FYI Daily

Home Sweet Med Cottage: New Backyard Elder-Housing Option

Last updated: Nov 10, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood and the dollhouse

Worried about parents living alone, but no room to have them move in with you? A Virginia Tech researcher has created the Med Cottage, a self-contained, 300-square-foot structure that can be built for Mom or Dad right in your backyard.

The first portable unit went up in October, reports the Chicago Tribune. Each contains a kitchenette, social area, bathroom, fall monitoring sensors, voice-activated medication dispensers, and other high-tech safety nets. Cost: $85,000 ("Less than a nursing home," says creator Ken Dupin, whose motto for his company, N2Care, is "family managed care.")

Next he's working with communities to end restrictive zoning laws that often prohibit such buildings.