Portable 'granny pods' to help aging parents

    9:09 AM, Nov 27, 2012   |    comments
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    ALEXANDRIA, VA (CBS) -- When Viola Baez began to need constant care last winter, her daughter Soccorrito Page, would not even consider moving her to a nursing home. Viola told everyone for years no nursing homes. Not ever.

    Page says, "Whenever we had to visit somebody who was in a nursing home, or we drove past one, she said I don't want to be in a place like that.'

    Page wanted her mother to live close by, and wanted her to have some independence and she bought this portable apartment called a "MedCottage". She put the cottage in the yard, right outside the kitchen window and built a twenty foot walkway so Viola can come and go at will.

    The Med Cottage is basically a three room apartment equipped like a hospital room. There are safety rails, lighted floor boards, and a wall with a first aid kit and defibrillator machine.

    The structure also comes with three built in cameras including one in the ceiling overlooking the kitchen and one camera is mounted in the floor, and is designed to alert the family in the event that Viola falls.

    Ken Dupin who founded the company, says that Med Cottage is the formal name for his product but its not what most people call it. He says most people call it a "granny pod." He says, "Well, that wasn't our name. You don't get to choose your nickname."

    Whatever the apartment is called, Dupin believes he's found an answer for millions of baby boomer facing both their own retirements and the need to care for their parents. Dupin says, "And we wanted to say there's got to be a better way to do this, particularly as it involves family. And we feel that this is a very American solution."

    The solution can be expensive; this cottage is $125,000. But Page figured a nursing home would cost more than $60,000 a year, and take Viola where she didn't want to be.

    For Viola the cottage outside the window represents the safety and care she always wanted--but for millions of other Americans--it's a possible glimpse of the future.

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