When an ailing relative is no longer able to live independently but doesn’t want or need to be confined to a nursing home, what can you do? You might have an extra room in your house for a sibling, parent, or in-law. But having him or her move in permanently may not be a workable option – either for you or the relative.
People who are frail can find a typical house to be hazardous. They may need a living space without any steps to navigate, a fully accessible bathroom with handrails, and other safety features. They may also need their privacy as much as you need yours.
An ideal solution might be a separate guest house designed specifically for the needs of the elderly and people with physical limitations. It won’t be a viable option for everyone. You may lack the space or be restricted by community zoning rules. But an accessory dwelling unit, as they are sometimes called, can be erected quicker and for less money than you might think.
A manufactured or prefabricated structure can be the most efficient way to go.
A company called N2Care (888-797-5818; www.medcottage.com) produces prefab cottages dubbed MedCottages or “Granny Pods.” They are designed to serve the needs of the elderly and include
such features as padded floors, emergency buttons, multi-level lighting, handrails, handicapped-accessible bathrooms, and upgraded air ventilation systems. Prices start at $39,625 for a 299 square-foot MEDCottage.
A MEDCottage or a custom guest house can be a cheaper (and happier) alternative to a nursing home. In-home nursing care can be arranged. Under certain conditions, Medicare will pay for home care. Broader in-home care coverage is available through long-term care insurance – though as we’ve noted previously, long-term care insurance is becoming scarcer, pricier, and stingier on benefits.