As America ages, a new unique living space is gaining popularity helping older adults remain more independent and reducing the stress on their families. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are small, self-contained living spaces.
These tiny houses can provide the benefits of both living independently and having access to family and friends for support. ADUs also offer flexibility that other housing options may not – from allowing people to downsize without moving (since it can be located in their backyard) to providing an ideal space for family members or caregivers to stay close by.
ADUs can be customized to suit any need and budget, making them an attractive option for many older people looking for a safe and comfortable place to age in place.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a viable option for those who want to maintain their current lifestyle while saving money on housing costs. They often offer more space than traditional senior living communities, with the added bonus of being located in the backyard of a larger home, usually the senior's own home or that of an adult child.
What Exactly is an ADU?
ADUs are small dwelling units, sometimes called "granny flats" or "senior cottages," that are attached or adjacent to existing homes. Many cities have begun experimenting with allowing homeowners to construct ADUs in their backyards or convert existing garages into living spaces for older or unhoused people. Municipalities like Los Angeles and Chicago are beginning to see ADUs as a viable solution to homelessness and affordable housing.
The Benefits of ADUs for Seniors
ADUs provide several benefits for seniors. They can help ease the financial burden of rising rent costs by providing more affordable housing options for older people who don't require full-scale assisted living. ADUs are typically lower maintenance than traditional homes—there's no need to worry about lawn care or major repairs, as the unit is connected or adjacent to an existing house.
ADUs provide more independence than a senior living community while offering a comparable level of security. An ADU has a comfortable, private living environment that allows seniors to age in place without worrying about uprooting and moving into an unfamiliar community. Plus, living in an ADU allows seniors to remain close to family members and friends who may still be living in their home's main dwelling while maintaining privacy and independence.
Why ADUs Are Good for Family Caregivers
ADUs provide the ability to monitor and assist without having to move in and bear the financial burden of a larger living space. This can give children and grandchildren peace of mind and make coordinating care, transportation, and emergency response plans easier. It can also help reduce family stress and allow family members to reconnect while remaining close to their loved ones.
A separate living space allows older adults to remain independent while still receiving necessary care and support without moving into a full-time assisted living environment.
ADUs can be designed to minimize the risk of falls, which are dangerous for seniors. Depending on the situation, monitors can alert family members who can quickly get to the ADU in their backyard, for example. Professional caregivers can come and go without bothering the adult child's family in the main home. Professional caregivers, even if paid by Long-Term Care Insurance, can provide care in these ADUs just as easily, if not easier, than in a much larger home.
Overall, ADUs are a great option for seniors who want to downsize and remain independent while still having access to care and support from family members or caregivers. If you're considering an ADU as part of your retirement plan, check out local regulations or restrictions that may apply.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
As the years pass by, planning for the costs and burdens of aging can be daunting. Fortunately, many families can find solace in Long-Term Care Insurance. An LTC policy guarantees you tax-free resources to pay for various care options that you can choose, including in-home care, giving you and your family peace of mind.
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Waiting to purchase Long-Term Care Insurance until later in life will probably cost you more money because of the higher premiums, but perhaps more importantly, you may be uninsurable depending on your health.
Those who are younger and in good health are considering purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance before they retire, generally in their 40s and 50s – premiums are lower, and many can receive good health discounts on their policy.
Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, and each company has its own underwriting criteria. Generally, you will have better health when you are younger. An LTC Insurance specialist will work with all the top companies and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims.
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