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The Green House Project Blog

Sophie’s Corner Suite of Charisma at Episcopal Homes of Minnesota

The Gardens – The First Green House skilled nursing homes in Minnesota

Personalized artwork and decorations make Sophie feel at home

Sophie Canelake resides at Episcopal Homes of Minnesota on the third floor of The Gardens, which is a Green House home.  A Green House home is an intentional community for 10 elders, that provides skilled nursing care. She adores her room, because the quaint corner location provides a wonderful view of the outdoors, and easy access to the rest of her home.  At 91 years old, Sophie truly appreciates her new home, and the life she lives here!

Sophie is originally from Wisconsin, and spent most of her life in northern Minnesota.  Sophie’s daughter resides in Minneapolis and this move enables her to visit  frequently during each week. “The convenience of living in close proximity to my family is extremely important,” explained Sophie.  Sophie and her family felt it was in her best interest to be in a community with the greatest level of care. A family friend of Sophie, who is an expert in senior care housing, highly recommended The Gardens – Nursing Home for the undeniably welcoming staff and respectable reputation Episcopal Homes has been providing for over 100 years.

She has her own independent bathroom and bedroom to decorate. “I love rearranging furniture and adding decorative touches as I see fit,” said Sophie. She has two large windows in her suite that bring in a plethora of sunshine every day.  Her room is cozy, but there is also enough space  to host family and friends.   The important thing is that at The Garden’s, Sophie has a sense of belonging, and ownership of the space.  This is her home.

Sophie soaking up the sunshine in her favorite chair

“The transition into The Gardens was very smooth and staff has been supportive” said Sophie.  Sophie expressed her transition was stress free because of the welcoming staff. She didn’t know what to expect when moving into her new home, but her favorite part of moving in was the comfort and homey feel The Gardens provides.

At Episcopal Homes of Minnesota, The  Gardens community is a part of the national  Green House Project. The Green House model  is created to foster a feeling of home and comfort for elders. The trailblazing model supports meaningful lives for elders, empowered staff and a real home. With a goal to eliminate loneliness, helplessness and boredom from  the lives of elders,  The Gardens will create lives worth living through relationship based care.

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Still Alice: Still Inspiring

Heather Sawitsky, of White Oak Cottages, writes a moving piece about the movie, Still Alice.  White Oak Cottages are Assisted Living Green House homes where people living with dementia are creative, resourceful and whole.  By creating an environment that is small and warm, and where people are deeply known, The Green House model is a best practice.

Still Alice, a movie based on Lisa Genova’s novel about a linguistics professor who develops early onset Alzheimer’s, is now in wide release. For those who love people with the disease, and for those who are hoping to avoid this disease (which by my count includes everyone) the question is, “Why would anyone want to see this movie?”

The answer might be because the film adaptation is a poignant and dignified presentation of a disease that is usually described in ways that exaggerate its symptoms and stigmatize its victims. Or it may be because Still Alice presents the experience of the degenerative disease through the eyes of Alice, reminding us that a person with Alzheimer’s still strives for normalcy, involvement, and emotional connection. Or it may be because the wide-angle view of the film speaks to how all of us will need to learn to master loss: of physical abilities, loved ones, and sometimes, memory.

Julianne Moore, who plays the professor Alice Howland, turns in a masterful performance. Determined not to “make it up”, Ms. Moore spent months researching Alzheimer’s disease, speaking with clinicians, women with early onset Alzheimer’s, and family members. She also underwent the same battery of cognitive tests given to those with suspected Alzheimer’s. Her performance carries the film and has earned her an Oscar® nomination.

There is one other element that sets this film apart. One of its directors, Richard Glatzer, was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. There are many parallels between ALS and Alzheimer’s. Both are neurodegenerative diseases that slowly, incrementally rob a person of their abilities. With ALS, patients lose their ability to use their muscles, thus depriving them of their ability to walk, stand, use their hands, speak, and ultimately, breathe. With Alzheimer’s, people are slowly robbed of their ability to find words, remain oriented, practice their professions, and recognize their loved ones.

Still Alice is a powerful, but restrained look at one woman who is trying to hold onto her identity and her place in the world, knowing that each week she will be able to do something less well, but not knowing what the next loss will be. Richard Glatzer’s keen understanding of this terror and his determination to live a full life notwithstanding, help make this a film that will inform and inspire.

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Eight over Eighty, Celebrates Elders and Raises Funds for Green House homes in Manhattan

Green House adopter, Jewish Home Lifecare, raises funds for person-directed care as it celebrates 8 remarkable elders who are over the age of 80

The annual benefit gala hosted by New York City’s Jewish Home Lifecare, a 167-year-old elder care provider, is most definitely not the same old, same old. It is, in fact, an event unlike any other.

Pat Jacobs, longtime Jewish Home Lifecare board member and ‘Eight Over Eighty’ honoree.

Called “Eight Over Eighty” and slated to take place on Wednesday, March 11, at the Mandarin Oriental New York, the event will pay tribute to eight New Yorkers who, in their 80s and 90s, continue to live lives of remarkable achievement, vitality and civic engagement.

