News / USA

Backyard Pod Cottage Keeps Grandma Close

Special Homes Allow Elderly to Live Near Loved Onesi
X
February 28, 2013
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 for that care. But now, for some, there may be a better option. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us about an alternative living concept that provides seniors with a safe environment while keeping them close to loved ones.
TEXT SIZE - +

 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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid