Reflections on Memorial Day

By / Posted on May 25th, 2015

Memorial Day is a federal holiday for remembering those who died while serving in the armed forces in the United States.  We thought who better to offer their reflections on this special day than the veterans who live in Green House homes.  The below was written by Mr. Robert Foster and Mr. Randy Cook.  Supported by Mr. James Tucker and Mr. Delbert Foltz.  Freedom Green House Home, VA Iliana Healthcare System, Department Of Veteran Affairs, Danville IL.

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“Memorial Day…

Gives me the opportunity to reflect on the service and sacrifice of our American Armed Forces who made this wonderful country of ours what it is today, the greatest country on earth, The United State of America.

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Danville National Cemetary

Unfortunately, many of our brave Americans have given the ultimate sacrifice for us and this great nation. We must always remember the valorous efforts they put forth in making America the land of the free and the home of the brave.  This day also gives us the opportunity to remember our loved ones who served our nation. I remember both his father and brother who were both combat veterans and have since passed, but also how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to honorably serve my country.  Memorial Day is day that as I have gotten older understand the true purpose of this holiday and the meaning of remembering those who have sacrificed their lives for our countries freedoms; making me proud to be an American.”

To learn more about Green House Projects for Veterans click here.

 


Highlighting Shahbaz, Darlene Scott at Porter Hills Green House homes

By / Posted on May 13th, 2015

Empathy, compassion, honor and respect are just a few of the qualities required in those working with elders in THE GREEN HOUSE® homes. These qualities are extremely evident in Darlene Scott, a Shahbaz at the Porter Hills Green House homes in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

2Darlene has worked at Porter Hills since 1998 when she was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Health and Rehab Center. After a short period of time, she was promoted to Unit Clerk and continued to prove she had the personality and skills needed to build strong and trusting relationships with residents. This ability to connect with those she served opened the door to a position as an activity coordinator.

While in this new role, Darlene took advantage of many educational opportunities to develop and hone her skills. This included becoming a Certified Eden Associate1

When Porter Hills decided to build two Green House® homes, Darlene was encouraged to consider working as a Shahbaz. “When I was presented with the opportunity to be a part of Green House® homes I thought, this is it, this is living out everything I have been trained to do. I had retained my CNA license which meant I qualified, so I decided to pursue this role that embodied my passion for elders.”

Darlene has worked as a Shahbaz since September of 2009 and enjoys the person-centered approach and the strong relationships developed. She has seen first-hand the impact that this unique approach to skilled care has on elders in the home.

“We had an elder who moved in with late stage dementia. She was high acuity, didn’t walk or talk, and was total care. Her son brought her here and told us that the doctor had said she had 6 months to a year left to live. The son wanted his mom to have the best care possible and he knew that it would be through the Green House® homes at Porter Hills. His mother had already been receiving care but he wanted her to have the ‘best of the best’. She moved in and initially didn’t talk and needed to be coaxed to eat. One day, I was leading a time of discussion and questions and asked about favorite colors. As we were going around the room hearing each elders’ answer, she raised her head and said, ‘my favorite color is yellow’. After that day she began to feed herself again and communicate. To me that signified living because with a lot of elderly people, eating is the last thing they have control of. Not eating can be their way of saying ‘I’m done’. For her to show that she was going to feed herself and was going to live again was a defining moment for me. I realized in that moment, that the concept of the Green House homes was not just a theory. This works, this is where people want to come to continue living no matter what stage of life they are at.”

3Darlene’s primary role in the home is to protect, sustain, and nurture the elders living there by providing assistance with activities of daily living and meeting other needs as required. “We are given the time and atmosphere to develop relationships with the elders and their families. It’s a wonderful place to work. This is a great community and Porter Hills is a great organization. Having The Green House homes and supporting them as a business, Porter Hills shows that we are here for elders, we are here for the geriatric population, and we are here to provide them with the best services and the best life that they can live.”

The rewards are not only felt by the elders in the community. “When you walk out of the door, despite the ups and downs, you know that you have made a difference. These elders could be living anywhere and not getting the care and relationships that they have here. But, they are HERE and we can give them that. It’s very rewarding.”