The second annual “Eight Over Eighty” will honor author and photographer ARLENE ALDA, cabaret artist BARBARA CARROLL, actor JOEL GREY, graphic designer MILTON GLASER (of, among many other things, fame), volunteer extraordinaire PATRICIA (PAT) JACOBS, and business people and philanthropists CHARLES M. DIKER, IRWIN HOCHBERG, and RITA & FRED RICHMAN.
(The first event, in 2014, honored an equally impressive line-up of octogenarians and nonagenarians: actor DOMINIC “UNCLE JUNIOR SOPRANO” CHIANESE; gay rights trailblazer EDIE WINDSOR; power couple and developer of 1 World Trade Center KLARA & LARRY SILVERSTEIN,; DICK EISNER, founder of one of the country’s largest and most successful accounting firms; EMILY & EUGENE GRANT, philanthropist and real estate developer; and JOAN WACHTLER, a tireless champion of the aging.)

“This event reflects the changing times we live in – times that will see 30 percent of the U.S. population reach 80 or older by 2030,” says CEO Audrey Weiner. “It also goes right to the heart of what Jewish Home Lifecare is all about: celebrating the vitality of older adults, honoring their lives, and respecting their individuality.”

Jewish Home Lifecare is one of the nation’s largest and most diversified nonprofit geriatric care institutions. Each year it provides 12,000 elders with healthcare services and long-term living options suited to their individual needs. Those options include short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, semi- and fully-independent-living residences, and day programs on three campuses, in The Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester. Through its telemedicine program and its extensive home healthcare network, Jewish Home also enables thousands of New Yorkers to age in place.

The money raised by “Eight Over Eighty” will go to support Jewish Home’s person-directed approach to eldercare, an approach epitomized by the long-term care residence being developed for the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Called The Living Center of Manhattan and slated to break ground later this year, the 414-bed structure will be the first GREEN HOUSE® home in New York City and the first to be built in a major metropolitan, high-rise environment.

The Living Center will have 22 of the Green House model’s trademark small, nurturing households, each with 12 private bedrooms and baths clustered around a large, homey shared living and dining space. Dedicated staff will prepare meals and arrange activities, outings and special events according to residents’ wishes, and provide whatever assistance they need with dressing, dining and other daily tasks. Medical personnel will be centralized elsewhere in the building, providing ongoing monitoring and care as appropriate.

The result will be a long-term care environment that offers residents the privacy, dignity and autonomy every human being deserves as well as the comfort and support of a small, close-knit community. The residents, by living in a place reminiscent of the New York City homes in which they spent much, if not all, of their adulthood, will be able to stay connected to the lives they have lived and the familiar surroundings in which they have lived them.

Jewish Home Lifecare has already implemented the Green House philosophy to eldercare at its Westchester branch, known as the Sarah Neuman Center. There, 26 elders are comfortably and happily settled in two of what will be seven Green House model inspired homes known as Small Houses.  “The Green House model is the future not only of Jewish Home Lifecare, but of long-term care for all older adults,” says Weiner. “There is no other model that actively recognizes the personhood of the men and women we are privileged to care for and that enables them to take the lead in their own lives.”

Click on these links to learn more about Jewish Home Lifecare’s Living Center in Manhattan and Small Houses in Westchester, or contact Tammy Marshall, Director, Green House Project, at Jewish Home at TMarshall@jewishhome.org.

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Author Ai-jen Poo Recommends Green House Model in TIME Magazine

In the latest issue of TIME Magazine, author and director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) Ai-jen Poo, discusses the coming Elder boom and how older adults and their care partners deserve to live with dignity.  When asked what exactly is wrong with today’s nursing homes she replies, “There are great nursing homes. The Green House Project is a different kind of model. But those are, I think, more the exception than the rule.”

As Green House adopters across the country work every day to create caring homes for meaningful lives, we must work together to make this model the rule rather than the exception. How do we ensure that Green House homes are available in every community across America?  Quite simply we need to make the model an integrated extension of the community itself where Elders and their care partners enjoy a relationship based on the power of interdependence.

Ai-jen Poo, also the co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign, captures this sentiment within her new book, The Age of Dignity, when she makes the following call to action:

“We must take action now to plan for our grandparents’ futures as well as our own futures. When we really examine the scope and scale of the coming elder boom, we won’t have a choice but to make care a priority. Everyone will be touched by this change in the American demographic. We’re going to have to rethink everything- how we live, work, and play, and especially how we organize our family and community life: how we take care of each other across generations.”

Now is the time to come together to make profound and lasting change in the world of long-term services and supports.

Are you ready?

Visit our Support the Movement page today to learn how you can spread the word and take action leading up to this summer’s White House Conference on Aging in Washington, D.C.

 

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Innovative Roundtables and Conversation at 2015 Association of Jewish Aging Services Conference

Green House leaders, Susan Frazier and Scott Brown, joined innovative organizations from around the country in San Diego for the 2015 Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) conference.

This conference highlights the groundbreaking work of its membership and discusses the future of the field, while connecting its work to strong foundational values.  The Green House Project not only sponsored the event, but also led an innovation round table.

Innovation Roundtables felt a little bit like speed dating for elder care professionals, and provided the opportunity  to share 15 minutes of information with three different groups of interested people as they moved from table to table.  Our presentation focused on creating sustainable change in a disruptive era, which resonated with the membership.

The AJAS conference is always inspiring and energizing.  We are honored to participate!

 

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