Saturday, December 27, 2014


A 2010 AARP study revealed that 88% of the elderly want to live in their own homes in their own communities.  Grandma or Grandpa do not want to go to assisted living or a nursing home, so… what to do?

Consider MEDCottage, an open floor plan prefab 12’x24’ bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette unit, free-standing, that might fit into your backyard.  It includes high-tech monitoring and safety features, sometimes more or better than you can find in a nursing home.  Included are a microwave, washer-dryer combo and refrigerator.  Bathrooms can allow maneuvering a wheelchair.  Utilities and plumbing connect these temporary medical dwellings to primary residence, providing proximity to loved ones and reducing stress for all.

Cottage can cost under $50,000 new and some distributors buy it back after 24 months usage.  Nursing homes can run upwards of $6000 a month, making this purchase add up savings, while keeping an elderly person near their loved ones.  Professional care and meals will add to the cost.  Some health policies cover home health care.
Special rubber floors deter breaks when falls occur – “You can drop an egg from 18 inches onto the special flooring without breaking it.”  For safer bathroom visits, a runway mat that lights up when you step on it stretches from bed to toilet and turns off after 10 minutes.  A lift or trapeze hook is attached to ceiling tracks.  The hooks help with balance issues and the lift is for serious mobility challenges.  A camera can transmit to a house computer, e.g. with images of feet and ankles, in case of a fall.  More sophisticated equipment can be added, tracking various conditions and sharing the details with family and physicians.  An audio system can remind the patient to take medication and can text the caregiver.

Another prefab option is a Practical Assisted Living Structure, 14’x24’, with some models allowing access to the first floor of the primary home.

Forerunners of these updated homes, in the 1970’s, the Australians started building “granny flats,” simple backyard homes for the elderly.  Local zoning rules need to be checked out as some states allow these accessory dwellings for a family member and others don’t but may be considering appropriate legislation for them.  Some legislation states the cottages need a physician’s verification that the patient needs assistance with at least two daily functions,, e.g. bathing, eating and dressing.  The dwellings are removed when no longer needed.

Some long term care plans pay the patient for in home care and they can pay that to anyone, including a family member. 

Both companies above have facebook pages with more details and googling these companies can provide a great deal of further information.  Be aware of these solutions in case they are needed.

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