"Granny Pods" Are Here And They Let Your Aging Parents Live Right In Your Backyard, Close And Safe

"Granny Pods" Are Here And They Let Your Aging Parents Live Right In Your Backyard, Close And Safe

Grandparents can stay close to their loved ones, while still being able to maintain their independence and privacy.

It's important to find a space for elderly people that helps them feel safe and cared for in their golden years. Sometimes finding a quality nursing home is difficult. And a lot of people feel guilt and anxiety when they place a parent in such facilities. So what's a solution? Why not look into a Granny Pod? To put it simply, these spaces are guest houses on a residence’s property. They're built in such a way as to accommodate an elderly occupant’s needs, reports Good Housekeeping. These have features like slip-resistant floors, wide doorways, and rounded countertops. Some versions of the homes also offer high-tech medical extras.



So are they even legal? According to Country Living, you'll need building approvals from local agencies. The small homes are attached to the main home's sewer, water, and power lines. They are usually installed in the backyard behind the main home so make sure to check with the zoning laws in your area.  For a 67-year-old retiree living alone in Wyoming, it was the best decision of her life. Jane Baldwin wanted to be closer to her family in Oakland, California so she got a 400-square-foot “Granny Pod” in the backyard. “I am in love with it,” said Baldwin. “I can’t foresee leaving here until I’m dead.” The space has a living room, galley kitchen as well as bedroom.



But do note that Granny Pods don't always come cheap.“If people can age in place and age at home it’s much healthier, and the family is happier, but it can be very expensive,” said Carolyn McClanahan, a financial planner at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida to CNBC. “Granny pods can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000. So you got to weigh longevity in there with it.” Some people argue that the option still might be cheaper compared to skilled nursing care which can reach nearly $93,000 a year. The average cost of assisted living care is $43,536, while skilled nursing home care ranges from $82,128 to $92,376, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance.



Some families view the pods as a great space for multigenerational living. “I met with this family the other night, and their adult son would live in the in-law unit but we are designing it to age in place,” said Carrie Shores, an architect with Inspired Independence in Oakland who built Baldwin’s pod. “When they’re tired of maintaining their home, they’ll move in there, and by that point, he may be married and have kids and move into the main house,” she added.  As for Granny Pod resident Baldwin, she's enjoyed turning the space into her home. “I just think all of us, but myself in particular, have too much stuff in our lives and I welcome the chance to downsize,” she said.



Another fan of the concept, Eric Santolicito, 35, of Billerica, Mass called building a separate space a "win-win" situation. Santolicito said, according to AARP, “We cut our expenses for owning and maintaining two separate, older homes. Now we all have a new house with separate living quarters, and we stayed in the neighborhood where my sisters live, too. My parents were able to downsize a bit. They now have living, dining, bedroom, bath, and kitchen spaces in about 800 square feet — much less for them to clean and maintain. I can look after all the yard work. And now we have the best on-site child care for our two little ones. Building this house the way we did — it has alleviated a lot of stress for everyone in the family.” Also do note, while known as  “granny pods” and “in-law apartments” in mainstream media, the official terms for the space in the building industry is ADUs (accessory dwelling units).