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Granny Pod, Flat or Cottage: Which is Right for You?

Granny Pod, Flat or Cottage: Which Is Right for You?

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From parents confronting the realities of aging to children trying to do the same, families face challenging choices when a parent can no longer manage on their own. When that time comes, options range from seeking in-home care, relocating to a care facility, or moving in with an adult child.

If having your parent move in with you holds appeal, there are three popular approaches to consider:

  1. Granny Pods. Granny pods are manufactured mobile homes specifically designed for the needs and limitations of seniors. These free-standing units come occupant-ready in varied sizes, configurations and prices. Some are compact and suitable for one occupant, while others can accommodate a couple, or a parent and full-time caregiver. Basic models offer practical adaptations such as wide doors, railings and accessible bathrooms, while high-end models feature extensive adaptations and smart medical technologies. Often, you can decide whether to rent or buy, and because they’re mobile, they can be removed when they’re no longer needed.
  1. Granny Flats. Granny flats (or mother-in-law suites) are defined living spaces attached to or created inside your home. Typically, they’re designed to be relatively self-contained. Most feature a combined living/sleeping area and private bath, and some have compact kitchen and laundry appliances as well. Ideally, they also incorporate details that enhance safety and livability such as wide doors, railings, no-threshold doorways and accessible bathrooms.
  2. Granny Cottages. As the name implies, a true granny cottage is a compact second home situated on your property. Unlike a pod, it’s a permanent structure with a foundation. While you can certainly opt for a custom design, many architects and home builders offer existing designs with basic accessibility features, which you can customize to suit your specific needs. Cottages can be built onsite or constructed offsite as modules, which are delivered and installed section by section.

Each option has advantages and disadvantages. Pods, for example, arrive ready for hookup and inhabitation, while flats and cottages require remodeling or construction. In most communities, any of these options is likely to require zoning approval and building or use permits.

All offer a defined living space for greater privacy and independence, while proximity ensures your parent stays involved in day-to-day family life and minimizes isolation, a common problem among the elderly. It also eliminates the need for travel, which makes caregiving significantly more convenient. If paid caregivers are involved, it’s easier to oversee care and know what’s going on.

Obviously, there are costs involved, but compared to the expense of a senior care facility, a granny pod, flat or cottage can be an affordable, win-win solution. Your parent has privacy and independence in a home-based setting with the comfort of knowing help is nearby if needed. And instead of worrying about them struggling on their own, you gain peace of mind.

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