“The age of the Granny Pod is upon us”

In an article by Susan Seliger for the New York Times May 1, 2012, she sets out a new concept of housing for parents 80+.


Seliger explains that MEDCottages are a kind of ‘Granny Pod’, a prefabricated 12 foot x 24 foot bedroom/bathroom/kitchenette unit that can be set up as a free standing structure in gardens of the children of elderly parents. More than just a miniature house it includes high-tech monitoring and safety features that better those found in top end nursing homes.

“The floors, for instance: are “special rubber floors, so even if you fall, you’ll be safe,” and “the granny pod also brims with high-tech touches. In order to make midnight bathroom visits safer, for instance, a runway mat stretching from the bed to the toilet lights up automatically when you step on it. It turns itself off after 10 minutes. Tracks along the ceiling accommodate a lift or a trapeze hook. Residents who have balance issues can grab onto a hook to provide stability as they move around the cottage. The lift helps those with more serious mobility challenges.”

I would love the possibility of such a granny pod should I need a lot of help when I reach that stage of life and not want to go into an old age home; but I just wonder how many aging children of elderly parents would want to give up their suburban gardens, and so much of their time, so ‘Granny or Grandpa’ can live quite close up and personal.

My one and only offspring, now a strapping 43 year old, lives with his family near Pasadena in Los Angeles County. Their garden is huge. When I joke with him that I would like to live in a small house in his garden when I get to be ‘old’ he is not amused. I can see him visually shrink away! My becoming elderly and frail and the possibility of his having to be the caregiver fills him with psychological/physical/emotional dread.

Granny pods have advantages: “Older adults have their own living space and privacy, which has the potential to reduce much of the stress associated with caring for aging parents,” said Bernard A. Steinman, senior research associate at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts.

Still, the setup may not work for everyone. “Some families may have dynamics and/or history that make the option undesirable, or the level of care needed by the older adult may exceed what the family is able to provide,” Dr. Steinman said.

To read about different types of granny pods now available in the USA – visit:

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