News / USA

    Backyard Pod Cottage Keeps Grandma Close

     As the U.S. population grows older, more and more adult children are looking for ways to care for their aging parents.

    Many turn to assisted living facilities or nursing homes to provide that care. But now, for some, there may be a better option: an alternative living concept which provides seniors with a safe environment while keeping them close to loved ones.

    Granny Pod

    In a quiet neighborhood just outside Washington, D.C., two homes sit within several feet of each other.

    The only thing that separates them is a wooden walkway.

    The larger residence belongs to Soc Page and her family. The dwelling behind it is home to her mother, Viola Baez.

    The smaller home is a MEDCottage, a custom-built unit to accommodate the medical and safety needs of an older person.

    For Soc Page, it was the ideal solution to her dilemma of where to place her mother.

    "She absolutely refuses to even consider a nursing home. That was completely out of the question," says Page. "And my home is just not safe for her. So this is an alternative. She’s here, but she has her own space, it’s set up for her, it’s safe for her and it’s not a nursing home. We are actually her primary caretakers."

    At just 28 square meters, the cottage is compact, but has separate areas for sleeping, dining and bathing.

    These cottages cost anywhere from $45,000 to $125,000. The Pages are the first family to get a unit, and have the expensive version, because of all the medical features it offers.

    Keeping tabs

    That includes Viola's medical equipment, such as devices which check blood pressure and vital signs, which is sent electronically to her doctor.

    There's also an eight-compartment pill dispenser that dispenses the designated pill or combination of pills when medications are scheduled.

    The cottage also has many safety features.

    There are lights along the floor boards so she can easily navigate her space at night without having to turn on lights, and the floor is made with special cushioning so in the event of a fall, she would be less likely to break a bone.

    The bathroom has a walk-in shower with a seat, and there are railings all around.

    From her own house, Page can check on her mother with intercoms and a video monitor, or even a smart phone.

    Family affair

    Page says having her mother nearby, is just part of the natural order of things.

    "We’re from Puerto Rico...that’s what it is, grandma lives with you," she says.

    Viola Baez feels fortunate to be near her daughter, son-in-law and her grown granddaughters.

    "I watch television with the girls, or I have dinner with them," she says.

    She also attends church and special outings to the city with the family.

    "I have a full life," she says, "I’m very happy."

    Soc Page feels having her mother nearby also sets a good example for her two daughters.

    "It’s good for them to realize that families have to hang together," she says, "even under perhaps less than ideal circumstances and that you can work it out."

    Older daughter Erin Page says she appreciates having her grandmother nearby.

    "I think it’s made me closer," she says. "I’ve certainly learned new stories about her life and her thoughts on the world and what she thinks should be done that I would never have learned otherwise."

    Labor of love

    A desire to help families stay together is what motivated Ken Dupin to establish N2Care, the company that makes the cottages.

    "Several years ago I was traveling and working on a PhD in international development and one of the things I began to notice was how differently other cultures throughout the world dealt with aging," he says. "In virtually every other culture in the world they celebrate that, they see it as a privilege. But for whatever reason in the culture that I live in, we have resistance to that. And that’s my mission is to change that."

    MEDCottages are built and assembled in Martinsville, Virginia, a few hours from Washington. They are then transported and set up on the homeowner’s property.

    For Ken Dupin, each sale is meaningful.

    "If I have a purpose for the rest of my life it is somehow challenging and motivating people to accept this responsibility, and it’s funny in that it’s its own reward," he says.

    Dupin has received more than 3,000 inquiries about MEDCottages, from the U.S. and overseas. He says he's working hard to keep up with demand.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora