Baby Boomers At The Heart Of California’s Increasing ADU Trend

For many Baby Boomers in California — 80 is the new 60 thanks to breakthroughs in health and advances in science & medicine. This means that many “boomers” are living longer, healthier & more active lifestyles than their predecessors.

However, as the trend to live longer increases, so does the time spent in a big, empty nest.  For some — this is great. For others, the empty nest can slowly become a lonelier lifestyle than anticipated — in some cases, it can even begin to become unsafe.

Over the past year, as the ADU (Additional Dwelling Unit) has skyrocket in popularity throughout California, Sonderpods has noticed a few trends with many of our clients. Through the process of our full ADU services & products (which includes building ADUs in our factory, backyard inspections, permitting and installations) we’ve discovered that although some people may have worked their life to finally enjoy the empty nest —things change. For many people — an older culture of more “isolation” is changing, and people want to be closer to their families and friends.


grandpa and granddaughter cookingAfter enjoying the luxuries of the empty nest, they want to take advantage of their time, be social and reconnect.However, at the same time, if they decide to downsize, they are not sure where they could go, they don’t want to live with their kids & be a burden, but they aren’t ready for the mega change of moving into  a retirement community, starting over so late in life — plus they aren’t ready to give up their independence. 

It’s during this period of transition where Sonderpods has noticed that ADUs are becoming a highly sought after, multi-generational solution — as an ADU not only solves this problem, but it can continue to help solve situations for multiple generations of a family by increasing property values, providing a place for guests — or college graduates to stay when they come home — all while keeping families closer together, and providing flexibility for all of life’s different stages. 

We asked two generations of our clients about why they “took the leap” and decided to select Sonderpod ADU products & services. Their answers were extremely interesting and surprisingly similar — from two different points of view:

From the “Baby Boomer” Perspective:

  1. They liked the idea of taking advantage of the current market and selling their home, so that they could travel, feel stress free, and have liquid assets to be able to help their kids out financially if needed. 
  2. The idea of living closer to grandchildren and helping out around the house— yet still having their independence.
  3. It gave them the ability to be close and helpful to their family, without feeling intrusive, or like a burden — the way living in the same house could.
  4. It has actually enabled them to feel closer to their family than they’ve felt in years.
  5. In one case, the “Boomer” purchased the ADU to be built in her daughter’s backyard, so that after she stayed there her daughter could rent it out — and to help increase their property value.



From the Perspective of the “Adult Children of the Baby Boomer”:

  1. “It provides our parents with their own space — so that they can continue to feel independent, but also keeps our marriage sane.”
  2. Enables them to monitor their parents for declines in health, and to be nearby if they need help.
  3. One client is using it for her kids as they are home from college — and then his mother is planning to move in the following year.
  4. Many clients mentioned purchasing a Sonderpod to give their parents something back — after all of the years that their parents supported them.
  5. They are able to help out their parents, while increasing their property value.
  6. They welcome an extra set of hands around the house.
  7. Want to spend as many years as possible together before their parents transition into a retirement community.
  8. Having their parents live in the Sonderpod enables them to feel less stressed, calmer, and have their parents close-by, while they figure out the next steps for everyone. 

In the past — the idea of having parents move back in may not have been as appealing — but with the changes to the ADU (Additional Dwelling Unit) permitting laws in California — it is easier than ever to add a module in a backyard, which provides the separation needed for the privacy for both an aging parents — and the family in the main home.


sonderpods adu

3 of the reasons why SonderPod ADUs are so sought after (and on back order) for the California Baby Boomer (and Boomer Kids) crowd — are:

  • Sonderpods have features, specifically designed for aging parents in mind — from extra insulation to video intercom systems — allowing for immediate communication between the main home and the SonderPod “smart” cameras and functionality.
  • The variety of ADU’s, ease of purchase and installation — Sonderpods has several different models. All you have to do is select the one you want and we do the rest! This includes inspecting the property, doing all of the permitting, the building, and helping you to decided on which specific features you want.
  • They are some of THE BEST looking and MOST FUNCTIONAL ADUs available in California. 

Having potentially vulnerable family members nearby and in a comfortable, independent space provides great peace of mind.


To learn more about how Sonderpods ADUs are helping to revolutionize California, check out the article published about us in the Wall Street Journal:  It does require a subscription to the Wall Street Journal but it’s a great read if you have a subscription or would like to sign up for one. Article. If you are unable to subscribe, here are a couple of the highlights:

  1. Occupancy in assisted living facilities has dropped by more than 2.5% in each of the last two quarters, which is the largest drop on record. 
  2. Home builders have seen a significant increase in demand for homes that have additional living facilities or the option to add additional living facilities such as a SonderPods home.
  3. The major drivers of this trend are safety concerns due to the pandemic, financial savings and a general desire to keep families closer together.

Interested in learning more? Talk to one of our SonderPods consultants to see if an ADU would be a good fit for you! 

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