New GREEN HOUSE® project in full swing at Saint Elizabeth Home

By / Posted on October 27th, 2016

Saint Elizabeth Community in Greenwich, RI broke a 20 year moratorium on new nursing home beds with their development of 4 Green House homes that will provide both long term care and short term rehabilitation. Learn more about their project and progress in this news report.

A Memorable Welcoming Ritual Creates Warm Feelings for Elders and Staff

By / Posted on September 21st, 2016


Jemi Mansfield is the Guide for The Green House homes at Cedar Sinai Park, and the Director of Spiritual Life for the organization. Cedar Sinai Park opened their first Green House home in July 2016, and the self managed work team created a beautiful welcoming ritual to make sure that the elders felt special and loved as they moved into their new home.  The below story is an account of what can happen when a team is empowered to make decisions that bring value to their role, their home and those whose lives they touch.  

Right from the start, the self managed work team (called shahbazim) in our Green House home knew they wanted to have a small gift waiting in the bedrooms as the elders moved in – something special and personalized to really make it feel like home. Jane, a shahbaz,  recalled that when she and her husband went away for their 40th anniversary the hotel surprised them not only with champagne and

The Infamous Dollar Tree shopping trip

chocolates in their room but also a banner hanging in the lobby. “It was unexpected and so touching,” she said. That and similar experiences shared by others laid the foundation for a gift bag filled with goodies awaiting residents. A list of personal care items was compiled: shampoo, lotion, toothbrush and paste, shaving gear for the gents, etc. – and the Shahbazim took off on an impromptu shopping trip to Dollar Tree, which was a highlight for Carol during the practicum weeks. “I liked that we worked together to plan the list and then shop,” she said. “Nothing went into the basket that we didn’t all agree upon – a real team effort.” They also bought welcome cards, which were personalized for each resident and signed by the entire team. On July 25th, move-in day, each gift bag was festooned with a cheery balloon and placed in a prominent spot alongside an African Violet plant for each resident: a reminder of the roots of the Eden Alternative to bring living things into each home.

Everyone knew that the goodie bags were going to be a hit, but the star of the welcome gifts is really the blanket. Jane had hit upon the idea during a brainstorming session – that each resident should be given something uniquely theirs to keep and enjoy in the house. She suggested a crocheted lap blanket, made by volunteers. The group jumped on the notion immediately but acknowledged that, at less than two weeks to opening, they faced a lack of time to pull together a project of this size. Nicole, a member of the self managed team,  mentioned that her son, who has autism and touch sensitivity, has a favorite type of blanket that she buys at Costco. “It’s beyond soft,” she explained. “It offers him comfort and warmth, and that’s what we want our residents to experience.” She brought in a sample the next day, and the group of Shahbazim were sold: it truly was the softest blanket in the world.

Edith with her personalized blanket The finishing touch was to personalize the gift. Each resident’s blanket was embroidered with his or her first name and the date of move in: July 25, 2016. The blankets were presented to the elders by the Shahbazim at the first dinner, as they enjoyed “convivium” (good food with good company) around the big table where meals are served together. Tony, a shahbaz,  created a lively atmosphere as he led all in a boisterous round of the “Name Game”, welcoming each elder to their new home.

lively atmosphere at the dinner tableAs new residents eventually move in, they will receive their own blanket, emblazoned with their name and move-in date to denote their place in the household. As Alisa, another shahbaz, pointed out, “This is a fresh start for our residents. A new setting, a new chapter, a new home. It’s right that they should start this chapter with something new and truly theirs.”

In the days that followed, we received a sweet note from Maureen, whose sister is among the first residents (the Alpha House Twelve, we lovingly call them). The note reads, “To all you dear people who gave Pam such a wonderful welcome to her new home. Last Monday, July 25, was a red letter day which we will always remember when we look at her beautiful new blanket and all the lovely bag of presents, card, balloon and flowers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for Pam. You are truly wonderful!”

