out with high-tech monitoring and safety features that rival those of many nursing homes...

The cottage is laid out as an open-plan apartment with a kitchen area (equipped with a microwave, small refrigerator and washer-dryer combo), a bed area and a bathroom large enough in which to maneuver a wheelchair. The utilities and plumbing connect to the primary residence.
It's very expensive, but so is nursing home care:
The cottage costs about $85,000 new; Mr. Dupin’s distributors will buy it back for about $38,000 after 24 months of use. “If you compare it to nursing home costs, which can run $6,000 to $8,000 per month in Virginia, even higher in New York, that’s cheap,” said Mr. Dupin.

Of course, unlike nursing homes, granny pods don’t come equipped with 24-hour professional care and three meals a day. Hiring a health care aide (around $19 an hour) just during weekdays can easily add another $39,000 per year. But a growing number of elderly people — 88 percent of those over 65 — say they want to live in their own homes, in their own communities, as they age.
More details at the link, and at the company's home page.

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