A Special Milestone Celebrated for the First Skilled Nursing Green House Homes in Florida

By / Posted on May 12th, 2015

john knox tree threeAs many of you know celebrations and rituals hold a special place in the philosophy of the Green House model.  It’s important to take time to honor special goals that have been achieved.  John Knox Village did just that in late April when the community celebrated the tree topping ceremony.  It’s a tradition in the construction industry when a building’s structure has reached its maximum height.

Elders and Community leaders were all on hand when the Christmas Palm was placed atop their seven story building, called The Woodlands, which will include 12 Green House homes.john knox tree four_topping of tree

john knox tree top twoGuest speakers included City of Pompano Beach Mayor, Lamar Fisher who said “John Knox Village has become the leader in healthcare in Pompano Beach.  It is the largest healthcare provider and employer in the city.  The Woodlands will continue this leadership.  It will be the pinnacle of our cultural change.”  Mr. Fisher made those comments during an earlier groundbreaking event for the project.

The construction of the building is being led by The Weitz Company which has offices in South Florida.

IMG_0632The Woodlands is a $34-plus million project and is expected to open the middle of next year.  Each of the top six floors will have two Green House homes with a total of 144 private bedrooms and bathrooms for the Elders.

We congratulate all of those involved with the project and look forward to the grand opening of this very special development!


Nurses Organization of Veteran Affairs (NOVA)

By / Posted on May 8th, 2015

Gerontological Nurse, Green House Guide and RN Supervisor, Ann Wagle, from the VA Illiana Green House homes in Danville, IL will present a poster on “The Role of Nurses in the Green House home” during the NOVA 2015 Annual Meeting this June in Washington D.C. The poster will outline the impact of the Green House model on Veterans, families and staff. It will also describe actions that support and propel cultural transformation within long-term care in the VA system.

In her poster proposal Ann described how Green House homes are currently serving Veterans across the United States and future plans for the Danville campus:

“VA Illiana was the first VA in the nation to adopt the Green House model, although at least five additional VA sites have either opened Green House homes or are under design/construction, including VA’s in Chicago, Milwaukee, Tomah, Tuscaloosa, and Lexington. At VA Illiana, two more Green House homes are currently under construction, and an additional two homes are in the design phase, resulting in a total of 60 beds within the total of 100 long-term care beds at VA Illiana. One of these new Green House homes will include Veterans with short-stay skilled care needs.”

This presentation will be an excellent compliment to the recent THRIVE research results on the role of the nurse in Green House homes that The Green House Project has been sharing with our Peer Network of adopters.

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CARE: Dedicated to Improving How We Age

By / Posted on May 7th, 2015

The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing created the Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE) in response to the rapidly expanding care needs of our aging population. The center works toward transformation by using “…nursing leadership, discovery, education, and practice…” to support happiness, health and security for all older adults.

In a recent online post by the CARE team entitled, “What Makes a Green House Home? How You Decide Matters,” the author considers the persistence and commitment necessary to take the philosophical tenets of culture change and put them into practice.

The post describes how UW-Madison School of Nursing Associate Dean Barb Bowers, PhD, RN, FAAN and research manager Kim Nolet, MS have conducted research that analyzes the “lived experience” that the Green House model now has after more than 10 years as the pinnacle of culture change.

“By interviewing 166 staff members at 11 Green House homes, Bowers and Nolet identified patterns of problem solving as important to the erosion or reinforcement of the Green House model over time.”

The researchers found that along with the architecture of the Green House home, it is collaboration across the organization and between nurses and Shahbazim that allows the significant benefits of this model to be realized.

Both Bowers and Nolet are a part of The Research Initiative Valuing Eldercare (THRIVE). Interested in learning more about the THRIVE initiative? Take a look at this recent blog post which discusses the importance of the soon to be published THRIVE research results.

 

 

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CLARK-LINDSEY VILLAGE REDEFINES WELLNESS FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA

By / Posted on May 5th, 2015

Committed to radically changing the delivery of nursing care for people living with dementia

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Arlington, Virginia (May 5, 2015) — Clark-Lindsey Village, a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community located in Urbana, Illinois, will be working with The Green House Project, a not-for-profit that is part of Capital Impact’s Community Solutions Group, to develop the first Green House homes in the state not located on federal land. Clark-Lindsey plans to open two certified Green House homes in 2016.

