Safe as a pea in a granny pod
Illustration by Jan Igoe
It’s no wonder everybody you meet is totally stressed out. On any given day, we have so many obligations, burning questions and world problems to solve:
Am I keeping up with the Kardashians?
Could Donald Trump’s hairstyle be contagious?
Where is the best place to store my grandma?
As a new grandma myself—the vital, probiotic-taking, working grandma with a gym membership—the third question has my attention. When my kids were little and I’d banish them to their rooms for some behavioral infraction, the little angels would maliciously mutter, “It’s OK. Someday, we’ll pick her nursing home,” just loud enough to keep me nervous for the next 20 years.
Now, there’s an alternative: the portable Granny Pod. It doesn’t seem fair to label a $125,000, state-of-the-art, mini hospital a mere pod, but “Nana’s Nifty Outhouse” didn’t score well with focus groups. For that colossal chunk of change, you get a small, pre-fab home with a bed, bath, fridge and microwave. It looks a bit like an upscale college dorm, except for the defibrillators, handrails, lighted floors, video surveillance and all the paraphernalia required to park an aging loved one in your backyard. They say everyone has privacy, and the family can visit when they’re not monitoring Granny’s vitals from the den.
I’ve always associated backyards with doghouses and toolsheds rather than Grandma’s house, which has traditionally been over the river and through the woods. But as the boomers sprint into their golden years, some of us will require convenient, local storage.
This solution would never have worked for my mom’s mom. There’s no place to park a Harley or entertain bald boyfriends, which she continued to collect into her late 70s. But for the cookie baking-type, backyard storage has potential. Personally, I think pods would have more appeal if they made them for other relatives—say, weird uncles or teenagers. What parent wouldn’t want her adolescents under 24-hour video surveillance in a safe, secure and, did I stress, remote location?
The pods won’t seem unusual to young adults, who have already embraced the tiny-home revolution. Forget McMansions. Tiny-home advocates say 300 square feet of living space is plenty. Mortgages are low, keeping up with the Joneses is moot and tiny homes give owners more time to focus on what’s really important, like Kim’s latest Kanye ultimatum.
Ironically, these tiny-home lovers are likely the same people who would never be caught dead near a singlewide—which has much more room, and you get to keep the wheels—but they’ll pay upwards of $50,000 for a home smaller than a closet in their parents’ house.
There’s no talk of a granddad pod, so he’s either on his own or there’s an Old Man Cave in the works. I hear Ensure will be on tap.
JAN IGOE is still in shock that she’s a grandma and is not interested in pod living. An RV might work, though. Write her at HumorMe@SCLiving.coop.