According to the American Association of Retired People, twenty-three million Americans are taking care of their elderly parents and the costs of assisted living homes is high. One alternative to that or to moving them into their family’s own homes is to put a MEDCottage in the yard.
These are freestanding modular buildings containing sleeping, bathing, cooking and living areas within about a 12 foot by 24 foot area, perfect for either senior or disabled family members. They provide privacy and independence while keeping the person close by for easy monitoring with state-of-the-art technology. They allow families to actively “participate in their loved ones’ recovery, rehabilitation or extended care.” Most elderly are adamant about not wanting to live in a nursing home where visits will be infrequent. They may also need some coercing to get them acclimated to living in these portable units, preferring instead to camp out in their family’s dining room.
The MedCottage, also nicknamed “the Granny pod”, is similar to a three-room apartment but it is equipped like a hospital room. Its water, electric and sewage systems work off the caregiver’s home. It has a kitchenette and laundry facilities and comes in three sizes, 288 square feet, 299 square feet, or 605 square feet. The kitchen has a small refrigerator, microwave, and medication dispenser. One wall has a first-aid kit and even a defibrillator machine. There are safety rails, the bathroom is handicapped accessible, and there are three built-in cameras with one in the ceiling over the kitchen area and one in the floor to provide alerts of falls in the unit. Read the Washington Post article for more pictures of the unit and the story of the first occupant of one.
Smart robotic features monitor vital signs, filter air contaminants, and communicate with the outside world. Computers prompt with medication reminders and sensors alert caregivers of problems like the occupant falling and needing help. There are entertainment options for music, literature and watching movies. The state law in Virginia, where they originated, classified them a few years ago as “temporary family health-care structures.” They may not be legal in some states, so get them pre-approved first before buying one.
The age group of 65 or older in the United States has grown in the last ten years faster than the total population according to the Census Bureau. It will top 72 million before 2032, doubling that of the year 2000, with many needing special care living arrangements. Environmentally, small units like the MEDCottage are preferable to maintaining old family homes that have been outgrown with the larger space no longer needed. But they provide a more homey feeling than one room in a nursing home with the comfort of family close at hand.
One model retails at about $85,000, but will cost closer to $125,000 after delivery, installation and hookup, not cheap, but better than the $60,000 per year cost for a nursing home and nothing to show for it at the end. The unit can be sold when it is no longer needed and the investment recouped. It is a housing alternative for aging or disabled loved ones.
The MEDCottages are manufactured in Blacksburg, Virginia by N2Care, with one distributor in Roanoke, Virginia. For more information call 888.797.5818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.