The Rise Of The ADU And How It Helps Senior Citizens Live More Independently

This flexible option can keep families closer for longer. YouTube screenshot/Alan Toscano

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In the past, older individuals often had limited options when it came to where they would live. Some were able to stay in the homes where they resided for much of their lives, but these spaces were often bigger than they needed and were too difficult to maintain.

That left them with the possibility of downsizing or moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home. These days, however, a growing trend is allowing seniors to live in their own space, on their own terms, and near the people they love the most.

Flexible options

At the heart of this trend are accessory dwelling units, or ADUs for short. These are basically areas of a larger home that have been reformatted to become independent spaces akin to studio apartments.

For many families that have embraced this option, the best aspect is that it is totally customizable to the needs of those involved. An older couple can help their adult kids by offering an ADU for them to live in, or alternatively, the grown children could add an ADU to their home and invite their parents to move in.

One 80-year-old woman who purchased a property with her daughter and son-in-law said the arrangement has “exceeded all our expectations,” noting that she is still able to provide childcare for her grandkids and her children are “prepared to be caregivers” if she needs assistance in the future.

AARP approved

Groups that help seniors, including the AARP, have been vocal advocates for ADUs and have pushed for new laws making it simpler to receive a permit. California is among the states that have responded to that pressure and the number of such units statewide has gone from about 1,200 in 2016 to almost 20,000 in 2021.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee January 30th, 2023
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