January 30, 2019
A Trend on the Rise: “Granny Pads”
While Baby Boomers are not on average looking to downsize their living arrangements, one must take into account that the years that encompass this generation are a rather vast swath from 1946 through 1964. That’s a spread of almost twenty years. Those born just post-World War II are either already in their seventh decade or will be soon. These early Boomers, like members of the G.I. and Silent Generations (often lumped together as the “Greatest Generation”) before them, are most likely to be looking to go smaller in their housing options, perhaps to live closer to their children or other relatives, and to be increasing in their need for care-taking. Enter the “Granny Pad”—also sometimes referred to as a “Granny Pod”.
Inevitably, the younger members of the family must have some say in the living choices their elderly loved ones are making. Everyone recognizes the psychological need for independence felt by most people, even as they enter the final stage of life. On top of this, some estimates are that nursing homes and managed-care facilities can cost around $93,000 per year—which makes them a less-desirable option than they might be otherwise.
We’re not fond of the terms “Granny Pad” or “Granny Pod,” frankly, but the concept itself is a solid one. An elderly loved one moves into a “tiny house”—usually about 400-500 square feet, basically the size of a studio apartment—in the backyard of their younger loved ones’ home. These houses are not the bare-bones type you may have seen elsewhere. They are, first and foremost, built with aging and accessibility in mind. They generally include wheelchair ramps, and can even come loaded with a host of care-oriented technical devices (as in this diagram from the Washington Post) that may include mechanical lifts to help in moving from bed to the bathroom, video systems at ankle-height (to preserve privacy but also allow loved ones to make sure nothing is wrong), and a whole host of medical technology in the bathroom to monitor health via, among other things, urinalysis.
There are restrictions to consider before building one of these small wonders in the backyard, of course. Not least among these are that code in a given municipality may not allow for it. Also there’s the cost: despite their small size, it can often take in excess of $100,000 to erect one (though, if the family member will be around for years to come, this obviously offsets the cost of nursing home living mentioned above), as well as the ongoing fees for utilities, which are shared with the main home on the property.
Still, this is a trend, especially in Florida, and we imagine it may increase with time. People may even find themselves seeking out properties with Granny Pads already installed—possibly for a premium—so they can plan for family living over the decades to come.
Whether you’re looking for a home with a Granny Pad or are still in the market for a more traditional property layout in Florida, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, contact us at Topouzis & Associates, P.C. to be absolutely sure title to a property is conveyed and purchased clear of judgments and defects.