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  • Seniors and Tiny Home Living

    I am an older person and am very interested in how tiny homes can be used by old folks. For example, I don't want to have a conventional oven once my memory has faded even a bit. I'd rather use a microwave, InstantPot, electric frying pan with timer, and so on. I don't need a huge fridge but I do need a freezer to accommodate delivered frozen foods. I don't need a tub, but I do need a shower big enough for a shower stool. I don't even need a bedroom because I sleep in a recliner due to COPD. Can a tiny house accommodate a wheelchair? I don't need one now, but maybe later. And maintenance would have to be kept to a minimum. I'd appreciate input and ideas along these lines.

  • #2
    oldstnick This video was originally posted under another topic but is relevant to your question here. This tiny house was built specifically for a gentleman in a wheel chair. Please take a look at the video to see what's possible when it comes to accommodating a wheelchair in a tiny house.

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    • #3
      I have an aunt and uncle who are in their sixties and live in a Park Model RV. They opted to get rid of their oven and replace it with a clothes washer since they don't do much fancy cooking. I believe they have a toaster oven and a microwave. They have had recliners in their home in the past.

      My uncle is disabled, so he has used a walker at times in their house, and it's not always easy to maneuver. My own husband has been temporarily disabled a couple of times, and there's no way his wheelchair would fit inside our house. Even crutches were a stretch.

      That said, one of the beauties of tiny houses is that if you can easily design a home that works for you. If you go into it with the need for easy access in mind, I'm sure you could figure out how to accommodate your needs. I wish we would have thought more about wheelchair access when we bought ours, but we were young and that wasn't even on our radar at the time.

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      • #4
        I agree with you and planning for the future should be thought about when designing any tiny house. Making the door width for the use of a wheelchair should be done. I am glad you brought up the idea of having a shower chair , that could be built in.

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        • #5
          My RV has severely limited my baking activities, which I love. It's therapy to me. I have a convection/microwave oven, a toaster oven, and neither are of any use for baking. I realize some things have to go by the wayside, but, I'm just not happy unless I can bake. I am losing my abilities, slowly, so, the time may come in the not too distant future that I couldn't continue that anyway. Living in an RV, I've already shed most of the things I no longer need. That's a process. I've gone through "shedding" three times so far!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by oldstnick View Post
            I am an older person and am very interested in how tiny homes can be used by old folks. For example, I don't want to have a conventional oven once my memory has faded even a bit. I'd rather use a microwave, InstantPot, electric frying pan with timer, and so on. I don't need a huge fridge but I do need a freezer to accommodate delivered frozen foods. I don't need a tub, but I do need a shower big enough for a shower stool. I don't even need a bedroom because I sleep in a recliner due to COPD. Can a tiny house accommodate a wheelchair? I don't need one now, but maybe later. And maintenance would have to be kept to a minimum. I'd appreciate input and ideas along these lines.
            Microwaves & Instapots are awesome... and you can find fridges/freezers in every size imagineable on Amazon, or even at your local WalMart... if you had your tiny house custom built by a local builder I'm certain you could discuss your above mentioned concerns and all of your needs would be addressed.

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            • #7
              A few thoughts from my tiny house kitchen!
              I also love to bake & the Oster Toaster/Convection oven fits neatly in my very limited counter space (with my electric 1 countertop burner). I got cute little loaf pans and can fit 3 of them at once or 1 standard pan & I little pan or a 8x8 or a standard pie pan. I haven't had any problem making cakes, bread, etc. or also roasting veggies, baking potatoes, cooking meat.
              I never thought I'd be happy w/1 burner for my stove but decided to try it out & find it's really all I need - I just plan my meals/pots differently & quantities accordingly & adapt for when I have company. It actually adds to the fun of being a creative baker/chef!
              My 3.2 cuft frig has plenty of room for my necessities & its tiny (separate door) freezer fine for basics & left-overs. I didn't think I'd like the door holder for canned drinks (which many if the small frigs have) since I don't use cans but I just put my salad dressing, etc it it & there's no wasted space.
              I use a small size (7 cup) electric water heater from Target.
              Since I'm in the season when we begin to forget things, for safety I keep everything unplugged unless I am using it & I have trained myself to have the microwave overhead light on also when I using anything so I am reminded to unplug when I turn that off. My electric water heater has its own safety switch.
              When I get frustrated occasionally about space issues, I try embrace it as a simple challenge to do something differentl...and I also often think of all the people in the world who have so much less than I do and often no personal space to call their own.

