TAMPA, Fla. — Kenneth George is a retired veteran who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
“He’s extremely independent,” said Kathy Barker, who is looking for ways to keep her 90-year-old father comfortable and safe.
“The biggest thing that happened to him was the loss of the ability to drive,” said Barker.
The family at first considered an assisted living facility.
“His statement would always be, ‘It's just filled with all these old people and I don’t want to be here,’” recalls Barker. “So it was out.”
Then Barker discovered a new alternative-- a low cost, custom-built home that would fit right into her own backyard.
Called a “senior cottage” the structures are built up to the same codes as a regular house, just smaller.
“This is our 440-square-foot model,” said homebuilder Henry Moseley, president of the Goldsborough Co.
Moseley has spent years concentrating on much larger projects, but started building smaller backyard homes after seeing the need.
“They’re quiet, they’re comfortable, they’re energy efficient and they’re spacious. They have the small kitchen, they have the sitting room, they have a nice bedroom; it's everything a parent needs.”
The Barkers have a sign with flyers explaining all the construction going on in their backyard. There’s been so much curiosity from all their neighbors they’ve had to refill the flyers three times.
“An assisted living facility can cost $3,000 to $5,000 a month or about $36,000 to $50,000 a year,” said Moseley. “Our cottages run from $50,000 to $100,000 and you own them. I think boomers have the mentality that an assisted living facility is not ever going to be for them.”
Barker hopes the investment will give her family peace of mind and comfort having dad just a short walk away.
“It’s something that any good daughter would do for their parent,” she said.
The senior cottages won’t add to your property taxes if they’re being used to house a loved one in need of care.
The new structure hooks up to your existing utilities.
There are a few catches though. You can’t rent them out for something like AirBNB in most areas. There are also different rules depending on where you live.
The builders say they’re familiar with those building codes, which can be different in each municipality.