Will Tiny Homes Replace Nursing Homes in Minneapolis?

Written By: Kenneth LaBore | Published On: 13th July 2015
Senior Citizen

Senior Citizen in Tiny Homes

Due to Affordability Tiny Homes Considered as Housing Option for Seniors

Tiny homes are a trend that is catching on. Individuals want to fit as much as they possibly can in the smallest spaces. Basically, it is making the best possible use of a single space and it can be rather impressive with all of the compartments and multi-purpose furniture. There are even ways to make the space not seem as confined as it is.  The real benefit is the that the tiny houses can be placed on the yard or property of loved ones or friends and still offer privacy for the senior.

Now the tiny house movement is making its way into Minneapolis. Two men started a tiny house company that targets senior citizens who are recovering from injuries but don’t want to live in nursing homes.

Because of the number of nursing home abuse and neglect cases occurring throughout the state and the costs that are associated with a nursing home stay, this is appealing to seniors. They can maintain independence and live near loved ones without completely encroaching on the busy lives of their children and grandchildren.

Idea for Tiny Homes

The idea came as the grandfather of one of the men was forced into a nursing home while he was recovering from a fall. He said if the idea existed while his grandfather was recovering, he would have loved the idea of living in a tiny house that was made to meet his needs. And meeting needs is exactly what these homes are for. They are senior-specific, which means they are designed differently than most tiny homes that may have a second story or difficult to operate furniture. In this case, the homes are wheelchair accessible, the refrigerator is lifted off of the floor to make access easy, and the homes can be placed in driveways, yards, or even on the side of the street.

When the idea was presented to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, they awarded a grant to bring the idea from paper to reality.

The main issue that the pair has faced is the ordinances that allow that type of living. The ordinances can vary from city-to-city throughout the Twin Cities metro. Nonetheless, they have figured out how to navigate the ordinances, so the demand for their product is growing. The starting price for a home is $50,000 and rentals are available for monthly rates ranging from $1,000 to $1,500.

As for what this could mean for nursing homes, it does depend on a number of factors. If an individual is better suited for a tiny home, they may forego staying in a nursing home. In a few years, this could have a small effect on the number of filled beds in nursing homes and how many patients there are per caretaker. Balancing out the caretaker to patient ratio could help improve care, although nursing homes will receive less compensation if they do not have as many patients.

In the end, however, it does come down to what is best for the senior and what will give them the best possible quality of life for the remainder of their lives.

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