ADUs: A Great Idea for Senior Housing


During the coronavirus pandemic, I’m so glad that my mother is living in an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on our property. There have been many cases of coronavirus outbreaks in senior living facilities.  An article in USA Today on April 9, 2020 highlighted the problems in assisted living facilities:

Assisted living complexes, home to more than 800,000 people nationwide, have quickly become a new and dangerous theater in the coronavirus war. Challenged by deepening financial pressures, sicker residents, limited oversight and too few employees, they now face a crisis that could force companies into bankruptcy, roil the industry and even close some facilities – putting frail seniors at greater-than-ever risk.

If you are a senior citizen or have a parent who is a senior citizen, now is a great time to consider building an ADU. There are tremendous benefits to building an ADU:

  • Allows for family assistance and independence: An ADU is a separate housing unit that provides seniors their own living space. Yet, the ADU is close to the main house, which makes it easier for family members to provide assistance when necessary.
  • Makes financial sense: In 2019, Genworth reported that the average cost for a senior residing in an assisted living facility in California was $54,000 per year. Once this money is spent, it is gone. The cost of an ADU, which varies depending on the type and size of the building, is typically in the range of $100,000 to $250,000. After spending this money, the owner has an additional housing unit that increases the value of the property.

The State of California has passed new ADU laws that went into effect at the beginning of 2020. These laws made it easier for homeowners to build an ADU. In future blog postings, I’ll write about some of these new laws.

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