What is a Granny Pod?
The granny pod (a name that is off-putting to many, but the alternatives, ADU/accessory dwelling unit, in-law apartment and care cottage aren’t much better) is a modern solution for an age-old problem: How to care for aging family members without completely taking away their independence. A granny pod is a tiny home built, or placed, on the same property as the home of someone who will look after the occupant. Having their own living space gives the senior some privacy while the proximity to the caregiver makes it easier for them to monitor their loved one’s health and safety. Here’s what you need to know about granny pods.
Aging Close to Loved Ones
A granny pod (a general term, not a brand) sits in the yard of the main home where the caregiver lives. Care must be taken to make sure the locale permits a granny pod on an existing lot.
Granny pods are a specific type of tiny home. Check out these 15 things to consider before building one.
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400 to 500 Square Feet
Granny pods are usually the size of a studio apartment and are designed for one person, but sometimes couples live there together.
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Sewer, Water, and Power Lines are Shared
Granny pods usually share sewer, water and power with the main house. This does, of course, raise utility bills, so homeowners should factor in these costs when deciding if a granny pod is the best option for their loved one.
Accessibility and Safety
Granny pods incorporate Universal Design, so that means ramps, wide spaces for easier wheelchair access, grab bars for support, cushioned floors, good lighting, etc.
Granny pods come equipped with a variety of medical devices too, for better comfort and safety. First aid kits, built-in pill dispensers, defibrillators, and similar components can all help granny with health-related concerns.
Installing web cams and two-way communication systems keeps the caregiver and the loved one in touch. Other smart home features can automate temperature control, security systems and lights.
Make It Homey
Granny pods usually have a small kitchen area with a microwave and mini refrigerator. A gas fireplace, craft/puzzle table and family photos on the wall help make a granny pod feel more like a home.
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A small front porch with room for a comfy chair and a view of the surroundings expands the granny pod’s living space during nice weather. Depending on the location, an extended porch or patio could be shared with the main house.
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Built On-Site or Prefab
Granny pods can be built from scratch or manufactured off-site and placed wherever needed. Compare prices for building on-site versus buying premade and also consider timing. Depending on the situation, you may not have time to wait for the home to be built.
Photo: Courtesy of Tiny Home Builders
Convert a Shed
Another option is to turn an existing building into a granny pod. A shed, detached garage or other outbuilding may require a lot of upgrading, but this can be a viable alternative to building from scratch or buying something premade.
Include a Garden
Making a small garden near the granny pod open up the possibility for your loved one to get outdoors and do something they may have loved to do in the past. Keep the garden to a reasonable size and consider raised beds which are much easier to tend.