Keep an Eye on Your Aging Loved Ones With a Backyard "Granny Pod"

The ability to have grandma (and her cooking) just a few steps away? Priceless.

Granny pods, granny flats, in-law cottages, accessory dwelling units (AUDs), etc.—the new trend in elder care goes by many names.

With limited affordable living options for their aging loved ones, many families have turned to these detached tiny homes which allow grandparents to stay close, without sacrificing their privacy.

A granny pod is essentially a modified backyard "guest house" that affords caregivers easy access to seniors who don't want to give up having their own roof. Many of these dwellings are designed with an emphasis on safety and accessibility. Some versions even off offer high-tech medical features.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to double in the next three decades, reaching 88 million people by 2050. Of that number, it's estimated that 70% will need some form of long-term care, which isn't covered by Medicare.

With the average cost of a private room in a skilled nursing care facility topping $100,000 a year, a granny pod may make more financial sense if you expect the person living there to stay for several years.

Money aside, the health benefits of moving grandma and grandpa into an AUD could be significant. Regular interaction with family has been found to have to have a positive impact in the health of seniors. In fact, a 2019 study found that grandparents who provided some form of care to their grandchildren had a lower risk of death over a 20-year period than those who did not.

"If people can age in place and age at home it's much healthier, and the family is happier, but it can be very expensive," Carolyn McClanahan, a financial planner at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida, told CNBC. "Granny pods can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000. So, you got to weigh longevity in there with it."

Depending on how many years the pod is used, the price could pay off. But if you ask us, the ability to have grandma (and her cooking) just a few steps away, is priceless.

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