The baby boomer population is aging and the onus is on children to make sure their elderly parents have a safe place to stay with all amenities. Moving them into the main house isn't a bad idea but parents who've lived independently may not cherish the notion of having to conform to others (even their own children's) lifestyle. The same applies to their children who've carved out a life of their own.
So, what's the solution? An old-age home is no answer and it seems unkind to just have them move into these assisted living centers unless all other options have been exhausted and there's absolutely no other way. Thankfully, there is a solution and it appears to be catching on quite nicely: granny flats, also known as granny pods.
Contrary to what most think, granny pods aren't strictly for the elderly and the people living in them don't have to be related to others living on the same property but in a different house. These second dwelling units can also house an expanding family where there's no more room in the main unit or can be rented out to tenants.
Though much smaller in size than standard homes, granny pods are, nevertheless, very self-contained. They usually have three to four rooms with space for a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom and a living room. Total area size is around 300 square feet or a little more.
The amenities included can be state-of-the-art with predesigned units boasting a host of safety features. Houses fitted with electronic and robotic equipments have defibrillators, lighted flooring to enable residents to see at night and safety rails to keep them from falling during unsteady moments. Of course, such units can cost a lot but if it can be afforded then it offers the elderly a place to live on their own terms without someone keeping an eye on them.
Since dwellers of granny units don't have to be related to the property owner, such facilities also benefit homeowners by bringing in extra income. If parents are visiting or guests stay over, they can be put up in these second dwelling units for their own comfort and that of the homeowners.
Unless elderly retirees have accumulated wealth or can afford to live on in their own homes, residing in a granny unit is a good way to save on a lot of things like money, energy and effort. The units are small and don't require high upkeep, just the occasional cleaning.
There aren't many challenges to constructing and using granny flats except for placement. Unless a homeowner has a sufficiently large backyard or property adjacent to the main house, it can be difficult finding a good spot to set up the units. Some states don't allow a second dwelling on a single-family property and those that do may permit them only as long as the original homeowner is alive.
Despite these challenges, there's a very good chance that granny flats can thrive simply because the elderly need a space of their own and even children eager to take their parents in may just not have the space to. Considering baby boomers aren't getting younger, there's a need to put them up in a place that's safe, easy to look after and inexpensive. Granny flats offer the solution as their use is not relegated to housing only the elderly but future children, their families and out-of-towners as well.
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