Through a partnership with a non-profit Community Frameworks, a Washington-based developer is bringing back the concept of elder cottages—or smaller homes for aging parents that were popular around the turn of the century.
The Elder Cottage homes, which are manufactured and can be customized and delivered and constructed within eight weeks, are located on an existing property with shared utilities, catering to situations where an aging parent may wish to live on the same property as an adult child or family member, without having to share the same roof.
The cottages are being marketed as a cost-effective and convenient alternative to moving into a long term care community or continuing to live entirely independently with help from in-home care or family members.
Developer Mark Wilson, of says the Accessibility Dwelling Units zoning in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, where the concept is launching, now allows for construction of the cottages on an existing property, though the zoning is not favorable nationwide.
“This whole region is supportive and has ADU regulations in most of the counties,” Wilson says. “We don’t foresee it as a challenge in our region. I think this will take off because zoning was a challenge [previously].
The cottages are 400 to 600 square feet in size with features such as wide door frames, accessible showers and attention to lighting, that can be customized with additional features depending on the preferences of the buyer.
The price tag for one cottage starts at $43,000 to $50,000, with additional costs for site preparation.
“A lot can supplement what we do,” Wilson says, noting home care and home health care organizations as examples of potential partners. In the future, the cottages could also support a village concept that has been successful in some parts of the country as a way for retirees to live in the same vicinity and share some services such as transportation and maintenance.
“We’re looking at ways to utilize that concept,”Wilson says. “We’re looking at the same cottage product but developed in clusters depending upon needs and site capabilities.”
The organization is currently marketing the cottages for sale in the northwestern U.S. where ADU zoning is available.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker