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In-Law Cottages for Aging Parents

Caregivers Turn to ADUs for Multigenerational Households

As senior citizens increasingly dominate the U.S. population, many families are opting to build backyard “in-law cottages” as homes for elderly parents.

Many baby boomers now find themselves caring for their parents or other older relatives. In fact, in the last year 34.2 million Americans acted as a caregiver to someone over 50.

House with a heart over it.As the elderly’s needs change, so do the demands on the time and resources of the caregiver.

Expensive assisted living apartments or nursing homes may be financially impossible for many families— or simply considered only as a last resort. Building a cozy backyard home for an aging family member creates the best of both worlds: providing nearby assistance when necessary— while still allowing privacy and a degree of independence for seniors.

What Are the Advantages of ADUs?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) provide a number of benefits over more traditional care facilities:

SOCIAL CONTACT: Loneliness plagues many seniors. Busy families find it hard to spend time with mom or dad. Those who lose a spouse or live far from family become isolated or depressed. Poor eyesight or health problems may make driving impossible, further isolating the senior. A backyard cottage allows interaction with the family daily.

PROFIT vs. LOSS: Nursing home care costs average $5,000 – $7,000 per month. Money spent on assisted living facilities or nursing homes is lost forever.

Building a prefab in-law cottage provides a chance to recoup what is spent. ADUs, if thoughtfully and attractively built, increase your property’s resale value.

As baby boomers age, the need for properties with ADUs will only increase. By 2030, 72.1 million Americans will be over 65 years old, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging.

When the relative no longer needs the cottage, it converts easily to a backyard office or a guesthouse. Or you might consider renting the unit for additional income.

STRESS-REDUCER: Worrying about an aging parent living alone across town— or worst yet across the country— is stressful for both the parent and their grown children. Making frantic trips to a parent’s home for every major and minor emergency escalates stress. Whether a pipe busted pipe or a busted hip, guilt and stress follow. Having mom or dad nearby alleviates anxiety and increases convenience.

DOWNSIZING: The older we get, the more difficult it is too take care of a large home. Many seniors find downsizing to a smaller dwelling simplifies household chores, yard care, and home maintenance.

PRIVACY: A multigenerational household presents difficult adjustments for all concerned. The constant comings and goings of a busy household seem chaotic to a senior used to living alone.

Many elderly people suffer diminished hearing, making it hard for them to follow the constant chatter of a household full of people. Conversely, hearing-challenged seniors may crank up the volume on the TV or radio, disturbing other family members.

Times for rising and retiring may vary greatly between retired seniors and working family members. This too creates discord.

Building a cozy in-law cottage near family is a great way to maintain independence and privacy for both seniors for the established households of their grown children.

What Are the Disadvantages of ADUs?

One disadvantage of an ADU is that it is not feasible in everywhere.

Local zoning regulations, property title restrictions, or homeowner associations prohibit detached dwellings in some locations. Other areas may have strict guidelines or limitations for what is included— or excluded in an ADU. Check all local authorities before you proceed with construction plans.

Another challenge facing children caring for aging parents is disruption.

Ninety percent of seniors say they prefer to “age in place,” that is to remain where they are for the rest of their lives. Moving may seem overwhelming at first. They collected a lifetime of memories— and stuff— that they are reluctant to jettison from their lives.

However, as taking care of themselves becomes increasingly difficult, many see the wisdom in living close to— but not with— their families.

Steel-Framed Granny Pods

When planning an accessory dwelling unit as an in-law cottage, consider building with metal framing.

Pre-engineered steel buildings offer complete floorplan freedom, simple construction, low maintenance, high-energy efficiency, and durable construction. Steel-framed in-law cottages deliver built-in resistance to damage from winds, fire, lightning, earthquakes, snow, and termites.

Call RHINO Steel Building Systems today for details on building a prefab in-law cottage, guesthouse, or other backyard accessory dwelling. The RHINO number is 940.383.9566.

RHINO’s steel building specialists answer all questions about our state-of-the-art building systems. Ask for a free quote.