When your parents or another beloved relative starts getting to that point where they really shouldn't be all alone at home away from family, but they aren't quite ready for a nursing home or even assisted living, what do you do? Many people choose to have elderly family members move in with them but this is not always a good or even workable option. Maybe you don't have the space. Maybe you do, but you and the elderly relatives really value your privacy and sense of independent living space. You'd like to be close-er, just not on top of each other. Z-Mom has said to me a zillion times, "I don't want to live with one of my children. That's not good for the marriage."
What to do? Well, we already make use of U-Store-It places for all our extra stuff that just doesn't fit in the house. Take that concept, bring it into the back yard, add some electricity, running water, and monitoring systems, and you've got Granny Pods!
Seriously. Developed by Rev. Kenneth Dupin in Virginia and more properly called the MEDcottage, it fits in your backyard, assuming your backyard is big enough. And that you've got one. And can afford it. Tiny House Blog has a nice cutaway schematic of the layout, and a link to a longer WaPo article. Interesting comment thread on the THB post. Apparently these would rent for $2k per month which is less than many assisted living homes. The design presented here may not be the optimal one (see the comment thread at THB for criticisms) but this does present an alternative for our aging population. Not everyone who owns a house can or would want to redo it for elderly living, or buy a house with an in-law suite. The pod solution is temporary, available for the time needed, and then removed when the elderly person passes on or moves to nursing care. Clearly this is a solution for suburban/rural lifestyles, and will not help people in the cities with aging relatives. Or anybody whose problem is fundamentally one of scarce resources to begin with.
You know, looking at the Granny Pod, I'm thinking, why not just get a nice piece of land suitable for gardening and plunk down a Granny Pod on it. Then I can age in place quite nicely. I don't know where all the books and Mr. Z's music and taper gear would go. Maybe we could get an Arts & Humanities Pod Annex next door.
I'm filing this one under both Geekalicious AND Technology Gone Bad because I'm just not sure yet...it's still an individualized solution to a societal issue.
UPDATE: Ha. Now that I've had a chance to read the WaPo article I see that snooty-ass Fairfax County (VA) Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee) feels the MEDcottages are okay for them rural folk who don't have any standards, but not for us fine city folk with all our zoning and whatnot. Appearances must be kept up. Off to the nursing home, Granny!!!!