'Granny pods' offer nursing home amenities at home

One of the hardest decisions to make as we get older is how to care for our aging parents. While nursing homes are an option, they can be very expensive and somewhat isolating from family. That's why a Virginia man came up with the MedCottage, or a granny pod, as some call it as Deborah Linz explains in her Keeping Families Safe report.

The MedCottage is a mobile, state-of-the-art hospital room placed temporarily on a caregiver's property. Its founder says it gives caregivers and family members peace of mind knowing their loved ones are safe.

N2care CEO Ken Dupin of Blacksburg, Virginia, came up with the idea.

The MedCottage is about 300 square feet but offers a host of options, for instant vital signs can be taken remotely.

"Everything from weight to blood pressure to temperature," Dupin says.

There are also motion sensors, a security system, collapsible shower seat, shower emergency cord intercom system and support rails. It also has a feet sweep camera system so if a loved one falls, the floor area is lighted and a family members can see remotely from inside their home or a computer at work.

"The floor is say tech has a 40-percent reduction rate because falling is such an issue," Dupin says.

Soc Baez-Page didn't want to put her 86-year-old mother in a nursing home so she opted to have the MedCottage placed in the backyard of her Alexandria, Virginia, home. She liked that her mother was safe and close by and that the cottage is self-contained. Linz spoke with Baez-Page by phone.

She says she liked that it could be right there with the family, on their property but not inside their house.

"It preserves privacy, yet it's close," says Dupin.

Dupin, who's also a minister, got the idea for the MedCottage after visiting people in nursing homes. "Nobody really wanted to be there," Dupin said.

So he designed something that was close in proximity and offered independence and privacy to both the caregiver and patient.

"Our greatest fear as we age is we are going to be isolated from our family," Dupin said.

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