By Brittany Swanson / Posted on June 24th, 2015
As the only Green House homes in Alaska, we love sharing our story, and our passion for The Green House model’s Core Values of Real Home, Meaningful Life and Empowered Staff. When visitors come to Seward Mountain Haven they are struck not only by the beautiful view, but also by the feeling they have when they step inside our homes. The feeling is immediate and visceral. It’s family. Many people still expect to see the traditional institution and it gives me so much pleasure to be a part of changing that expectation.
I can’t tell you how many times visitors have joked with me, saying, “Sign me up! This is where I want to be!” They are joking but in reality they are saying, “Yes! This is what Long Term Care should be!”
It is easy to focus on the day to day challenges, and sometimes we have to remind each other, our team, to step back and notice the incredible work that we are doing. If we just let that sink in for a few minutes…it is SO powerful.
We are proud to be a pioneer in The Green House movement. The peer network that we are building nationally, enables us to share our successes and lessons learned with developing Green House homes and to gain insights from Green House organizations around the country. There is power in knowing that we are a part of something that is bigger than ourselves, and that we share this calling to better the lives elders every day.
I joined The Green House team at Providence Seward Mountain Haven January 2011 as a social worker. During my education, I never saw myself going into eldercare, and my road to The Green House homes was happenstance. I joined the team because I wanted to be a part of something innovative; I wanted to be a part of a group that was making a difference. I never would have imagined how much my decision to work in a Green House home would affect me. I am pushed to grow, learn and continually challenge my thinking… this opportunity is much more than just a job.
One of my most memorable experiences in The Green House homes was when I was pregnant with my son. Because we have such close relationships with the elders, they naturally wanted to stay informed of all the details, and to also share their pregnancy and birth experiences with me. As it got closer to my delivery date their excitement and anticipation grew, and when he finally came, we all celebrated the arrival of THEIR baby! This experience really drove home the fact that we really care about each other here. The elders are just as invested in us as we are in them and that is a feeling you only get in a Green House home. It’s very special.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on June 18th, 2015
Present Perfect, a documentary about the magic that can happen when a preschool is located within a nursing home, was the catalyst for a panel of innovators today on HuffPost Live’s #WhatsWorking series. Susan Frazier, Senior Director of The Green House Project, highlighted the power of creating real home and meaningful lives for elders through a normalized and integrated environment, “It is time to reframe the purposefulness of Elderhood, and as a society to recognize the beauty of each unique person.”
She was joined by Providence Mount St Vincent, Administrator, Charlene Boyd, Art Therapist, Erin Partridge, and Present Perfect filmmaker, Evan Briggs.
To view the 30 minute discussion, CLICK HERE>>
By Admin / Posted on June 17th, 2015
A son’s personal experience shapes his support for bringing The Green House model to Maplewood Nursing home, in Cheshire County, NH.
As someone whose father greatly benefited from living in a Green House cottage, I feel compelled to lend my voice in support of the concept as the proposed alternative to the deteriorating Maplewood nursing facility which now serves many needy elders of Cheshire County.
My father was a well-educated, highly respected writer and clergyman who, in his final years of life, had the misfortune to develop Lewy Body Dementia, a disease that resembles a devastating combination of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my life to watch this highly articulate man robbed of his joy, his speech, and, eventually, his mind.
When it became evident to our family that my mother could no longer care for my father in their home, we were blessed with the opportunity to be part of a Green House community in Holland, Michigan. The Green House concept is light years ahead of the type of care that has typically been given in places such as Maplewood Center. Maplewood has been a valued and effective facility for many years, but it simply cannot compare to a Green House setting. Green House residents live in private rooms with private baths. They are always treated with respect and dignity. They are referred to as “elders” rather than “patients.” Living, recreating and dining among a small community affords them with companionship that is so vital to their continued health. Family members are always welcomed at meals and other activities.
Before my father entered the Boersma Cottage, he was sinking deeper and deeper into depression, withdrawing from life, and was rapidly losing his desire to live. What struck me as miraculous is that, within a few weeks of his arrival, he started to regain his sense of humor and even had a playful quality about him that had been lacking in recent months. It is true that, because of his dementia, he was no longer fully the man I had known and loved. But the person that he became in his final months was well cared for and enjoyed a quality of life that, in my experience of such care – which is quite extensive – is unparalleled. My only regret is that he didn’t come to a Green House home earlier so that he might have enjoyed even more of its benefits. In the end, his death was a good one and for that I will always be grateful.
