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Tiny House Movement: Seniors are Embracing Small Spaces in Retirement

In the late ‘10s, tiny houses started growing in popularity. People eschewed the maximalist and consumerist lifestyle in favour of owning less. It is both a response to the rising cost of living everywhere in the world and the negative impact of humans on the environment.

A tiny house is more affordable to build and maintain compared to a bigger structure. There is less need for appliances (there is no space for more than what is necessary) and, therefore, it requires a lower rate of energy to run. It also promotes sustainability because it encourages minimalism which, at its core, is pro-environment as it decreases the consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources.

However, it has its drawbacks. Some people regret investing their money in a tiny house because it does not give them room to expand. Couples who have kids obviously need more space. It also is a huge lifestyle shift, especially if you grew up and are used to owning more.

Although younger generations were first to embrace the tiny house movement, it might be more suitable for older folks.

Tiny House for Grandma and Grandpa

A tiny house can be transformed into a living area for your senior loved ones. Granny flats technically fall into the category of a tiny house because it is quite small. A tiny house, on average, measures about 100 to 400 square feet (37.16 m²). However, a housing unit built for the elderly is often built alongside a family member’s house (so that they can provide care as needed) but is separate to allow the resident/s to live independently.

Like a regular home, a tiny house has its own amenities, including a kitchen and a bathroom. Some tiny houses elevate the bedroom loft-style to create more space or hidden in a wall, but if it will be used for the elderly, the bedroom should immediately be accessible.

Tiny Houses Benefits the Elderly

tiny house patio

The supposed benefits of living in a tiny house are applicable to seniors. There is less space that needs to be cleaned regularly and maintained. Bigger houses need a lot more attention and care. As a person grows older, the simple task of vacuuming becomes a safety hazard. Lifting a heavy vacuum cleaner from room-to-room may lead to injury.

There is also no room for clutter in a tiny house because it discourages the hoarding of products that are not used regularly is highly discouraged. Adding more items will make the unit feel cramped.

Moreover, seniors would not have to walk far to get to the bedroom, bathroom, or living room. Modifications are still needed to make the unit safe for older adults. Appliances, for example, should be small to create enough space to move around without bumping into things.

The most important benefit of living in a tiny house is the potential reduction in living expenses. The space is easier to heat and cool because it is smaller which leads to lower utility bills overall. For seniors who rely on their retirement fund to survive, living in a tiny house grants confidence that they will have money to spend well into their final years.

Seniors Having Their Own Tiny House Movement

Many retirees have already opted to embrace the tiny house movement. Parents tend to downgrade to a smaller home anyway as soon as their offspring grows up and starts a life of their own.

Seniors who decided to settle in tiny houses report a higher life satisfaction. It is cheaper which means that they would not be spending their final years paying off their mortgage. It also allows them to live in proximity to their families.

They get to still live independently, but they can visit their children and grandchildren every day. They maintain regular socialisation which keeps their mind sharp and prevents them from suffering from mental health conditions.

Unfortunately, the elderly population is at risk of depression due to isolation. Having an illness and limitations in movement stops them from going out, interacting with other people, or hanging out with friends and family. Depression among seniors can lead to a weaker immune system, which makes them prone to infection, and suicide.

However, being next-door neighbours to their family ensures that they can become a part of their children and grandchildren’s lives. They do not feel lonely or isolated.

Tiny house living is not for everyone. It has pros and cons that should be heavily discussed and decided. For some seniors, it might not be suitable because of restrictions in space. However, it can improve the everyday lives of some older adults who do not need a lot to survive.

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