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Tiny Homes Keep Seniors Close To Family, Away From Assisted Living

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The latest trend in home building lives up to the motto "less is more."

Tiny homes are popping up all over the United States. The small houses are usually around 200 square feet and include all the necessities of a standard-size home.

NextDoor Housing, a Twin Cities-based company, believes the tiny homes can help families with aging seniors by offering an alternative to assisted living.

Shirley Louiselle knows she can live comfortably in a 240-square-foot house.

"I wouldn't need any more than this," Shirley said.

After all, the 80-year-old is the inspiration behind one company's tiny home movement.

Shirley's grandson, John Louiselle, and his life-long friend Jesse Lammie came up with the idea for NextDoor Housing a year ago.

"The Lord forbid if something were to ever happen, I would want my grandma near my family when she needs us most," John said.

John and Jesse realized the little-living-space boom offered more than just a chance to downsize.

"It gives your family the ability to bring their loved ones closer to home versus outsourcing the care," Louiselle said.

Using a $340,000 state grant, the two put priority on a handicap-accessible design -- including low cupboards and countertops and wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.

John and Jesse also knew the tiny home would need to be mobile.

"It's a licensed RV," John said. "It's built for the road."

Just 30-feet long and eight-feet wide, it can easily be moved onto a loved one's property.

Aging family members are not far from home, and it still keeps a sense of independence with a separate living space.

"Looking back in retrospect, my grandpa, he really could have used an option like this," Jesse Lammie said. "There was nothing out there. We didn't even know something like this was possible."

Shirley is still active and able, but now feels more secure facing the unknowns that often come with age.

"Everyone wants to be independent. Nobody wants to have to move if they don't want to or aren't ready for it," Shirley said. "This is just a wonderful transition."

Each city has their own permitting rules for allowing these homes on a property. They take about a week to build and cost around $50,000. Click here for more information.

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