A “granny pod” refers to a prefabricated housing structure, also known as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). It can be trucked in and temporarily placed in the back yard of your home. It provides housing, monitoring and care for an older adult family member or someone who’s disabled. Some also use the term granny pod more generally to refer to a home addition that is added to provide housing for a grandparent or older adult relative.
A Small, Supportive Cottage
Manufacturers of granny pods offer different size models that look like small cottages. There may be an option to buy or lease the structure and sell or return it at a reduced cost. Utilities typically hook up to the family home. You can even landscape around your granny pod with bushes and flowers to make it look even more residential.
Cottages are often three to four-room apartments with one or two bedrooms that can accommodate a caregiver. There is usually a small kitchen, washer/dryer, bathroom, bedroom and sitting area. Some models offer a home-like environment but are equipped like a hospital room. They may offer remote monitoring, alert and intercom systems and other medical supports and equipment. Certain features may be standard and others come as upgrades according to your needs
With safety in mind, manufacturers usually design in safety rails, grab bars, pull cords, and hallways and doorways that are wheelchair accessible.
Is a granny pod right for your family? If you have an elderly parent or relative who needs some level of care, a “granny pod” is an option that may be perfect for your family. A granny pod allows your family member to live steps away in a private residence where you can easily visit and provide care.
According to the 2016 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national average monthly cost for assisted living is $3,628. Skilled care is $7,698 a month for a private room, but meals and care are also included in those amounts. So a granny pod may be more cost-effective over time for housing. But if you need the help of an outside caregiver, you will need to figure in that amount, along with food and increased utility bills. A granny pod may still be less expensive, and an environment that you prefer, but you have to do the numbers.
Check with your local zoning department. Some communities may have restrictions about second residences on single family lots while others specifically permit “temporary family health-care structures.” Find out if you can keep your granny pod and re-purpose it later as an office, art studio, rental or guest cottage.