Committed to promoting wellness on their campus, the Clark-Lindsey board made a decision to ensure that their mission extended to all residents, including those living with dementia, “We want to be a place for residents, family members, employees, and the community to grow, socially, intellectually, physically and spiritually. Pursuing The Green House core values of meaningful life, real home and empowered staff will deepen our efforts,” says Kristy Stoker, Green House guide. The new Green House homes will house up to 12 elders and have been designed from the bottom up to look and feel like a real home.

Research shows that a Green House home’s intimate layout, combined with its innovative staffing, provides four times more personal and social contact than typical nursing homes. In an effort to create culture change across the campus, Clark-Lindsey will work with The Green House Project to bring Green House principles into their legacy nursing home as well.

“Clark-Lindsey Village is helping to change the face of long-term care. Our choice to partner with The Green House Project came from the knowledge that they would help support us in our small home journey and, when needed, to help challenge us to re-think our traditional practices within our existing campus. We have appreciated the support they have provided as we work towards aligning our existing culture of excellence with the Green House values,” said Deb Reardanz, CEO, “In addition to the impact that Green House is already having on our campus, it’s also a great privilege to be a leader in the state of Illinois. We are excited to be part of the team that will help clear the regulatory challenges that sometimes make it difficult to move beyond the traditional institutional approach for providing skilled nursing care.”

Clark-Lindsey Village is part of a larger effort nationwide to dramatically improve the way aging Americans receive long-term care. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Capital Impact Partners, The Green House Project has developed 173 homes in 27 states to date.

“Regardless of ability, every aging American should have the opportunity to receive high-quality care with dignity,” said Scott Brown, Director of Outreach for The Green House Project. “By choosing The Green House model, Clark-Lindsey Village is affirming their mission to provide elders with the greatest needs new options to help them lead robust and meaningful lives,” continued Brown. “We look forward to partnering with their organization, and expanding access to new and meaningful care options for people living with dementia”

About The Green House Project
Based in Arlington, Virginia, The Green House Project promotes an alternative to the traditional, institutional skilled nursing, replacing it with an innovative new model that balances quality of life with quality of care. In the Green House model, large nursing facilities are replaced with small, self-contained homes that include private bedrooms and baths, home-cooked meals and access to the outdoors, while meeting all skilled nursing regulatory and reimbursement criteria. Incorporating the core values of meaningful life, real home and empowered staff, The Green House model creates a higher quality of life, improved medical outcomes, and greater caregiver satisfaction. There are currently more than 170 Green House homes in 27 states. The Green House Project is an initiative within Capital Impact Partners’ Community Solutions Group, and received initial funding through grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To learn more, visit our website at www.thegreenhouseproject.org

About Clark Lindsey Village: Clark-Lindsey, East Central Illinois’ premier retirement community, is situated on 28 acres bordering Urbana’s Meadowbrook Park. Clark-Lindsey is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community located on the edge of the beautiful University of Illinois campus. For more than 30 years, they have provided residents with exceptional service that has earned them an outstanding reputation throughout the state. As the only Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Champaign County. On one campus you can find independent living in The Villas and The Village apartments, and you can find Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing Care and Renewal Therapy Center within Meadowbrook Health Center. There are 16 villas and 132 Village apartments, 17 assisted living rooms, 58 long term skilled care beds, and 25 short-term rehab beds.

About The Green House Project: The Green House Project is a radically new, national model for skilled-nursing care that returns control, dignity and a sense of well-being to elders, their families and direct care staff. In the Green House model, residents receive care in small, self-contained homes organized to deliver individualized care, meaningful relationships and better direct care jobs through a self-managed team of direct care staff working in cross-trained roles. Green House homes meet all state and federal regulatory and reimbursement criteria for skilled-nursing facilities. http://thegreenhouseproject.org/
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Contacts:
Rachel Scher McLean, The Green House Project, 703-647-2345, rmclean@capitalimpact.org
Kristy Stoker, Clark Lindsey Village, 217-344-2144 , kstoker@clark-lindsey.com


Bill Thomas, Aging is “Life’s Most Dangerous Game”

By / Posted on April 28th, 2015

IMG_0076In his Age of Disruption Tour, Dr. Bill Thomas promises a wide ranging discussion about society’s perspective on aging and what he calls, “life’s most dangerous game.” Nearly 300 people turned out to beautiful Nelson Hall at Elim Park Baptist Home in Cheshire, Connecticut to hear Dr. Thomas, joined by musician Nate Richardson.

