I am fascinated by small-space dwellings and creative housing solutions (like cool new pre-fab designs after Katrina), so I loved this article in the Washington Post that I came across in researching potential ideas for a project we're working on.
The issue of aging parents in our country is such a sensitive one, and so far I don't think we've figured out a solution that really suits both parents and the caretaking kids. This idea thinks outside-the-box, compared to current solutions, by putting a self-contained "nursing home," ironically, inside of a box. Could this be the answer for many people?
Here is the intro:
"The Rev. Kenneth Dupin, who leads a small Methodist church here, has a vision: As America grows older, its aging adults could avoid a jarring move to the nursing home by living in small, specially equipped, temporary shelters close to relatives. So he invented the MEDcottage, a portable high-tech dwelling that could be trucked to a family's back yard and used to shelter a loved one in need of special care."
My own grandfather lived with us from age 96-99, and my mom's grandfather lived in a house on their property when she was growing up, which I think is so special, but it seems the most doable solution in our country for aging parents, given monetary restrictions and lifestyles, is nursing homes, which is often not what the parents themselves would prefer.
This seems like a great solution that could fit culturally for Americans-- both the parents and caretaking kids have their own space, but they are in close proximity. Plus, this concept has provisions for the safety associated with a nursing home due to its clever added features like the medicine reminder and ankle-height camera monitors that feed into the caretaker's house. Even if it's not this exact design, this model could hold promise for further development of this idea.
Virginia has approved a new zoning law to allow for these structures-- hope the rest of the country will follow suit!