Learn more about Cedar Sinai Park>>


Indiana Celebrates the Grand Opening of the Green House Cottages in Carmel!

By / Posted on September 10th, 2016

While Elders have been enjoying living the Green House Cottages of Carmel for several months—the official Grand Opening ceremonies took place on August 25th img_2361

In May the first Elders in Indiana moved into the Green House homes…three are now open and when all six cottages are complete they will be home to 72 Elders.

The cottages are dedicated to care in three different areas: long-term, memory care and short term rehabilitation.  We welcome our new members to the Green House family of adopters and wish them much success!







Naming Ceremony Carries Special Meaning for Missouri Green House homes

By / Posted on August 19th, 2016

cottages_logo_finalOur family strives to to do meaningful things together and our decision to open Missouri’s first Green House homes, Cottages of Lake St Louis, has been the ultimate endeavor in camaraderie.  These six, skilled nursing homes of 10 elders each, will be built on a beautiful site in suburban St Louis.  When it came to naming the cottages, my husband, Al, and I hit upon an idea that we feel, really speaks to the ideals that we are trying to provide for our elders and our family.

We believe that it is important to build relationships across the generations, and to value the gifts within each of us.  In this spirit, we chose to name each cottage after one of our five grandchildren and the 6th cottage to honor the late mother of our Director of Development, and long time team member.  I brought paint samples to them and had each choose their favorite color and had signage made up for the cottage porches proclaiming the names.DSC_0229                                                                                                                             At the groundbreaking ceremony in July, we surprised the grandchildren as we unveiled the cottage names.  They were thrilled, and to further include them, we will paint the front door of “their” cottage using the color that they chose!  We expect them to be involved regularly in the activity of their cottage and will be well known to their elders and families.

Cottages of Lake St Louis is a place for OUR family and for ELDERS.  We are so proud to have been able to move forward on such a wonderful project with:

  • Ava’s Cottage
  • Ella’s Cottage
  • Grace’s Cottage
  • Harper’s Cottage
  • Kris’s Cottage
  • Betty’s Cottage

The Green House Project Reaches Important Milestone

By / Posted on August 9th, 2016


Over 200 Green House Homes Now Open in 30 States 

BALTIMORE, MD (August 9, 2016)– THE GREEN HOUSE® PROJECT has spent over a decade creating a new vision for the future of elder care. In June, the organization reported an important milestone: more than 200 Green House homes are being operated by leading organizations in 30 states.

Upon reaching this new milestone, Green House Senior Director, Susan Ryan says, “It is beyond exciting to see this initiative gaining momentum.  It took us 10 years to reach the first 100 homes, and only five years to add the next 100.  As our numbers continue to grow, it means that more people are able to live full and meaningful lives.  Both the elders who live in Green House homes and those who work there, benefit from the elements of the model that returns value and autonomy to those who it matters to most.“

Exterior of new JKV with 12 homes May 26 2016John Knox Village, a lifecare community in Pompano Beach, Fl represents the 200th Green House home to open.  In May 2016, they opened 12 Green House homes.  Says CEO, Gerry Stryker, of the momentous occasion, “Being the 200th Green House home is incredibly emotional and fulfilling for John Knox Village.  We recognize that we are a part of a rapidly growing national movement to change the face of care and rehabilitation.  Our elders deserve this.”

kitchen_cedar sinaiCedar Sinai Park, in Portland, OR, opened the first of four Green House homes in July, representing the thirtieth state to include this lifestyle model.  Sandra Simon, CEO said, “This is the future of aging services, and we are proud to create the first Green House home in Oregon.”

Research  finds that comprehensive adoption of the model has the potential to impact re-hospitalization rates, end of life care, and the quality of decisions made in the homes.  A strong evidence base makes this model an appealing option to consumers, policymakers and long-term care providers and increases potential for scaling.

The Green House concept has already spread nationwide, with Green House projects operating or in development in 34 states.  The organization’s goal is to increase the pace of growth, and have at least 300 homes open by 2020.