As people entered, they were greeted by the sound of drumming and a blackboard with where people completed the phrase “as I age I dare to….” Everyone was encouraged inscribe their “dare” on their own personal shaker, and to contribute their own rhythm to the drumming.
Combining music, story-telling and multi-media, the performance seeks to debunk our pre-occupation and romance with the perfection of youth. As Dr. Thomas, demonstrates with a teenage picture of himself, braces and all, the reality is often not quite as rosy as the ideal. The romantic notion of youth is perpetuated with an anti-aging fantasy, which can be seen in the myriad products and services that claim to reverse the effects of aging.

Dr. Thomas proposes an alternative. Age takes things away, but it also offers new gifts. While today’s society emphasizes the losses, we can choose to see aging rather as the transcendence of youth. As we age what we’re good at changes, and we move beyond the cares and priorities that consumed us when we were younger.

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The key for a successful older life is to be able to discover “re-imagination”. Youth is about imagination and possibilities. Then people surrender their many dreams, and narrow their focus. They trade possibility for competence. As they become defined by their competence, they are afraid to try new things because, they’re afraid of looking foolish. In order to age well, we must let go of this fear, and regain some of those dreams, or find new ones.

Re-imagination is about creating opportunities to learn and grow. It’s about giving up competence for possibility. Take risks, because you never know what you might find. And taking these risks is life’s most dangerous game.


Better Together: Caring Across Generations Campaign

By / Posted on April 24th, 2015

“By 2030, twenty percent of our population will be over the age of 65. And by 2050, there will be 27 million people in this country who will need assistance with everyday living. As a nation, we cannot afford to not have a plan for this.”

This is how Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), challenged the audience to consider the reality of our Elder Boom during her Age of Dignity book talk last week at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C.

According to Ai-jen, one plan that will provide stability and protection for the most vulnerable among us is the creation of a national care grid to increase creative solutions and choices for those in need of long-term care. Some examples of innovative organizations that will make up the fabric of this grid are Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), Villages and Green House homes.

As co-director of Caring Across Generations , Ai-jen encouraged the audience to recognize the importance of building a national movement to improve care.  She explained that we must protect what we have built so far and work together to create what we will need in the future.

Are you interested in joining this movement to transform care? Visit our Support the Movement page today and learn how to take action by becoming a part of the Caring Across Generations campaign.

 


The Atlantic proclaims, “A Better Nursing Home Exists…”

By / Posted on April 24th, 2015

Steve, demonstrating the technology, that gives him independence

“Living in a Green House is the only reason I continue to live a vital and productive life,” Steve Saling, recently told The Atlantic, “It doesn’t matter if you are an elder or disabled, people want to live with dignity and respect, make their own decisions and direct their own care.”

In her in-depth article, Alana Samuels explores the history of Leonard Florence Center for Living and The Green House Project. She describes the challenges and triumphs that come from shifting the paradigm of long term care, and unlocking the human spirit. “This is not a nursing home with residential trappings,” Saling emphasizes, “It is my home that happens to provide skilled nursing services.”

Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Foundation

Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Foundation, has found success operating Green House homes, saying that there are efficiencies that make Green Houses, in some ways, less expensive to run. Still, it is not the bottom line that is driving Mr. Berman’s desire to transform the nursing home, but rather the human component, “The whole purpose of doing the renovations is to make the nursing home into a place that people want to spend time, rather than a place that mostly focuses on meeting regulations and controlling costs.”

To read more about how The Chelsea Jewish Foundation is transforming nursing home care across their organization, read the full The Atlantic article>>

Nurse and elder interacting in a Green House home


“Homes on The Range”, Inspiring Documentary of Green House homes in Sheridan, WY

By / Posted on April 23rd, 2015

Homes on the Range, a documentary from producer and director, Dale Bell, captures the amazing 10-year journey, of the citizens of Sheridan, Wyoming, who built the first grassroots Green House homes in the country.  This film chronicles their struggles, successes and ultimately the triumphant opening of their Green House homes, which change the way elders live in their community.

