Building a Granny Pod in Your Backyard

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As we grow older, so do our parents. And as much as we’d like to slow down time, we can’t do much to stop it. We reach a point in our lives where we have no choice but to bring our parents to nursing homes because we lack time to take care of them ourselves. That, or they end up living alone, far away from us. But what if we could find a way to compromise? A way to keep them close to home, but also give each other space. Building a granny pod allows you to do just that.

What is a granny pod?

They are tiny homes built-into your backyard for your aging parents to live in. They should be big enough to have a bedroom, a small kitchen, and a bathroom. But it should be small enough to fit into your backyard. In short, they’re guest houses. However, you can’t just build a guest house. Certain features are particularly important to granny pods. More on that later.

Why are granny pods better than nursing homes?

Granny pods are great alternatives to nursing homes. If every state’s zoning laws allowed everyone to build a granny pod, you might even say nursing homes are unnecessary. That’s because granny pods are so much better than nursing homes. Here’s why:

  • You get to see your parents more often and spend more quality time together while you can.
  • They won’t have to live so far away, but you also get to keep each other’s privacy.
  • You get to keep an eye on your parents while allowing them to live independently.
  • If you still can’t take care of them yourselves, you can always hire an in-home caregiver. Hiring an in-home caregiver to take care of your parents is half the cost of leaving them in a nursing home. Also, you don’t even need a caregiver all the time.
  • Most seniors don’t even want to move into nursing homes. It can cause tons of emotional issues, such as stress, loneliness, anger, and even resentment. Allowing them to live in their granny pods, nearer to the family, will make things better for all of you.
  • You can keep it for when you’re older, and your kids can live with their own family in the big house.
  • You can turn it into an air BnB or a guest house for other relatives when the time comes.

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Everything you need to know about building a granny pod:

1. Check your state’s zoning laws.

The first thing you have to do before building a granny pod in your backyard is to see if your state’s zoning laws will allow you to do so. Some states don’t allow it, but others consider granny pods as an accessory dwelling unit or ADU. Also, take note that if you live in a relatively new development (about 20 years old or less), they might have covenants that control the aesthetics of the neighborhood you live in. So, you’ll have to keep that in mind as well.

2. Think about the costs

An advantage of building a granny pod instead of moving your parents to a nursing home are the costs. Building a granny pod can cost you a minimum of $30,000 and reach as high as $125,000. It might sound expensive at first because you’ll have to pay for it upfront. However, if you compare it to the costs of living in a nursing home, it is much cheaper. In a nursing home, you’ll have to pay around $60,000 to $90,000 each year.

With a granny pod, you can pay as little as $30,000. You can even save more money if you plan to convert a garage or a pre-existing shed instead of building from scratch. If you DIY some portions of the pod, such as the insulation, installing the furniture, and other equipment, it will also save you some money. The main things you’ll have to spend on are piping, the foundation, and electricity.

3. The key features of a granny pod

A granny pod must have a bedroom, kitchenette, and bathroom. Other features such as monitoring systems, lifts, smart technology, and pressurized ventilation are also important features to consider when building a granny pod.

You should also think about having an open floor plan with wide doors and even flooring. You must make the granny pod as safe and as accessible for elders as possible. That means putting features such as a carpeted floor to lessen the aches in their joints. Or to ease the impact of a fall. Installing a ramp at the entrance is also important. You can find plenty of granny pod design ideas online to help you decide how to build your pod.

Isn’t this a great idea? Now, go and tell your parents you won’t have to leave them in a nursing home.

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