Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

MedCottage helps keep ailing family member close

The inside of the MedCottage, which can provide temporary shelter for a relative in a family’s back yard.

Washington Post photo courtesy of Thomas Becher

The inside of the MedCottage, which can provide temporary shelter for a relative in a family’s back yard.

A small Virginia firm hoping to revolutionize the way Americans care for aging family members has unveiled its prototype of a portable, high-tech dwelling that would provide temporary shelter for a sick or elderly relative in his or her family's back yard.

Earlier this year, N2 Care, a company formed by a Methodist minister in Salem, Va., showed off its first MedCottage, a 12- by 24-foot prototype filled with biometric technology that would allow a family and health care providers to monitor the condition of an aging or disabled relative. The cottage contains air filtration systems, video links, devices that allow the remote monitoring of vital signs and sensors that could detect an occupant's fall.

Until now, the MedCottage (www.medcottage.com) had been an idea on paper. Even before the prototype was trotted out, however, the company's concept had received an important endorsement: The Virginia General Assembly this year passed legislation that allows families to install such a dwelling on their property with a doctor's order. The AARP, the lobbying group for aging Americans, has said local zoning laws pose one of the biggest obstacles to making such dwellings a practical solution to caring for aging family members in what it calls "accessory dwelling units."

Although the bill passed almost unanimously and Gov. Robert F. McDonnell signed it into law, detractors have dubbed the concept the "granny pod" and predicted that it could create conflicts between neighbors who find the dwellings unsightly. Some critics also worry that the setup could lead to cases of neglect involving elderly or disabled occupants of the dwellings.

The Rev. Ken Dupin, pastor of the Salem Wesleyan Church, created the MedCottage as an alternative to nursing homes as 78 million baby boomers head toward retirement. The idea came about after years of supervising aid missions to Latin America and seeing the need for temporary, modular hospital rooms. As a minister in Northern Virginia and elsewhere, Dupin had also encountered aging people who were distressed at the prospect of moving into nursing homes far from family when they could no longer care for themselves.

The company envisions that families could purchase or lease a MedCottage and set it up on their property, hooking it up to their home's electrical and water supplies like an RV. But because of the nature of the dwelling, those who are considering the MedCottage would have to check city codes and deed restrictions.

Nancy Thompson, a spokeswoman for the AARP, said the MedCottage has some of the features the organization advocates in accessory dwelling units, but not all of the universal design features that could be useful for people of all ages. But she said it's also a step in the right direction for accessory dwelling units.

MedCottage helps keep ailing family member close 09/21/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 7:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed by another police union

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement
  2. Drinking alcohol on St. Pete Beach beaches now allowed — for hotel guests only

    Local Government

    ST. PETE BEACH — Guests at gulf-front hotels here can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas.

    Guests relax on the beach near the Don Cesar at St. Pete Beach. Guests at gulf-front hotels in St. Pete Beach can now drink alcoholic beverages in permitted hotel beach cabana areas after the change was passed unanimously by the City Commission Tuesday night. Residents and other beachgoers who are not registered guests of the hotels continue to be barred from imbibing anywhere on the city's beaches.
  3. Man found floating in 'Cotee River in New Port Richey

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A body was found floating in the Pithlachascotee River on Tuesday morning, police said.

  4. More than 13,000 fact-checks later, PolitiFact celebrates 10-year mark

    National

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Adair still remembers the moment when he realized his idea to fact-check politicians could turn into something big.

    (from left to right) Aaron Sharockman, Politifact executive director introduces a panel featuring Angie Holan, Politifact editor; PolitiFact founder Bill Adair and Tampa Bay Times Editor and Vice President Neil Brown at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event celebrated 10 years of PolitiFact and its growth since 2007. The panel discussed the history of the organization and how it goes about fact-checking. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  5. Trump, McConnell feud threatens GOP agenda

    Politics

    The relationship between President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

    Sen. Mitch McConnell has fumed over Trump’s criticism.