The Green House concept is, I believe, at this time the best way to provide quality of life for those in need of long-term care. It respects the dignity of the person and values the gifts that they still bring to the lives of others.
It’s time for Cheshire County to embrace this truly remarkable approach.
The Rev. Mark A. Jenkins
Rector, St. James Episcopal Church, Keene
By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on June 9th, 2015
Episcopal Homes of Minnesota celebrated the official grand opening of their six new Green House homes on May 20th. The special event was well attended by Elders, families, staff members and community leaders in the St. Paul area. Episcopal Homes’ President and
CEO, Marvin Plakut, welcomed attendees and
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was on hand to congratulate all who helped in the development of the project.
The six skilled nursing Green House homes are called “The Gardens” and will be home for 60 Elders. Each Elder will have their own private bedroom and bath, meals will be cooked in the home and the hearth area will provide a sanctuary for rich conversation in the house.
The Green House homes were part of a $45 million dollar expansion called Midway Village. The campus now offers a range of Elder living options and affordability and is conveniently located near the city of St. Paul’s new Green Line light rail station. “The outpouring of support for our project is both gratifying and humbling,” said Plakut. “It is inspiring us to keep reaching higher on behalf of the individuals and families we serve. It is also inspiring to see so many wonderful people interested in living at Midway Village.”
The 225,000-square-foot expansion on their campus is also receiving some special recognition…it has been selected as one of the state’s top projects in 2014 by Finance & Commerce.
We welcome the Elders, families and staff from The Gardens to the Green House family. Congratulations and our very best wishes as you move forward in your Green House journey!
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on June 5th, 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/
By Rob Simonetti / Posted on June 4th, 2015
Rob Simonetti has worked with multiple Green House organizations to create real homes where where elders live meaningful lives. In this article, he highlights the innovation found in upstate NY, and The Green House model as a catalyst for significant social change.
Senior Housing providers are leaving industry standards behind to forge a culture of person centered care unseen in other areas of the US.
by Robert Simonetti, AIA, Design Director at SWBR Architects, 585-232-8300, firstname.lastname@example.org
Call it a hot bed of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit; Upstate New York senior care providers are establishing new standards and models of care well ahead of many other communities. Care providers are ensuring all New Yorkers a very bright future as the industry comes to terms with an antiquated system of institutional care.
Senior care providers from Albany to Buffalo are breaking new ground and setting standards for the remainder of the nation to follow. As early as 1999 Fairport Baptist Home was one of the first adopters of the household model of skilled nursing care and quickly became a precedent and resource for other nursing homes seeking to transform their environments for care. The Eddy Village Green at Cohoes was the first adopter in New York of the Green House model. With sixteen homes of 12 elders each The Eddy has become a training center for other Green House adopters nationally.
In 2007 St. John’s Home embarked on a project to bring The Green House model of care to twenty of their Skilled Nursing elders. When St. John’s approached the NYS Department of Health, the state challenged St. John’s to not just build Green House homes, but to build them away from their existing campus in the City of Rochester. St. John’s accepted the challenge and in February of 2012 opened two Green House homes in Penfield, the first in the nation to build off campus in a new residential town home community. The homes which blend right in with their surroundings have become some of the favorites of The Green House Project Senior Director Susan Frazier. “The difference between these homes and other Green House homes is palpable.” says Frazier. Operated on the concepts of person centered care and an empowered work force, the homes have achieved a 5 Star rating, the highest possible in the industry.
The private sector providers are not the only ones being innovative in Upstate; the Department of Veterans Affairs has adopted a new model for the veterans they serve. In Canandaigua plans are complete for ten skilled cottages based on the VA’s new Community Living Center principles. Since construction in the 1930’s veterans residing on campus have lived in very institutional H shaped buildings with double loaded corridors, small double, triple and quad occupancy rooms. The cottages are planned entirely as fully accessible one story homes with single occupancy rooms, private baths, safe outdoor courtyards, strong connections to the outdoors, and beautiful dining, kitchen, and living rooms. While being review in Washington, VAMC Central Office Architect Dan Colagrande noted that this new campus design “should become a national standard for our other VA campuses”.
