The Washington Post recently published an article, Pioneering the granny pod: Fairfax County family adapts to high-tech dwelling that could change elder care, about a new way that is being explored to help older relatives age in place (see the Video). It involves a free-standing dwelling that looks like a mini mobile home and is intended to provide a safe, monitored environment for an elderly resident that could be placed on a relative’s property. In concept it sounds amazing because it provides the elderly adult with a “home” that is more tailored to their advancing physical needs than a traditional home. It would enable them to remain in very close proximity to their family or friends in the “big house” next door, and it would not require them to move to a potentially more expensive assisted living or nursing home.
I think the success of a house like this depends on the mindset of the inhabitant. Some may see it as a way to prolong independence and privacy. It would enable the aging adult to have their own space to retreat to and make their own while having help and family close by. Others may think it seems more isolating than an assisted living or nursing home because social interaction is more challenging. I will be interested to see if this type of building and living scenario grows in popularity.