It seems the Tiny House movement is afoot.  People are finding ways to live minimally and save their time and/or money for other things like travel.  

And with the advent of the Tiny House, people are coming up with other ingenious ways to deliver the homes (pre-fab, transformer style) and the uses are becoming more varied.

In Hawaii, we've been familiar tiny homes for a while but we call them Ohanas.  Homes in more expensive places like Maui and Oahu often have Ohanas (sometimes built as part of the new house design) so that they can be rented to cover mortgage expenses.  But they were given the name Ohana because they most often housed an adult child or aging family member.

Speaking of aging family member, the thing we are short on here on the Big Island is assisted living facilities.  We do have nursing homes which are useful for aging parents who need constant medical care, but if your elderly parent is still more or less independent and just needs a little help with meals or driving, there aren't a lot of options beyond keeping them at home.

Introducing the "Granny Pod," one of the ingenious innovations brought on by the Tiny House movement.  On the mainland, in some areas, these can be brought in when needed and taken out when no longer needed.  But, as you would guess, as of yet, we don't have a company providing such service.  That doesn't mean you can't copy the model.  But I guess here, they should be called "Tutu Pods."

Features of a "Granny Pod"

  • Kitchens in granny pods have a small refrigerator, microwave and medication dispenser.
  • Bathroom is handicapped accessible, i.e. grab bars.
  • Granny pod bedrooms have a runway mat from the bed to the toilet, that lights up automatically when stepped on.
  • Ceiling tracks have trapeze hooks giving extra support when needed.
  • Technology in granny pods monitor vital signs, provide medication reminders and alert caregivers to problems.
  • Electrical and water connections connect to the main house utilities.

Benefits of the "Granny Pod"

  • Seniors remain in the community, close to family and friends where they're more comfortable.
  • Granny pods give seniors more independence while providing separation from the primary home, and more privacy for everyone.
  • There's less stress on the supporting family and no retrofitting the main home 
  • Granny pods can be more affordable when compared to nursing home

Here's a quick video on the concept.


cover photo courtesy of craftyjoe/freedigitalphotos.net