Keeping your aging parents close, but not too close - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Keeping your aging parents close, but not too close

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

If you're like many older Americans with parents still living, chances are you'll confront the question of what to do with Mom or Dad when they can no longer live by themselves.

As 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, this issue will become more common and businesses are starting to come up with solutions.

Welcome to the world of 'granny pods.' That's what many call the little cottages you can put in your backyard to keep an elderly relative nearby, but not under the same roof.

South Tampa builder Henry Moseley calls his custom-built cottages "home care suites," but it's the same concept. His company will build one of three models in your backyard that vary in size and price from $40,000 to $80,000.

"We want to keep our family close, but independent," he explained.

Moseley also says his custom suites are more than competitive with assisted living facilities.

"An ALF typically, just for the bricks and mortar rental, is about $3,000 a month. We can put you in one of our suites for $1,000 a month," he claimed.

For Mark Fersaci and his mom, Lennar's NextGen housing made sense. NextGen is a house within a house. Mark and his wife have their space; Betty Fersaci has hers.

"Like I tell her 'Mom, if you want me or need anything, just open the door. I'll be right on over. If you don't want to see me, close the door,'" Mark Fersaci said.

Betty Fersaci, 85, lived two hours away in Altamonte Springs. After two knee replacements, she started falling. She says she knew it was time.

"I was on the dining room and I couldn't get up at all. Three hours I laid there and I thought, 'Who's going to find me here?'"

Mark Fersaci went in search of a mother-in-law suite and found the Lennar home instead. His mother has 800-plus square feet of space with her own garage and private entrance. She also has a full kitchen -- minus a stove because of code requirements, a handicap-accessible bathroom with a roll-in shower, and large master bedroom. They converted a living room closet into a pantry.

"This is why Mark comes over," Betty says, chuckling. "Mark comes over and says 'Oh Mom, can I take that spaghetti sauce?'"

Lennar's vice president of sales, Dale Human, says demand for their NextGen homes is growing by the day. They're building three models in the Tampa Bay area ranging from the high $200's to the low $300's.

"The feedback we've been getting from the public is, 'We've got kids coming home from college. We have in-laws moving in. We need this extra space,'" he explained.

The Fersacis say, for them, this is the perfect fit.

"We have our independence, she has her independence," Mark added.

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