Grandma and Grandpa pods
I wrote this article five years ago and I’m posting it again today because it is one of the most viewed posts on my blog. Financial figures are five years old so current, 2018/2019 figures will be considerably higher.
I read a fabulous article in the “Home” section of today’s Seattle Times newspaper. It’s a throwaway section that I always read before I toss it into the recycle basket.
All of us are getting older – there’s no cure for that other than not growing older by leaving this earth before you’re ready – so where are all of us going to live – especially Granny and Pappy who can no longer safely live on their own?
Long-term care (LTC) facilities have priced themselves out of most households’ bank accounts and the alternative solution of having grandparent sitters is cumbersome and expensive in itself. What’s an adult child to do? If you have space on your property to have a guest house newly built or better yet, if you’re willing to turn your sunporch or guesthouse into accommodations for mom and dad, the original outlay of funds will pay for itself because you will have avoided the need for a facility’s ultra-expensive long-term care services.
One company that makes the pods spotlighted in the Seattle Times’ article is called Home Care Suites. Disclaimer: I am not advocating for this company’s product. I am merely pulling information out of the article and presenting it to the reader so you can do research that applies to your situation and your budget.
The pods made by this company range in size from 256 to 588 square feet with prices ranging from $42,000 to $83,000. This is no drop in the bucket but let’s consider the cost of facility care. Genworth (who sells long-term care insurance) states that the average monthly fee for assisted-living (AL) was $3,300 in 2012. I think that’s a very naive figure based on my experience of having worked in the LTC housing industry. Maybe Genworth’s lower number is just the cost for monthly rent – but what about care services? Cha-ching!!! Now you’re looking at double that amount and the cost will only go higher as care needs increase. But even at only $3,300 per month, that amounts to $158,400 for a four-year period. See how do-able the pod concept seems now?
Many of the AL service needs are simple monitoring of a resident – tasks that you can do for your loved one: waking them up, helping them get dressed, a certain amount of medication assistance, meal provision. Many seniors living in AL facilities don’t need the massive hands-on care of bathing assistance, toileting services, physical therapy, etc. I know for a fact that if a family member has the time – and a little patience – they can provide these lower acuity services on their own for quite some time before securing hands-on medical care for the elder member of their household.
Skipping ahead to after Grandma and Grandpa/Mom and Dad have passed on, you now are left with an added structure on your property which you can transform back into the porch or game room of its earlier existence, or simply leave as is as a guest room that may accommodate someone else in your family. I have to believe that your initial investment in constructing a pod is an investment that you won’t regret. And don’t forget – the costs for such a project aren’t necessarily out of your own pocket. Perhaps Grandma or Grandpa are willing to pull some of their savings out from underneath their mattress and contribute to the cost of this alternative living arrangement that would certainly be more attractive to them than a lengthy stint at an AL facility or nursing home. Just saying.
3 thoughts on “Grandma and Grandpa pods”
October 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm
Much cheaper than a ‘casita’ and probably more easily ‘house inspector/permit’ compliant. My only concern would be the size – unless of course there would be a studio-converted garage available on the premises. Because you see, I’d have to feel like it’s a place I’d like to live in in my later years, too. Ya know?
Moot point in terms of our own caregiving needs, but something on the horizon for our own kiddos to consider at some point, methinks…
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November 30, 2013 at 9:38 am
I see lots of advantages to this plan. However I can see some disadvantages too. first if you are young enough to still be working, your parents have to be independent enough to live alone during the working hours without fears of falling, etc. But the second is a greater issue for me and that is socialization with one’s peers. When living in a senior community with mom, my dad slowly withdrew from community activities. Now that he is in assisted living, he once more takes part in lunch out trips, and daily activities within the facility. If he were in a grandpa unit of my home, he might be alone all day and become depressed (as he was before). So I see two sides to this, and before spending the money, one needs to consider how long their parent will be able to live independently and if they will get the socialization they need.
November 30, 2013 at 10:06 am
I couldn’t agree with you more. Every circumstance is individual – even unique – and each family should always look out for the best interests of the person who is in need of care. In my book – that’s the most important person in the equation. Thanks so much for providing such valuable input.