‘Granny Cottages’ are a convenient micro-living option for seniors

Local News

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — 80-year-old Sheila DeSantos has finally decided to downsize, though she’s not decided to give up driving yet.

Her new home is a cottage, complete with a sitting room, pullman kitchen, master bedroom, and bathroom with a walk-in closet, all tucked in to 388 square feet of living space. A covered porch adds on some extra space. Her view is her son’s yard!

Sheila’s cottage was built in her family’s back yard, near her family, but not with her family.

“My husband had passed away, and I lived 24 years by myself. I was used to things a certain way, shall we say,” says Sheila, with a smile.

General Contractor Henry Moseley, who has more than 40 years of building experience and is the owner of Goldsborough Construction, founded Home Care Suites with his son, building what they refer to as “Granny Cottages.” The idea was developed after a client’s pool house was converted into a living space for an elderly parent who needed some extra attention. The Moseleys conducted more research, and say that the concept of an “accessory dwelling unit” is quite popular abroad. In Europe, and Australia, these units are very common and they are referred to as Granny Flats or Granny Pods. 

Moseley says the aging-in-place concept is for those looking for alternatives to retirement communities or assisted-living facilities.

“These cottages allow seniors or baby boomers to be close to their children so they can get assistance however they need it, when they need it, but also allows them to live independently really close by,” Moseley says.

The homes, which range from approximately 256- to 585-square-feet of living space, are ADA compliant, and wired for home technology for health monitoring and emergency response. Because of restrictions of the DeSantos’ neighborhood, Sheila’s cottage needed to be tied in to the existing home, and so her property is located adjacent to the family’s lanai. Other cottages, including one built by Moseley in Odessa, is separate from the main family structure.

Sheila’s cottage cost approximately $87,000 to build. With the average cost of skilled nursing care in the United States reaching nearly $93,000 a year, the cottage option makes financial sense for some home owners.

Sheila, who spent years in real estate, believes her pint-sized property will benefit her family long-term, as her research indicates that multi-generational homes sell well in Florida.

But it’s not all about the money.

For Joseph DeSantos and his wife Jana, deciding to ask Sheila to live on their property was a no-brainer, as it provides peace of mind and the pleasure of Sheila’s company.

Joseph says, “My mother lived just a few miles away, but with a busy life and everything going on, you don’t get over enough, and you worry, and this made it a lot easier.”

Sheila says her only regret is that she didn’t build her cottage sooner. While she’s still quite spry, she wishes she’d lived closer to her grandchildren 10 years ago, when she could’ve provided more help to Jana and Joseph. And, Sheila adds, at 70 years of age, she could’ve moved everything herself. At 80, she needed a bit of assistance.

Sheila’s advice: start thinking about granny cottages as an option sooner, rather than later. The concept might not be for everyone, but it’s worth consideration for down the road.

Learn more about micro homes for senior living at this link.

Follow Meredyth Censullo on Facebook


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