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Aging in place with good ADU design

How do I know if an ADU is right for my parents or grandparents?

The Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU, is an affordable option compared to live-in care facilities or nursing homes. Whether you are considering building an ADU for yourself, your children, or your parents, the ADU provides a viable alternative to the traditional nursing home or retirement community. It can allow for seniors to continue residing in the homes they raised their own families in, helps by providing an affordable option for people who need additional support, and provides a way for people to continue living independently in their own homes as they age.

ADU Design by Housable

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether or not an ADU is right for you and your family.


The cost of building an ADU to ADA accessible standards is often less expensive than the annual costs of many nursing home facilities, which, in California, can average over $100,000 annually. By comparison, the cost of building an ADU can come in well below this, especially when converting a part of your home or garage, even when including the cost of a paid caregiver.


As more families are choosing to stay together, many are finding that the additional space provides privacy and independence for aging parents and adult children. While a ADU won’t solve every problem, it can provide an affordable option for families needing extra space for aging parents, for a live-in caregiver, or adult children. For children of aging parents, it may be easier to have a parent live in their own ADU rather than in the home.

Privacy and Well-being

Separate living space helps ease tensions and allows a parent to maintain a sense of independence. But these aren’t the only benefits to keeping family members close to home. Studies show that both children and grandparents benefit from the increased connection with improved school performance and extended lifespans.

Challenges to consider:

This change introduces its challenges. If you're thinking about bringing your family members into your home, remember to consider the following questions:

Will you be able to provide proper support and care, including eating, dressing, going to the bathroom, and taking medication?

Is your space safe for your family members to navigate, and are there proper rails in place?

If you have a family member with Alzheimer's or Dementia, will you be able to manage their behavior or potential confusion effectively?

How do I pay for the new construction?

If you own your property outright and are eligible for a loan to pay for the cost of construction, the monthly cost for the structure will likely be significantly lower than many nursing homes, leaving families with resources to cover the costs of care assistants and medical bills. Converting some space into an ADU will likely vastly increase your property's equity value as well as provide extra income should you decide to turn it into a rental.

Building an ADU isn't an overnight decision, but you may be dealing with a sense of urgency related to your new family situation. If so, there is hope to create a more comfortable living arrangement for your entire family while keeping your aging family member close.

Get Started with Your ADU Project