USI Testing Tiny House for Aging in Place

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The University of Southern Indiana is partnering with nationally-renowned aging expert Dr. Bill Thomas on a program looking at using so-called tiny houses to help seniors age in place. The school in October unveiled a Minka house: a 600-square-foot, one-story house outfitted with smart technology to help seniors safely manage the house on their own. USI College of Nursing and Health Professions Dean Ann White the MAGIC project with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta.

The Minka house is currently being used as a showcase, allowing the school community and the public to see how the model could help seniors. However, says White, it's also a laboratory for USI students to see how the concept could be improved. She says classes are looking at efforts ranging from adding a garden to help seniors grow their own food to making sure it's complaint with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements.

While the project is currently confined to the single house, White says the vision is bigger. She says one idea is to create a community of 10-15 Minka houses, where college students and seniors could live side-by-side.

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