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If you’re one of the nearly 44 million Sandwich Generation adults who are caring for a parent, it’s encouraging to know there’s a smart and relatively inexpensive alternative to putting Mom or Dad in a nursing home or assisted-living facility, or having them move in with you.

It’s the “granny pod” — a modular, handicapped-assessible residence that can accommodate medical needs and allow your loved one to age in place in a small home, right in your backyard. According to the 2012 Cost of Care Survey by Genworth insurance agency, approximately 70 percent of people 65 and older will require long-term-care services at some point.

Ultimately, you need to do your own cost analysis based on a multitude of personal factors.

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In 2010, N2Care successfully convinced the Virginia General Assembly to pass a law that supersedes local zoning ordinances and allows homeowners to put a modular dwelling on a property with a doctor’s order.

Four other states (including New York and California) have introduced similar legislation to allow for medical modular units.

Ken Dupin, the founder and chief executive of N2Care, says the approaching wave of seniors in need of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities will put a tremendous strain on Medicare and Medicaid.

Henry Racki, the founder and chairman of PALS, acknowledges the industry is in its infancy and that pod manufacturers are still trying to educate the public on cost-effective alternatives.

DETROIT -- Buick will introduce a commercial this week that will try to convince consumers once again that its vehicles aren't made for the blue-haired set.

But this time it will enlist the help of, well, a few blue hairs.

Nationwide Homes got into the game last year with its Care-Cottage, a 14- by 44-foot modular unit designed with assisted-living needs in mind.

“People coming into the backyard but with a place of their own are less likely to feel like they’re imposing on the family when they move into the house,” says Dan Goodin, an executive vice president at Nationwide.

Because of their modular design, most units can be attached to or detached from the primary home and can be permanent or temporary.

Typically these units feature a bedroom, living area, bathroom and small kitchen.

Ultimately, it’s not just a fixed expense but an asset.