Making sure our parents are comfortable in their senior years is one of the most important family responsibilities, but the options can be confusing. Both finding and paying for a good nursing home might be stressful. As a possible alternative, you might be able to share your home with your parents, or it might not be possible due to space restrictions or other issues.
If you’re a member of the sandwich generation, you might find yourself in this scenario, and you may be searching for an alternative setup — and a granny pod might just be the answer you’ve been looking for.
What Is a Granny Pod?
'Granny pods' are essentially just guest cottages on someone's property but with a unique layout to meet the needs of an older occupant.
According to The Washington Post, some of these extras could include a lift to help the resident move between the bed and the bathroom, a video camera system to watch the area (which might be positioned at floor level to provide privacy as well as an additional measure of security), and smart technology like a toilet with sensors that can measure temperature, weight, and urine content. Railings, softer surfaces to cushion falls, and first-aid supplies are some other low-tech safety features.
10 Best Granny Pods
1. Autonomous StudioPod
Autonomous, which is renowned for offering all the tools needed in a work-from-home space, offers the ultimate outdoor office pod experience. This home office pod can also be transformed into a granny home.
Technicians are sent to your location to construct it onsite, and all the extra bits are taken care of by the team. All you need to do is move in.
2. Modern Pod
Any garden looks modern with a sleek building in the form of a pod from the British company Pod Space. In addition to being energy-efficient and having enormous picture windows for nature lovers, these futuristic granny pods also have built-in lights. These pods are a great option to add to your summer house ideas.
3. Fabulous Granny Loft
This modern take on the backyard dwelling comes from Best Practice Architecture and was completed in 2017. The granny pod is located in a backyard, and its open interior design makes its 517 square feet seem larger than it actually is.
4. Natural-Light Paradise
Canada-based prefab ADU homes from Drop Structures are available for less than $20,000 and can be installed in your backyard for a small fee. The Arlo is a little more expensive but offers a space that can be used to house an elderly parent, and it also serves as a lovely workspace. It's one of the smallest pods you'll find, but it's also one of the more stylish ones, measuring 157 square feet.
5. Comano Island Cottage
The size, style, and riverfront location of this modern backyard studio make it the ideal place for a retiree.
Comano’s French doors that lead directly to the spacious deck are beautiful. It offers several ideas as to how you can make the most of a little space, even though it isn't strictly a granny pod.
6. The Rustic Buhaus
Malibu-based Buhaus is a firm that offers variations on a specific design that it has perfected. Each of these 160 square-foot rooms has a living area, a full bathroom, and a wooden deck. The exterior color options include strong black, glossy platinum, or an earthy shade.
7. Breezeway Connector
Pondering a dual-dwelling situation? The Projector House provides a great opportunity to connect your primary residence to a granny pod. Essentially, the prefab accessory dwelling unit is connected to a smaller flat by a breezeway on the second story.
Wheelhaus wants you to spend less while living large. The design of this studio shed kit combines rustic and modern designs and is influenced by the durability of log cabins. It has high ceilings, big windows, and eight-foot doors. Even an outdoor deck is an option!
9. Portland Mother-In-Law Cottage
This charming little house was built by an architect for his mother-in-law in the backyard. Most of the 200-square-foot space's construction materials were recycled. Gran is always just a few steps away from the main house, even though it has two porches, a kitchenette, and a bathroom.
Essentially, not everyone can afford to set aside a large amount of space for the installation of a backyard studio for remote work. Your garden might not be big enough to support some of the larger designs, even if you want that extra space to help you focus.
If that sounds like you, then the officePOD may be the solution for you. The studio cabin kit is a very slim, tasteful, rounded cube shape that should fit most of your office furniture.
How Much Do Granny Pods Cost?
These cottages start at about $85,000, but The Week claims that when installation is taken into account, you'll need to budget about $125,000. That is definitely a huge investment.
However, keep in mind that the alternatives, such as assisted living or nursing homes, also have high costs. According to CNBC, the expense of skilled nursing care is close to $93,000 annually.
Can You Afford a Granny Pod?
You need to determine your financial capacity before looking into granny pod homes. In most states, mortgage payments are usually more than rent. Even when the prices are similar, buying a property rather than renting has extra costs.
Your property taxes will be added to your monthly mortgage payment. Additionally, your lender will undoubtedly ask you to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) if your down payment is less than 20%.
Other expenses that you might not have incurred while renting include utilities, cable, waste pickup, and any necessary repairs.
