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The updated in-law suite is the financially smart multigenerational living alternative to assisted living

PALS Built multigenerational living handicap-accessible modular home additions allow elderly to age in place

Multigenerational living may be somewhat new to our culture and generation but, in reality what’s old is new again.  What we used to think of as “the in-law suite” (also known as “The Granny Pod”)  has become a viable solution for Americans who want to provide a private residence within an adult child or other caregiver’s home for one, two or even three elderly family members.

Half of US women aged 85 and up live alone,  The risk of injuries from falls and declining health, coupled with the financial burden of maintaining a home, is creating an unfeasible situation for this older population.

The National Council of Aging reports that one in six seniors lives below the federal poverty line, many because of the financial strains that accompany living alone.   A recent article in the New York Times pointed out that many seniors, pushed into taking risky reverse mortgages, are now being forced out of their homes and facing foreclosure.  There is also a financial burden placed on the adult child caregiver.  19 million Americans care for someone over the age of 75, and this number is rising.   Corporations, while recognizing the increasing demands on adult children to care for their parents, have done little in the way of structuring flexible working situations.  Many caregivers report using all of their vacation time in small increments to care for their aging parent throughout the work day, bringing them food, picking up prescriptions and driving them to various doctor’s appointments. In fact, lost wages from caring for parents will cost men who are 50-plus an average $89,107 in 2011 dollars over their lifetime, according to a study last year conducted for the MetLife Mature Market Institute. They also stand to lose an estimated $144,609 in Social Security benefits and $50,000 in pension benefits.  Caregiving not only impacts the employee but the employer.  American businesses can lose as much as $34 billion each year due to employees’ need to care for loved ones 50 years of age and older.

As adult children begin to investigate alternative living solutions, they realize that the options are slim.  Assisted living facilities can cost upwards of $ 7,000.00 per month and, when additional caregiving assistance is required, that number can increase dramatically.  What families are also discovering is that the quality of care in assisted living is questionable as cuts are made to staff and the staff/patient ratio rises.

The most practical and financially feasible solution is multigenerational living.  While bringing together several generations can present its own set of challenges, when handled properly from the outset, it can be a rewarding situation for everyone.  Establishing rules, managing expectations and allowing elderly parents to maintain some area of privacy is crucial.

PALS Built modular home additions are studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom handicap-accessible dwellings that can be seamlessly attached onto a caregiver or family member’s existing home.  They are a fraction of the cost of assisted living facilities or nursing homes and can be completed, start to finish, in as little as six to eight weeks.  They have their own separate entrance but allow family members to be nearby and to oversee caregivers.  But, they are a private residence which allows the person to maintain their privacy.


  1. Many adult children don’t know how to bring up the subject of independent living with their parents. Here are some tips for starting this difficult dialogue, keeping focused and dealing with resistance.

  2. This could also be a good solution for housing for adult Children with disabilities, who want to live more independently but cannot live alone without supports,as an alternative to institutional care or agency run group homes where there is little choice of or supervision of support people, and, providing affordable housing options for those who want to self-direct their support services.. Or even an alternative solution to the financial realities that keep young adults from being able to move out of their parents’ homes.


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