• Richard Duncan

ADU's and Covid

This AARP article cites several reasons for increased interest in backyard accessory dwellings (ADU's) over the past year. COVID is the main contributor to this increased interest, and the pandemic has people looking at backyard structures for offices, studios, or other workplaces. Of course, these uses aren't actual dwellings and may require few permitting and zoning hurdles to create.

But another use with increased interest, which is actually a dwelling, is a small home with a full kitchen and bathroom as well as a place for sleeping. These are often considered to accommodate family members, for instance for a returning child. But another user might be an older adult or a caregiver for an older adult. We've heard of some adult children of seniors, moving their older family members out of care facilities and into their homes or...into an ADU. Older adults themselves might create an ADU on their own property to house a caregiver. Or, they might create an ADU to rent out for the income stream to help with expenses in their original home. Whatever the reason, if an accessory dwelling might be used by an older adult, make sure that it is designed in a way that can accommodate them appropriately. Look here for ADU plans whose designs can actually help older residents remain in place for longer.

With all us oldsters realizing the dangers of group care situations, we may be thinking of long term living situations that can help avoid care facilities for as long as possible. The cost of ADU’s can range from $50,000 to $150,000. But they can still cost a lot less over time than other housing options and surely are less costly when compared to long term care costs. Accessory dwellings might be an affordable residential choice for some.

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The Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute is a non-profit organization based in North Carolina dedicated to promoting the concept and practice of accessible and universal design. The Institute's work manifests the belief that all new environments and products, to the greatest extent possible, should and can be usable by everyone regardless of age, ability, or circumstance.


The Institute's sister initiative, Better Living Design is changing the way homes and home products are designed, built and remodeled to better meet the needs of everyone at every life stage. 

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