Before purchasing your first house, ensure that you can comfortably afford not only your mortgage but also any additional costs.
If you've done the math and decided that you can indeed afford homeownership, the next step is to meet with a mortgage provider.
You can talk about the many different mortgage options available and choose the one that best suits you.
Also, you’ll want to be pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin house-hunting.
You must supply the lender with information about your finances and employment in order to get pre-approved for a mortgage. They'll need proof, including tax records, wage stubs, and other material.
After the lender has looked through and verified your information, they will decide whether to approve you for a mortgage or not. If so, they will inform you of your options and terms for a mortgage.
Can You Rent Granny Pods?
Yes! Renting is not the only unique approach that granny pods are bringing to the self-contained garden annex market.
The pods are created specifically for those who are elderly or disabled, making it easier for them and their caregivers to look after them.
Are Granny Pods Legal?
These little homes are usually connected to the existing sewer, water, and power lines in the main house, so you'll need to have the relevant building approvals required by local authorities.
Furthermore, as was already indicated, your region's zoning laws could set restrictions on how much land a structure can occupy.
Before making a purchase, confirm that all intended uses of the cottage, including homeowner association agreements and proximity to historic districts, wetlands, or parks, have been approved.
Prefabricated Granny Pods Buying Guide
The secret to a successful granny pod is a universal design. An entrance that is level with the ground (no steps) and doorways that are at least 36 inches wide will make it easier for a resident who uses a wheelchair or power chair to go around. The concept behind a universal design is the incorporation of building elements that are advantageous for homes with small children as well as for those with mobility challenges.
A two-way intercom that enables your loved one to reach you inside your home without leaving the pod should be included in your list of safety features. Install security bars in the bathtub and shower and consider installing a video camera, so you can keep an eye on your relatives.
24/7 Emergency Assistance
Living on your property puts your loved one close to you, but what if you aren't there or can't be reached in an emergency?
Some devices include voice-activated emergency assistance that is available 24/7.
Residents with impaired immune systems cannot take the chance of contracting airborne diseases. Systems with pressurized ventilation can block outside air from entering the unit.
The MEDCottage Granny Pod and Evernest are two examples of housing options that offer these crucial safety features.
Why Should You Buy a Granny Pod?
Increases Access to Social Support
Essentially, the ability for seniors to get social support from family is increased when they live close to family members. This is crucial since having enough social support raises one's quality of life and lowers anxiety, as well as depression.
Despite how vital social assistance is, most of us, whether we are 8 or 80, want some source of independence.
A granny home offers the perfect compromise for a parent who likes to maintain their own home or is reluctant to move into a long-term care facility.
We all need our own privacy from time to time, whether we are the parent or the adult child. When sharing a home, it poses various challenges.
In fact, according to statistics, 45% of Americans aged 55 to 65 or older are currently living with their children. Granny cottages offer the benefit of companionship while giving both parties more privacy.
The areas that an elderly person can safely explore may get smaller as their mobility decreases. Seniors can move around and enjoy their entire home, not just some areas of it, thanks to the tiny size of portable granny pods and their built-in accessible features.
Allows Seniors to Keep Pets
Pet ownership is prohibited in long-term care facilities, but seniors who live in granny pods are able to keep their four-legged friends. This option ensures that it won't be necessary to rehome a beloved pet to move into a care facility or a granny house.
More Time with Grandchildren
Research has proven that spending time with grandkids lengthens a person's lifespan, improves cognition, boosts activity levels, and lowers the risk of depression. Seniors have a ton of chances to spend time with their grandchildren when they move into a granny home near the main house.
Improves Property Value
The addition of a granny house is a big selling feature because multigenerational living is becoming more common in the United States. Granny cottages can improve the value of your property by 45% to 100% of its construction cost.
Potential for Rental Income
If your parent decides the prebuilt studio isn’t right for them or moves out of the unit for any reason, you may be able to rent it out (if local zoning laws allow it).
Is a Granny Pod Right for You?
Granny pods appear to be becoming more and more popular in the United States, and as the number of seniors in the country rises, they may become much more common.
When a senior reaches the age where mobility or health concerns become an issue, prefab granny pods provide a more independent option than moving into old-age homes.
These practical little houses are the ideal places to put up out-of-town guests, generate extra income, or look after a loved one. It's important to keep in mind that your granny pod doesn't have to be a standalone structure in your backyard. The pod can be added to an existing garage or used as an extension to your main house.
No matter what kind of accessory dwelling unit kit you settle on, we hope it creates a better living situation for you and your loved ones.
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