With such excellence being set as a standard, other upstate providers are following suite to provide elders the best possible environments of care. In Scotia, Baptist Health has sixteen new small homes under construction. In Cicero, Loretto has just opened twelve new homes offering skilled nursing care. These homes and the neighborhood are modeled completely after a true residential neighborhood. The Rochester Presbyterian Home is starting construction on four new Memory Care Assisted Living Small homes in Perinton to compliment four they are operating in Chili. And in Brighton, the Jewish Home is embarking on an ambitious plan to build fourteen certified Green House homes to replace their aging legacy high-rise skilled nursing building.
Why Upstate New York? What’s behind our providers leading the industry? Upstate NY has historically been a leader in the Culture Change movement. Rochester is where the Pioneer Network was founded. A small group of prominent professionals in long-term care formed Pioneer Network in 1997 to advocate for person-directed care. The Network has grown significantly and is now a national resource headquartered in Chicago.
While working in an Upstate nursing home Dr. Bill Thomas founded The Eden Alternative; an international, non-profit organization dedicated to creating quality of life for Elders and their care partners. Recognizing three plights of the elderly in institutional nursing homes, Boredom, Loneliness, and Helplessness, Thomas sought to improve the well- being of Elders and their care partners by transforming the communities in which they live and work. Thomas, residing in Ithaca, has become an internationally recognized leader in the culture change movement and The Eden Alternative is headquartered in Rochester.
The legacy of innovation and advancement in the areas of senior care is growing in Upstate New York. Our providers, physicians, and educators are leaders and valuable resources to this rapidly changing industry. The St. John’s Green House homes have hosted visitors from around the country and as far as Iceland and New Zealand. The staff and administrator of the homes have become ambassadors of the culture change movement, encouraging, motivating, and educating others on the benefits of committing deeply to the ideals of person centered care and the Green House model.
The environments being developed here in Upstate are exemplary and promise each of us a bright future as we consider care options for our grandparents, our parents, and ourselves. Rest assured New Yorkers, when you decide to seek care, you will not find yesterday’s nursing home, rather you will find a true home filled with opportunities, committed staff, and an enlightened value of elderhood.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on June 4th, 2015
Experiencing success, Buckner brings The Green House model to new communities
Dallas, Tx — June 4, 2015 – Buckner Retirement Living, a non-profit organization located in Texas, has a long history of working with The Green House Project, a not-for-profit that is part of Capital Impact’s Community Solutions Group, and is now entering into a new contract to build new Green House homes in Texas.
Buckner is partnering with The Green House Project to add Green House homes to their new Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Dallas, to help reposition their community in San Angelo and to expand their Beaumont CCRC to serve more elders with skilled care needs.
“We believe The Green House model is the best way to serve elders who need 24-hour nursing.” says Pat Crump, Vice President of Operations of Buckner Retirement Living “Our current Green House homes have been hugely successful, as evidenced by high family and resident satisfaction surveys, great clinical outcomes and extremely low staff turnover.”
The Green House model creates real homes for 10 to 12 elders, complete with private rooms and baths, home-cooked meals, and access to the outdoors. And by providing elders with dignity, autonomy and choice, Green House homes provide people with the best quality of life possible. The Green House model delivers better outcomes than traditional nursing homes, with potential to reduce hospitalizations and the cost of care.
For Crump, his past success was key in his decision to expand this model throughout his company, “We have benefitted from having a proven model and the great support from The Green House team. We strongly believe that providing elders a home as opposed to “warehousing” them in a nursing home is the right thing to do, and our customers agree. The higher census we experience with this model equates to solid financial performance.”
Buckner Retirement Living is part of a larger effort nationwide to dramatically improve the way aging Americans receive long-term care. With the number of 85-year-olds in the U.S. increasing by 50 percent by 2030, a new approach for long-term care has never been more important.
“The financial and clinical success that Buckner Retirement has experienced provides strong validation for The Green House model,” said Scott Brown, Director of Outreach for The Green House Project. “The lower turnover, higher census, and positive clinical outcomes meet the growing demand to provide high quality care at a lower cost.”
“We commend Buckner Retirement Living for their vision, as pioneers of The Green House movement, and their commitment to never build another traditional nursing home,” Mr. Brown continues, “We are honored to partner with Pat and his team to transform long term care in Texas.”