About The Green House Project

Based in Baltimore, MD, The Green House Project promotes an alternative to the traditional institutional skilled nursing, replacing it with an innovative new model of care 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 200 Green House homes in 30 states.  The Green House Project is an initiative within the newly formed Center for Innovation. Visit our website at

The Woodlands at John Knox Village, Resident Initiated Green House homes

By / Posted on July 26th, 2016

john knox exterior construction

Construction of The Woodlands at John Knox Village

The Woodlands at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, Florida is the first Green House project to be initiated by the residents themselves. My wife, Twylah and I, live at John Knox Village and were instrumental in bringing this model to our community. When the organization began discussing plans to build a new nursing home, the residents had a simple request; we wanted private rooms with private baths. However, as we researched more, we discovered The Green House model, and realized that privacy was only the beginning.

john knox tree three

John Knox Residents

Twylah immediately got excited about the concept. I was not as convinced. I questioned if the program was financially wise, and if our village could afford it. I had doubts as to the quality and efficiency of preparing meals in each home, and how worthwhile it would be for us to pay outside Green House “experts” who might dictate plans and organizational structures not appropriate for John Knox Village.

In 2011, I suggested that Twylah and I visit some existing Green House homes. I felt it unfair for me to reject the concept in ignorance, so we arranged our summer vacation to include requests to visit Green House homes across the country.

Our trip’s first visit was to Buckner Westminster Place, in Longview, Texas. I remember when we entered the home, thinking, “Wow, this doesn’t look like a nursing facility at all!” Visiting with their leadership and hearing of their success began to alter some of my concerns.

The Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place, Magnolia AR

The Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place, Magnolia AR

Continuing our trip, we drove to Magnolia, Arkansas, where we were welcomed at The Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place. Twylah’s enthusiasm grew, and after conversations with leadership and administration, I began to consider “why would we want to re-invent the wheel, this seems to be a proven model.”

Both of us were impressed by the testimonials of Shahbazim (versatile workers who serve as care staff) and Guides, who raved about the quality of care they were able to provide in this new model, “I never would want to work in a traditional style again” seemed to be a recurring theme.

By our fourth visit to The Green House Homes at Traceway in Tupelo, Mississippi, I found my concerns regarding the cost, the food, and the organization had been resolved. The value of working with The Green House Project was clear and we were certain that we could trust them to guide through this transformation.

All of our research paid off. We could adopt the proven elements and core values of The Green House model and still create homes that would reflect the culture of Florida and John Knox Village. John Knox leadership agreed and decided to become a trademarked Green House organization. In every way, we has benefited from working with The Green House Project on this quest. Their training and guidance is unsurpassed. After much hard work, the organization opened 12 Green House homes of 12 elders each, in a seven story building on May 26th, 2016.

john knox ribbon cutting

Ribbon Cutting for The Woodlands at John Knox Village

As the first Green House nursing home in Florida, we hope that we are establishing a trend in the state toward person-centered care. How grateful we are to live at John Knox Village, an organization that really listens to its residents, and ensures that, as our needs change, we will receive top notch care in a wonderful home.

To learn more about The Woodlands at John Knox Village, we invite you to visit the web at

Cedar Sinai Park Makes Oregon the 30th State to Open Green House homes

By / Posted on July 22nd, 2016

Sandra Simon, CEO

Sandra Simon, CEO, Cedar Sinai Park

Oregon became the 30th state to open Green House homes as Cedar Sinai Park celebrated the grand opening of their first long term care homes.  “The Green House project creates an environment that doesn’t just feel like home – it IS

their home,” says Cedar Sinai Park, CEO, Sandra Simon. “It is built on the premise that each resident should be able to make the decisions that shape how they live each precious day. The Green House model is a natural progression of our philosophy at Cedar Sinai Park to treat everybody with love, honor and respect. This is the future of aging services, and we are proud to create the first Green House home in Oregon.”

