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The pandemic’s effects on community living situations has shined a harsh light on why almost 90% of people with disability say they would rather live independently.
But many homes are not accessible. The Granny Pods Study Act is exploring a possible solution – tiny homes, also known as “granny pods,” located on property owned by family or other loved ones.
The act instructs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct a feasibility study of temporary family health care structures no more than 300 square feet in size. Such structures would provide an environment facilitating a caregiver’s provision of care for intellectually or physically impaired individuals.
Come cities and towns do not allow homes with foundations that are less than 1000 square feet under their zoning regulations. Homes build on wheels are classified as recreational vehicles, and many local ordinances forbid people from taking up permanent residence in them, even if they are placed on private property.
Then there are building codes to consider: many contractors aren’t well versed in what tiny homes require to be safe.
An exploration of this option for aging in place would have to address these obstacles and ways to overcome them.
A granny pod is also called an accessible dwelling unit or care cottage. They differ from the tiny homes because they are build with accessibility and universal design in mind. A granny pod does not have a loft or ladder and features a larger bathroom with raised toilet and grab bars. They may also have medical devices such as hospital style beds. Families can also equip the pod with two-way video communication and fall alert sensors to help keep their loved one safe.
If passed, this bill would continue the conversation about how and where people age, including opening up possible Medicare funding for granny pods, should the study reveal a need.