Granny Pods: Caring for Aging Relatives in Your Own Backyard

Posted on Mar 2 2016 - 4:18pm by Nick Caruso

Photo Credit:

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on March 2, 2016. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.

Caring for aging parents is a growing concern for many Americans. For those among the Sandwich Generation, homeowners typically in their forties who are responsible for their own families and their aging parents, what to do with grandma or grandpa is always a trying, stressful question to answer. While nursing homes may feel wrong or unnecessary, and having the elderly family member move into your family's home may have its own inherent difficulties, the Granny Pod is here to finally provide a nice middle ground option for families in need.

Granny Pods, aka MedCottages, are 12 x 24-foot pre-fabricated pods that sit conveniently in one's backyard. The structures hook up to existing plumbing and electrical systems and allow both the caregiver and senior citizen to have their own space while still being available and connected. The pods are quickly growing in popularity and are a win-win for both parties: the aging family member has his or her own space, while the caregiver doesn't have far to travel to assist family members in case of an emergency.

The mobile homes are built with safety in mind and include many of the basic amenities any adult would need. They include a small kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom all designed in a small scale space with easy access in mind. The bathrooms are handicap accessible with railings and safety features, while the floors are padded to help lighten the load on joints.


Photo Credit: N2 Care

Not only are they safe, but they're tech-savvy, too! Granny Pods can incorporate webcams for family members to monitor from afar. Even more impressive, robotic features can monitor vital signs, with alert systems armed to notify caregivers should a problem arise. The air can be monitored for contaminants and reminders can be sent to the inhabitant to remind them to take pills or supplements accordingly.

The MedCottages encapsulate all the functions of a proper nursing home, while providing grandma or grandpa with the freedom and privacy they may still desire.


Inside of MedCottage

Granny Pod Interior

For more information, visit the MedCottage Facebook page.

So what do you think - would you purchase a Granny Pod for an aging relative? Tell us your thoughts!

28 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Susan I. Palmer March 3, 2016 at 5:25 pm -

    May I please have more information on these Granny Pods. I work with seniors in real estate and would like more information. Cost etc. My snail mail address is Susan Palmer, 1000 Paseo Camarillo, ste. 108, Camarillo, Cal. 93010. Thank you

  2. Diane March 5, 2016 at 1:50 am -

    What type zoning and are granny pods accepted by variances in towns and or state laws ordinances

  3. Robert Reeve Sr March 6, 2016 at 9:27 am -

    Can there be another for a place for me to putter? I could be happy there.

  4. Rose Anderson March 6, 2016 at 9:31 pm -

    I like the pods, just need bedroom area a little larger for sofa for comfort.

  5. Keith Webb March 7, 2016 at 2:01 pm -

    This idea has been around for some time. Actually a manufactured home can be built to any specifications. Many cities will allow these units in a R-1 zone because of the benefits to families. Do check with you local cities as a city may allow in a specific area and not in another. Setbacks still need to be adhered to so lot size will factor in as well.

  6. Lilly March 8, 2016 at 7:46 am -

    Very interesting concept! What is the price range for something like this – just say the one that is shown – with only the basics vs. one with all the extras (robotic features, webcam, etc) Thanks for another option for facing this challenging time in many of our lives!

  7. Nora March 8, 2016 at 9:57 pm -

    I would love to get additional information on these Granny Pods. I also have elderly clients that may benefit from having this option.
    I also have an aging father who may need to move in with me in a couple of years, also this would be a great option for us.

  8. eve March 9, 2016 at 11:19 am -

    I am a Certified Senior Advisor and would like more information on cost and yes, zoning restrictions. Sounds like a cost effective alternative. Another element to consider is the site built home area usually restrict mfg. homes in the same area.

  9. Karen Marie Buffington March 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm -

    Wiuld love information about costs and zoning, fabulous idea.

  10. Judith Smith March 10, 2016 at 10:47 am -

    I am interested in more information. For my elderly mother and also for clients. Do you have any place in Atlanta area to actually see the pods?

    Please check out my web page. I have 12 years of customer education.

    Thank you,

  11. Kathy March 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm -

    Zoning would be a problem in our county as well as in the previous state/county I lived in. I think it would be a problem in most places you can’t just add an extra house on your property especially a mobile home. So in reality the grandparent suite added to one end of your hs is still the best

  12. Kieber March 12, 2016 at 9:15 am -

    What about accommodating a small living room?

    • bette abrams August 16, 2018 at 10:53 am -

      That’s exactly what I was thinking about…my thought is that this seems to be focused on one that is not so mobile, but so many seniors are today and it”s not a necessity to enter right into the bedroom.

  13. Judy March 12, 2016 at 10:33 am -

    I would like to get additional information please.

  14. sharon March 12, 2016 at 12:36 pm -

    What are the zoning requirements and what is the cost per square foot (using the one shown as an example)

  15. Joe Heffernan March 12, 2016 at 1:44 pm -

    Interesting idea, is there any issue with cold climates? How are they secured to ground and what types of conditions are they made to withstand, i.e. wind, snow etc. current price ranges?

  16. Ann Anovitz March 12, 2016 at 5:39 pm -

    Need price for basic unit and upgraded unit., please.

  17. Bruce Hahn March 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm -

    Zoning is presently a problem in most areas. This would be a great issue for AARP Federal, and their state and local chapters to take up! A practical consideration would be their ease of installation and removal. If they could be made of light weight floor, wall, and roof panels, and separate interior components that could be assembled on temporary foundations, they could be easily disassembled and homeowners could resell them them when they were no longer needed. This would lower their cost for original and successor users. Communities might be more willing to modify zoning if the permits were only for temporary use, say ten years with a one time extension, for example.

  18. gary dean March 12, 2016 at 10:33 pm -

    I would like dealership information. I work with families and seniors.

  19. Arlene Smith March 13, 2016 at 3:50 am -

    What dimension of a backyard space is required to put up a 12′ x 24′ MedCottage or Granny Pod? Is it considered a mobile home? What are the costs to hook up the utilities? What is the cost of the unit?

  20. Cheryle March 13, 2016 at 4:46 am -

    If Granny Pods are perceived as non-rental units but more of a guest house, detached rumpus room, pool house, 5th wheel, etc. there may not be a zoning problem. I think the idea is grand and as a R. E. Broker would prefer to see the Pods rather than poorly planned add-ons which spoil floorplans.

  21. Linda March 14, 2016 at 10:11 am -

    Are there any that would accommodate both grandparents? Are there any that have a separate sitting room?

  22. Tracey March 29, 2016 at 6:56 pm -

    Where are they suppose to put their clothes. I do not see any closets?

  23. Alice STEPHENS August 15, 2016 at 9:43 pm -

    I am so interesting to know what the price is for the granny pod because I’m a elderly woman who is 73 years old and would love to live on my daughters property she has lots of it and would save her from driving a long way to help me with food and medicine and doctors appointment so can you let me know the price for it thank you so much

  24. Robin Paparelli October 11, 2016 at 5:38 am -

    What is the price range for these units? Where can one get this information? I know many people would love this. Thank you!

  25. Phyllis M. Black May 9, 2017 at 10:58 am -

    Love the looks and (PRICE)? for this pod home????? Love it!

    Phyllis M. Black

  26. Randall Brandon August 16, 2018 at 1:20 pm -

    These are what is needed in all of the U.S.A.

  27. sylvia stuart August 17, 2018 at 2:11 pm -

    I would be interested in cost information.