The Green House Project has spent over a decade creating its new vision for the future of elder care and research shows, they have potential to deliver better outcomes than

kitchen_cedar sinai

Kitchen in Green House home

traditional nursing homes.

Simon continues, “Green House homes combine the best of a real home setting with skilled care, giving elders the freedom to live life on their terms rather than conform to the rhythms of the institution.” The model is built on core values that include:


  • Meaningful life focused on personal choices,
  • Consistent, compassionate, highly trained and empowered staff
  • Advanced, research driven medical services in a real

Senior Director, Susan Ryan commended the organization,  “It says something when a community can be a part of a radical transformation like The Green House model.  It says, that we are progressive, and we are creating an age friendly society.”

To learn more about Cedar Sinai Park, visit their website: 


Maggie Calkins, Long Time Friend of The Green House Project, Named Executive Director of Mayer-Rothchild Foundation

By / Posted on July 18th, 2016

The Green House Project would like to congratulate long time friend and collaborator, Maggie Calkins, on her recent appointment as Executive Director of the Mayer-Rothchild Foundation. Calkins has contributed greatly to the field of culture change in long term care, and brings more than 25 years of experience as a researcher, consultant, and educator to the foundation.

Maggie CalkinsOriginally established under the will of Hulda B. Rothschild as The Hulda B. & Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation, it was led by Dr. Rob Mayer for 35 years. The name was changed to honor Rob after his death last year, “We will continue to follow Rob’s inspiring approach and work to build networks of communities and organizations to collaborate in both creating incentives and identifying pragmatic solutions to the challenging issues that face our elders today, so that the elders of tomorrow will be able to live deep and meaningful lives” Calkins says.

For the past five years, the foundation has focused on codes, guidelines, regulations, and funding research that needed to be done in order to create better lives for elders and those working closest to them. The Green House Project’s pursuit of real home was furthered by their advocacy with CMS to update fire safety codes and allow for a more residential environment. We are grateful to the work of this foundation, and Maggie’s leadership to further person-centered practices.

Living the Good Life: Sharla Lee

By / Posted on July 13th, 2016



“Living the good life” is a blog series celebrating the lives of people living with dementia in Green House homes.  In Green House homes across the country, elders are creative, resourceful and whole people who have a valuable story to share.


Sharla Lee lived a colorful life as a performer, gracing many stages and breaking many hearts. Legend has it that she was even asked out on a date by baseball superstar, Joe DiMaggio. When cognitive impairment made it unsafe for her tshahbaz and elder standing and embracingo live on her own, this talented pianist may have faded away, but thanks to Baptist Retirement Community Green House homes in San Angelo, Texas, her star continued to shine bright.

Always the professional, Sharla would wake up at 5:00a every morning in her Green House home in order to practice the piano. She loved to play for the elders during the evening meal, choosing to eat later, after her performance. In Green House homes, the day is centered around the individual elders’ natural rhythms and preferences. The small size enableelder woman and child at pianos the home to run smoothly based on deep knowing relationships rather than task oriented schedules. As a musician, Sharla’s preferred schedule was different than that of others living in The Green House home, and by honoring that, her personhood remained intact despite dementia.
exercises_setting table

Sharla brought joy to others in The Green House home, through her music, and also by being an engaged member of the household. She was made an “honorary shahbaz”, the name given to direct care staff in Green House homes, because she was always willing to help by rolling napkins, setting the table and befriending the other elders in the home. Reciprocity, the ability to receive and also give care, is a key element of Green House homes. As humans, we need to feel a sense of purpose. It may seem like a simple thing, but the value of sharing your gifts with others is something that can’t be overstated.elder man and woman eating on terrace 2

elder woman reading curled in chairMae West once said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Sharla Lee dazzled audiences in San Francisco supper clubs, on cruise ships and thankfully, in her Green House home as well. By knowing Sharla’s story, and creating opportunities for her to shine, her Green House family made sure that Sharla lived “the good life”.


