How to best care for aging parents is a growing concern for many American families. Nursing homes are expensive and you could end up paying for a level of care that your parent doesn’t need. Senior communities can also be expensive and may be located in areas that are not convenient for family visits. Having a parent move into your family home isn’t always the best solution either. You may not have the space, and even if you do, it can be hard for aging parents and their adult children to live together again.
One solution that is gaining a lot of traction is using tiny homes as an alternative to the in-law suite. These small homes are the ideal solution for many families who prefer to keep Mom or Dad close by but still give everyone their own space.
What’s the Big Deal about Tiny Homes?
Sometimes referred to as “granny pods,” tiny homes for elderly parents are located on the same property as the caregiver but are standalone housing solutions. This gives the elderly relation their own private space while keeping them close to family caregivers. The idea is growing more popular as nursing home costs continue to rise and even senior apartments are becoming cost prohibitive. For a one-time outlay, property owners can buy a tiny home and not worry about mom or dad being unable to afford nursing home care.
“These homes have a bedroom/living room, a kitchenette and a bathroom. Most pods are equipped with the following: wide doorways allowing easy access for a wheelchair, even flooring (making navigation easy) and open floor plans,” said Sophie Kaemmerle, neighborhood expert for NeighborWho.
These auxiliary dwelling units or ADUs have everything that is needed for independent living and are small enough to fit in the backyard.
Advantages of Tiny Homes for Aging Relatives
There are several advantages to choosing a tiny home over a care facility for aging relatives.
A tiny home can help them retain their independence, yet still have access to nearby assistance if they need it. Many residents of assisted living facilities don’t need 24/7 care, just help once in a while or with specific daily activities. A tiny home makes that help available when needed without the cost of living in a skilled care facility.
As mentioned earlier, both the caregiver and the tiny home resident maintain their privacy in this living situation, as opposed to moving into the adult child’s family home or living in a more invasive nursing home setting. The aging relative still has their own home with the possessions that are important to them, making the transition from a traditional home to a tiny home easier on the psyche.
Many families benefit from improved familial relationships with grandchildren and grandparents spending more time together, looking out for one another and building a closer bond. They may even form new friendships through their children and grandchildren as they can become more involved in day-to-day activities and kids’ school activities.
Living close to one’s parents allows an adult caregiver to keep an eye on them, making sure they take their medications and eliminating the worry that can come with placing parents in a care facility. Kaemmerle points out that tiny homes can be equipped with many of the same safety and smart tech features of larger homes: “Smart features available include a system that allows the occupant to remotely or automatically control the door locks, HVAC, lighting and audio-visual equipment.” She added that for those needing more advanced medical care, MEDCottages feature a virtual system that can track the resident’s blood pressure, glucose levels, heart rate and blood gases, as well as share that information with the person’s family and physician. The system is also equipped to verbally remind the resident to take their medications.
Reduced Financial Burden
Care facilities have recurring fees every month, whereas a tiny home has a one-time purchase price and then just utility expenses, which can be tied into the main home’s account. Tiny homes allow people to live independently for as long as they are capable, thus saving their retirement money until they really need the services of a skilled care facility.
Making the Move
A successful transition to tiny home living requires buy-in from all parties. Family members need to work closely with one another to determine if this is a solution they can all live with. They’ll also need to make sure the tiny home is equipped properly for the resident’s needs. By ensuring tiny home residents have everything they need for day-to-day living, they’ll be more independent and happier in their new home.
The tiny home trend is hot and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. What do you think about tiny homes? Would you consider living out your golden years in one? Would you consider housing your parents in a tiny home on your property? Learn more about tiny homes at NewHomeSource.
Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.