Commonly referred to as "granny pods", MedCottages are becoming a popular solution for seniors with caregivers who are not ready to place their loved one in assisted living. A MedCottage is a home behind a home. Although they are outbuildings on someone's property, these structures are more of a home than a storage shed! In fact these top of the line buildings can include some major innovative features that make aging in place a practical solution for many seniors still wanting to remain independent, but who need some caretaking.

Aging Innovatively

When we age, we don't just require a roof over our heads. To age in place safely, certain precautions should be taken. The status quo needs to change. According to Jean S. MacFadyen PhD, there are seniors for whom age is just a number and who are always innovating the way they live this adventure called life. There are also seniors who enjoy a slower pace and those who prefer the predictability of a routine. For each of these methods of aging, an innovation will be required at some point as, according to MacFadyen, it is necessary to age innovatively in the 21st century. Proper housing solutions are at the forefront of these needed innovations.

Not a New Concept

For years there has been a trend to live smaller and in more eco-friendly ways. Tiny homes aren't for everyone, but one person, Kenneth Dupin, found the concept appealing and in line with his passion to see the way older people are cared for in our country. Dupin felt that our care for our seniors is lacking compared with other cultures he has visited.

They are essentially fully functioning homes that are wired into the main home.

MedCottages may be the practical solution to innovatively aging in 21st century America. They are small scale modular homes that come in three different models that range from 288 sq. ft. to 605 sq. ft. They are essentially fully functioning homes that are wired into the main home. They have certain age-friendly innovations that make this adapted concept a growing trend. They are designed with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, sitting area, and are somewhat customizable. They come complete with their own heating and air conditioning systems with a special filtration system to remove harmful contaminants. They are designed with all the other accommodations available in the average home, yet they provide a number of additional benefits too. According to Medcottage.com, they include:

  • Adaptability to a monitoring system
  • Mobility for easy relocation
  • Support of in home healthcare with state of the art technology to accommodate specific healthcare requirements
  • Close proximity to family caregivers

Innovative Monitoring Systems to Aging in Place

The monitoring systems beg for more explanation because the benefits go far beyond a home security system. They can come with a computer-installed voice app that reminds the senior to take medications at the right time. Specific safety engineered flooring can alert caregivers in the main home should a fall take place. There is even a system that can monitor vital signs. What's more, all of these features can be managed from a cell phone app.

The higher the tech, the higher the cost, but as of right now pricing is estimated at $40,000 to $75,000. According to AARP, there are leasing options available for shorter term needs, such as recovery from a procedure or lengthy visits. Leasing options begin at around $1,500 to $2,000 a month.

...to also help get people talking about the way we care for our older loved ones and to change cultural perceptions to be more receptive to aging in place.

There are some critics of this housing option, saying it could create a zoning problem with residential areas or cause neighborly disputes, but that was one reason why Dupin got creative and set up the structures to meet zoning rules. MedCottages are considered temporary structures. A temporary accommodation was what Dubin had in mind when he designed MedCottages. This was not just to meet strict regulations, but to also help get people talking about the way we care for our older loved ones and to change cultural perceptions to be more receptive to aging in place.

Depending on where the senior in your life is planning on going, MedCottages could be a more affordable option to assisted living accommodations. They provide the means to age in place safely and allow you, the caregiver, to remain close by but still give the senior the independence needed to live a higher quality of life.

Sources

MedCottage. MEDCottage Features. Available at http://www.medcottage.com/features.php. Last Visited March 13, 2016.

MacFadyen, Jean S. (March/April 2015). Aging Innovatively. Holistic Nursing Practice, 29(2): 67- 69. Available at http://journals.lww.com/hnpjournal/Citation/2015/03000/Aging_Innovatively.2.aspx. Last Visited March 13, 2016.

Petrowski, Elaine. (October 18, 2010). ADU for Medical Caregiving. AARP. Available at http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/housing/info-10-2010/adu_for_medical_caregiving_medcottage.html. Last Visited March 13, 2016.

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