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/
About Buckner Retirement Living: Since 1879, Buckner has served people in need across Texas. Expanding to 8 communities, Buckner one of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations in Texas dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy Christian lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. Over the years, Buckner has continued to refine, renovate and update their settings, programs and services to meet the needs of each new generation of residents. But one thing hasn’t changed: their faith-filled commitment to providing them with a rewarding way to live and the highest quality of living.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on June 2nd, 2015
The Green House website is an important channel to inspire people about the potential of this model, and move them to action. Our goal is to make The Green House model a reality in every community. With over 5,000 visits per month, the website is a premier channel for healthcare providers, advocates, elders and family members, policy makers and other stakeholders to learn more about the value and differentiation of The Green House model.
This year, we refreshed the look and feel of the website in order to make it more accessible and communicate a stronger message about how we work with organizations to impact quality of life, quality of care and all at the same cost as the traditional model. The goals of this website refresh are to:
• Emphasize the value of The Green House brand by honoring the “heart” of our mission, with a compelling business case that speaks to the “head.”
• Optimize the experience on computer and mobile device by persona for health care providers, consumers, and strategic influencers (architects, media, advocates, etc.) with an ‘answer driven’ approach to maximize usability, and navigability.
• Highlight the uniqueness of The Green House model, by leveraging testimonials from leaders in the field, case studies from current Green House adopters and data-driven studies that prove the business benefit of the model.
Through a crisp clear design and navigation, this website is optimized for the small screen, so that people can view our website on any device. The site is organized by persona and topic so that all stakeholders can find what they are looking for with less clicks. This site will increase awareness of The Green House model, and drive demand to make it an option in every community. Most importantly, it will create an extraordinary web experience. Visit us today at www.thegreenhouseproject.org, and start exploring the possibilities.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on May 29th, 2015
This week, representatives from the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) and THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project visited the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL) in Chelsea, MA. The Center is the first urban Green House skilled nursing community in the country. Nora Super, Executive Director (WHCOA) and Rachel Maisler, Deputy Communications Director (WHCOA) traveled from Washington to see, first hand, how The Green House model supports a successful aging and good jobs. Senior Director of The Green House Project, Susan Frazier and Director of Outreach, Scott Brown, were in attendance; Betsy Mullen, COO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates LFCL, directed the visit.
The visit began by spending time with a group of elders who were celebrating National Senior Health & Fitness Day. Amidst songs and dancing, it was clear that these people are living life to the fullest. Winnie Murphy, who is 105, told the group she loved living at the LFCL because there “was always something to do and people to visit.” In fact, Winnie is engaged in meaningful activities every day; she goes to the salon to get her hair done about once a week, relaxes with a drink at the monthly Pub Hour, plays bingo as often as possible and attends a daily exercise class.
A key focus of the visit was to highlight the increased quality of life that elders and staff experience in The Green House model. Because of the high rise setting, the ground floor of the building has become a “main street” of sorts. The group spent time in the café, deli, spa and outdoor patios as well as the residences where elders receive long-term care and short term rehabilitation. It was gratifying to see Ms. Super’s reaction to each elder having a private bedroom and bathroom, and the sense of comfort and belonging that one feels in the open floor plan with accessible kitchens and dining areas in every home. Clearly, this revolutionary model of living made a tremendous impact upon the visitors, which will hopefully lead to tremendous impacts in policy to support the spread of this model across the country.
An added plus: the WHCOA team sent a camera crew to video-tape the tour. We are hopeful that this footage will be featured at the White House Conference on Aging, to be held in Washington, DC on July 13.
By Meaghan McMahon / Posted on May 26th, 2015
The Older Americans Act (OAA) authorization has been expired for the last four years. The services and programs that are receiving funding under the Act are in desperate need of increased resources to fund the nearly 12 million older adults in this country that wish to remain in their homes and local communities. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the OAA, LeadingAge has asked its members and supporters of Older Americans Month to contact their elected officials and ask that they fund, renew and protect OAA services.
LeadingAge has provided the following message that can be delivered to lawmakers:
“The Older Americans Act is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As a constituent, I urge Senator/Representative_____ to fund, renew, and protect the Older Americans Act by restoring appropriations to at least the fiscal year 2010 levels, passing a bipartisan reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, and removing the continued threat of across-the-board sequestration cuts. Thank you for your consideration.”
Looking for more ways to get involved? Visit the LeadingAge Advocacy website page.
By Admin / 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.
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.
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.
By Larry Young / 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.
Darlene 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 Associate.
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.”
Darlene’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.”