After reading for months about the growing financial stressors on the senior housing industry, I start to question whether the classic idea of the old age home will be even be there for most of us.


a) Some senior housing companies are skirting with bankruptcy because not enough boomers are saying yes to the group concept. Many new retirement communities have been built but fewer are chosen over staying at home. 

b) Many of these same companies have decided they must cater only to the high end of the income spectrum, making it un-affordable for most. In most markets you need $ 400,000 -500,000 to buy in to that smaller accessible home on the grounds of the care community or up to $5000 a month to lease the same space. 

c) Nursing home populations are down 14%, so they are not building newer skilled nursing facilities for now, even with the age wave starting to crest.    

But what if you really want that tiny home on your own property or in a independent community not run by corporate rules.  

I would like to introduce you again to the Minka Project by Dr Bill Thomas.  They are working on providing studio and one bedroom apartment module designs.  The studio apartment can be delivered for $75,000. You then are responsible for additional fees to put a choice of finishing for the exterior.  Of course,  the real cost includes municipal hookups, taxes, local fees etc. But one would think, it would cost a family or homeowner a lot less than 400,000 dollars for a patio home in standard retirement development.

Think Lego’s – big Legos. And the best proposed part – connection to supportive services in the community– this is a better looking future independent of the corporate need for profit. Many barriers may exist in some communities but think – make a village with modular cohousing …?

I have cut and pasted the best visual explanation directly from the Minka website below:

Global Design

Minka System Rendering - CornerCombining Lego block versatility with the elegant simplicity of Edo Period Japanese “Minka” architecture and Scandinavian design, Minka houses are based on a post and beam nodal system that offers nearly infinite configuration of walls, panels, posts and girders.

Minka home parts are pre-fabricated using robotic stock-removal CNC machines, similar to 3D printing, and then shipped and assembled on site in less than a week – with almost no waste.

Minka System Rendering - Sheet LayoutEach assembled component has a finished interior, insulated core and taped Zip Board exterior to form a fully insulated weathertight house. Minka homes are engineer certified and stamped to exceed local, state and international building standards.



Now some people would pause to live in such a modular house. Municipalities are just getting with the need to define what can be an Accessory Dwelling Unit  versus a secondary suite attached to a house.  Many rules still need to written and revised to make affordable, accessible housing a reality for those in the vast middle income category. 

The need for innovation grows stronger as the option/desire to go end up at the original style old age home gets lost in the shuffle. 

For insight and more pictures of this concept visit the latest update :







Image: Copyright: <a href=’’>jayfish / 123RF Stock Photo</a>