Groundbreaking is Celebrated for Cottages of Lake St. Louis in Missouri

By / Posted on July 7th, 2016


July 6, 2016

For immediate release:

A groundbreaking ceremony was held today in Lake St. Louis, Mo for Cottages of Lake St. Louis!  State Rep. Justin Hill, Karen Vennard, Lake St. Louis Board of Alderman President, several Lake St. Louis Aldermen, and values business partners joined the festivities and ceremonial shoveling of dirt. DSC_0219

The ownership team of locally owned and operated Cottages of Lake St. Louis includes Focused Senior Communities, led by Al Beamer, IronRock Real Estate, led by Tom Hillman, Dr. Joseph Gira, and Barth Holohan.  Cottages of Lake St. Louis is financed through St. Louis Bank, built by GS & S General Contractors, designed by The Lawrence Group, engineered by Horner & Shifrin, with interior design by Invacare Interior Design.

Cottages of Lake St. Louis will be the first Green House homes in Missouri.  It is a whole new approach to Short Term Rehabilitation and innovative Skilled Nursing.  We are Skilled Nursing, differently.  Cottages of Lake St Louis will be built to resemble a traditional residential neighborhood.  A home away from home.

DSC_0215THE GREEN HOUSE® PROJECT in in 30 states and has spent over a decade creating a new vision for the future of elder care. The Green House model delivers better health and satisfaction outcomes than traditional nursing homes. And by creating a real home environment and providing elders with dignity, autonomy and choice, Green House homes provide people with the best quality of life possible.  The Green House model delivers high quality care. Close relationships with elders means that health issues are identified and treated earlier. And the calm, familiar, real home atmosphere in Green House homes improves the well-being and functioning of elders with dementia.

Our Values include:

  • Meaningful life focused on personal choices,
  • Consistent, compassionate, highly trained and empowered staff
  • Advanced, research driven medical services in a real home.

Construction has begun on a 5.2-acre site at 2885 Technology Drive, the southeast corner of Technology Drive and Feise Commercial Drive in Lake St Louis (near the Hwy. 364/I-64 interchange). The Cottages are 6 comfortable homes, each with a dining room, cozy family room with fireplace, den, spa and an open kitchen surrounded by 10 private bedrooms with private bathrooms. Each Cottage has a large landscaped patio with lush gardens and walking paths around the community.  State of the art therapy, nursing and activities services are an integral part of our total wellness plan. DSC_0198

This Green House Model for those needing skilled nursing for rehabilitation or skilled long-term care is new to the area, but has an amazing positive and proven reputation based on a decade of research. You can learn more at  In our homes the schedule of each Elder is decided by the Elder, not a calendar on the wall, beginning with natural awakening each morning. Our goal is to facilitate the Elders’ independence and ability to pursue their interests. Elders in each home share meals at their common table where family members are also encouraged to join.  Staffing ratios are among the best in the area, allowing for greater interaction and deeper relationships between Elders and caregivers.  This model gives Elders the ability to be a part of life in the home, planning, suggesting and/or engaging in activities and meals, or, sitting and chatting with the staff while they prepare the meal in the home.  It’s natural.  It’s common sense, and it works.  Our goal is to see every Elder live each day to the fullest.

Join us in the excitement by visiting our website or following us on Facebook!  Grand Opening is expected to be mid-January 2017.

Media inquiries can contact Christie Tutschulte, VP Care Management at (314) 960-1285 or email

About Focused Senior Communities: The leadership team at FSC believes Skilled Care needs to change.  Old “nursing home” standards don’t meet our needs anymore.  FSC owns, operates and consults in the Senior Housing Industry.  Our experienced team has a wealth of knowledge in Senior housing and development.  We are excited and honored to bring the Green House Model of Skilled Nursing to Lake St. Louis in January 2017.

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 and meaningful relationships between residents and care staff.

Living the Good Life: Dr. Lemuel Rogers

By / Posted on July 5th, 2016



“Living the good life” is a blog series celebrating the lives of people living with dementia in Green House homes.  In Green House homes across the country, elders are creative, resourceful and whole people who have a valuable story to share.