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              • #8
                Thank you! The Oster Toaster/Convection oven sounds like a good idea. I think I'd rather use an electric frying pan and slow cooker and skip the burner altogether. Do you use the 7 cup water heater for dishwashing? Or?

                Many years ago in Egypt, I saw that people had a device that wrapped around a pipe or faucet and, when plugged in, heated the water at the point of use. Have you--or anyone out there heard of such a thing?

                Also, is anyone using solar power or living off the grid entirely? What do you do for water? Is a composting toilet something an older person can effectively use? What about the toilets that zap waste to ashes using electricity? Anyone tried those?

                Thanks in advance for all the advice--and thanks to all those who have taken the time to respond.

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                • #9
                  The water heater is just for boiling water to use for tea, or instant soups, etc. It's better than heating water in the microwave, I think.
                  Your combo of electric fry pan & slow cooker would work. I've seen a few nice tiny slo-cooker crock pots at Target.
                  I look forward to what others respond to your other questions as I haven't had experience with those yet but wonder about the same things!

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                  • #10
                    Lots of great ideas for cooking in tiny spaces here! I have a single burner and didn't think of many of the items mentioned on this thread. Thanks to everyone who chimed in!

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                    • #11
                      It seems to me that a cluster of tiny homes would be an ideal retirement setting for many older people. Ideally, such a cluster would minimize maintenance, keep costs low, and allow for helping each other and sharing added help.

                      Is there any trend toward making very inexpensive tiny homes on a standardized, prefab basis? What I see on television stresses the made-for-you factor and results in tiny homes that are well beyond what many older people can afford. As I look at rental costs that seem to go up and up while incomes stays stagnant, I must admit, it's scary. And many cannot keep up their larger homes and yards anymore.

                      I believe that we need some really, really inexpensive housing options to bring down rental costs in general. Such affordable tiny houses might also find a place in fighting homelessness.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by oldstnick View Post
                        ... Real estate agents want to sell you the most expensive home they can because their commission will be bigger. Mortgage companies want to lend you as much money as possible because they make more interest on a larger loan.
                        I can personally attest to this fact! Prior to purchasing my converted horse trailer I sought outside help from local Realtors here in the Ohio area to no avail! I was told, Banks don't like to make loans for less than $100,000. Face it folks, everything's a money game and we're trying to save it while everyone else is trying to attain it! LOL

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                        • #13
                          I totally agree with you about the benefits of communities, shared space & services, etc. I would not call it a trend (yet!) but there is definitely a country-wide housing crisis & there are tiny house communities being developed with this centralized spaces as well as affordability in mind.
                          Check out the Square One Villages website for an awesome homelessness-to-housed living model. I've been keeping an eye on what community models are in the US & SquareOne stands out with its strategically planned phases, sustainability & overall great resources which can be adapted to other models (like for a comminity of seniors who want / need some oversight).
                          "Inexpensive and affordability" are very relative depending on where you are based. For my region (southeast US) & limited budget, I love what CORE Housing Solutions is doing with their goal to mass produce affordable & yes, standardized, tiny houses on wheels / THOW (with custom design options available for, of course, more $!). I like their concept of equipping the house w/ simple, easily replaced & affordable hot water heater, appliances & AC too so you can keep your home well maintained but within your budget.
                          My 250 sqft THOW base price was $28K with several custom touches & to fully equip, all told from big ticket items (like the external skirting, tiny deck & custom built murphey bed/hidden desk) down to the cleaning supplies, I have spent under $35K. That includes my own stuff, lots of recycled & thrift store treasures & definitely doing with a lot less than my previous 1000sqft condo had in it!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by oldstnick View Post
                            It seems to me that a cluster of tiny homes would be an ideal retirement setting for many older people. Ideally, such a cluster would minimize maintenance, keep costs low, and allow for helping each other and sharing added help.

                            Is there any trend toward making very inexpensive tiny homes on a standardized, prefab basis? What I see on television stresses the made-for-you factor and results in tiny homes that are well beyond what many older people can afford. As I look at rental costs that seem to go up and up while incomes stays stagnant, I must admit, it's scary. And many cannot keep up their larger homes and yards anymore.

                            I believe that we need some really, really inexpensive housing options to bring down rental costs in general. Such affordable tiny houses might also find a place in fighting homelessness.
                            We have a park model, which are usually built using standard floorplans at the factory alongside manufactured houses. But at 400 square feet, it's not the kind of tiny house you would be able to take on the road yourself as it's too wide to be road legal without special permits and lead cars, etc. We paid about $40k for it ten years ago.

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                            • #15
                              I am also an "old". I want a Tiny House which is off grid with as little EMF/RF effects as possible. No microwave ovens for me !

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