There are many ways to view this documentary. The film will be shown on PBS stations around the country, and DVDs are available for purchase.  Broadcasts will begin in May, which is Older American’s month.  All information about Homes on The Range can be found at: http://mediapolicycenter.org/

 

To see a full list of current airdates and times>>

Homes on the Range “The New Pioneers” TEASE from Media Policy Center on Vimeo.


Film Debuted at Tribeca Filmfest Raises Awareness of ALS

By / Posted on April 20th, 2015

The Green House homes in Chelsea, MA are groundbreaking for many reasons, including having the first residence where people living with ALS can continue to live full and meaningful lives, while getting the care that they need.  These homes have incredible technology that enables the residents to control their environment and communicate with the use of high-tech computers.  Patrick O’Brian is a film producer and DeeJay who is living with ALS and his film was recently screened at the Tribeca Filmfest.  

Leonard Florence Center’s very own Patrick O’Brien debuted his award-winning documentary film, TransFatty Lives, at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival on April 16 in New York City. The world premiere was attended by renowned film producers, actors, celebrities, politicians and VIP’s.  In addition to Patrick, Chelsea Jewish Foundation’s “celebrities” were also on hand for the festivities including, CEO, Barry Berman and famed resident and designer of The Green House home for people living with ALS, Steve Saling.  Without a doubt, it was a day to cherish.

 

patrick_NYCThis extraordinary film focuses upon living with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.) Patrick hopes the film will reach as many people as possible to help increase awareness and mobilization against ALS.

“I was officially diagnosed with ALS when I was 30 years old,” said Patrick O’Brien. “It is a fatal and incurable disease. I have chosen to do something with my illness.  As you will see, I turned the cameras on myself and began to document my journey with ALS on 35mm motion picture film. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”

Ten years in the making, TransFatty Lives explores what it means to live, what it means to die and what is important in life. Containing no talking heads or lengthy interviews, the film relies instead on a distinct visual style all its own.

 

Two days before the festival, Patrick received a congratulatory letter from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In the letter, The Governor cited Patrick’s incredible passion, talent, bravery and optimistic outlook. As he put it, “The screening of your film will serve as an inspiration to people worldwide who are fighting their own battles, while raising awareness for ALS.”

 

 


Poetry by an Elder: Green House homes bring hope

By / Posted on April 14th, 2015

 Helen M Rausch is a member of a creative writing group at The New Jewish Home, Manhattan division. In this poem, she expresses her feelings of hope for The 22 Green House homes that are being built by the organization.  

Marooned

on a desert island
with only a tree and
a book
for company–
a fairy godmother
happened by–
“I’ve helped you all your
life”, said she
“What magic can I perform
now, as you lean
against this tree, isolated,
with only a book
to entertain you?” “Water,
water,” I cried, “preferably
with ice!
and a slice of lemon, please,
to titillate my taste buds!”
“You’re granted THREE wishes,”
she explained . . .
“You’re down to one!–
What will it be?” (Don’t forget–
there’s only me, the deep blue
sea . . . and the single tree!)
“What will your third wish be?”
“A room of my own”, I said loudly,
“with space for books, and a
window view (a terrace, too?)”
Stymied, but only temporarily,
she granted my wishes three,
but said, “The third will have to wait
for the Green House building
on 97th Street”*

*I could, by way of a third, have
asked for unlimited wishes, but
we all know reality . . .

-Helen M. Rausch
April 2015, Creative Writing Group

helenAt age 85, Helen is devoting more time than ever before to poetry. Although she was a Creative Writing major at Queens College, Flushing, New York (close to where she grew up), she only began to pursue her “true calling” (writing poetry) in her mid-fifties. She is also developing another important interest, painting with acrylics, at The New Jewish Home, Manhattan Division. The Home is actively seeking to incorporate new approaches based on the Green House model into its practices.

She earned a doctorate at Columbia’s Teachers College, and pursued a varied career in early childhood education and teacher education. She has enjoyed travel over the years, and spent five wonderful retirement years working at Yellowstone Park. She is currently president of the Resident Council at the Home, and has been very active in the development of the residents’ newsletter.