Dr. Lemuel Rogers

“Without connections to the world that nurtures our human spirit, we hasten decline” -Susan Ryan, Senior Director, The Green House Project
dr r portraitOur lives are a rich tapestry of interests and experiences, woven together across time.  Sharing and celebrating our unique stories ensures that our personhood is preserved, even as our needs change.  Dr. Lemuel Rogers, was the epitome of dignity; a dapper, intelligent man with a great smile and beautiful singing voice.  He was well known in the community as a respected doctor, and leader of his church.  Meaningful life is a core value of The Green House model.  The means that a person must be deeply known, and have the power to maintain their identity through connections and engagement.

For Dr. Rogers, that meant being respected and acknowledged for the expertise and reputation that took a lifetime to build.  In the home, he preferred to be called “Doctor”, and frequently perused medical journals with former St. John’s medical director, Al Power.  Staying connected to the community that he loved, shahbazim (care staff) supported Dr. Rogers to attend the annual African-American Health Symposium, a church event dr r fraternitydedicated to him and his wife, Gloria.  Being honored for one’s gifts is essential to living the good life.

Work hard, play hard.  Dr. Rogers was also an active member in his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. His fraternity brothers were frequent visitors at The Green House homes, bringing joy and beautiful music. Dr Roger’s loved to sing and was able to share his talents with others in his home.  See the below video of Dr. Rogers singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”.


Often, those living with dementia become known solely by their diagnosis.  The beautiful tapestry gets lost amidst the behaviors and medications. In a Green House home, however, the value is placed on WHO that person is, and WHAT will support them in living the good life.  Dr. Rogers was serious, but had a great sense of humor.  dr. r group shotYou really felt like you’d done something special when you made him laugh. When children would come to visit, he would shake their hands very formally when he met them and they loved it. His dementia was pretty advanced by the time he moved to The Green House home, but when a doctor talked with him, or his church or fraternity visited, he always sat up a little straighter, shone a little brighter, and rose to the occasion in conversation. The man just…exuded dignity.


Chief Experience Officer, New Position Created to Support Person-Directed Care

By / Posted on June 29th, 2016

The Green House model is a radical transformation of traditional long term care.  As a national initiative, Green House adopters are continuously innovating, taking this already proven model to new heights.  The New Jewish Home (formerly, Jewish Home Lifecare), has named veteran eldercare executive Tammy L. Marshall its first Chief Experience Officer, to support a deep and sustained culture change. Ms. Marshall was previously the organization’s Director of Green House Education.

tammy_marshall_headshot2016_preferredIn this newly created position, Ms. Marshall is responsible for leading efforts to create the best possible experience for everyone whom the organization touches.  Ms. Marshall’s chief responsibility will be to ensure that the central tenet of The Green House model—that power resides with the elder and those working closest to them– permeates all facets of the organization.  Building relationships and new kinds of connections between staff members and residents, will be a critical part of Ms. Marshall’s job.

Said Audrey Weiner, President and CEO, The New Jewish Home: “There is no one better qualified to become our first chief experience officer than Tammy Marshall. She brings to the job not only the technical skills and the experience required, but also an unparalleled commitment to the humanity that underlies The Green House model and person-directed care. She is an unrepentant evangelist for the right of elders and those who care for them to live fully realized lives in which their wishes and their contributions are uniquely valued.”

To be called The Living Center of Manhattan, the 20-story structure will be New York City’s first Green House residence and the first to be built in a major urban environment. In keeping with The New Jewish Home’s focus on putting a persons’ wishes first, several of The Living Center’s 22 individual Green House households will be kosher and, in another first for New York City, at least one will be all-LGBTQ, although LGTBQ residents will be welcome in every household.

It has been said that culture change is a journey without a destination, and The New Jewish Home is helping to shape the changing landscape of aging in society.  For more information, visit