By Meg LaPorte / Posted on March 13th, 2018
For our next series, we visited Pompano Beach, Fla., where a retirement community known as John Knox Village is located–about 10 miles north of Fort Lauderdale. On the campus are 12 Green House homes, which are small, resident-centered homes designed intentionally to counter the institutional feel of traditional nursing homes. A key feature of a Green House home is that staff and residents are empowered to live and work together as a team. Helping to make this team operate smoothly are Sages, who hold an esteemed position within the home. For this series, we interviewed Sages, all of whom have a lifetime of experience from which to draw upon to assist elders and others within the home. We will let our first interviewee, Diane, explain the purpose of a Sage: “As part of structure of this place they look for volunteers to act as Sages, because we’re old and wise and we’ve had experience working with groups, mentoring people, and problem solving with people. There is a screening process and we were trained. There are homes in this building, and there is at least one Sage assigned to each home. We come in on a volunteer basis and our function is to council, mentor, encourage the shabazim, who are the trained CNAs, within the home, to help them create a self-managed work team. And we are also there to provide contact between the elders and the shabazim and to enable them to get to know each other better. We come in on a fairly regular basis to visit in the home, we attend team meetings, if we’re invited, and hopefully give them the support they need.” . . How often do you come to the home? “It varies. I try to come two or three times a week, and that’s hard because I’m involved in other things. But I try to make it two or three times a week. I’m a resident of John Knox Village, as all the Sages are. We are lucky that we have that volunteer base to work with because everyone is on the property.” . . . . . #changingaging #agewoke #disruptaging #agepositive #greenhousehomes #sages #wisewords @johnknoxvillage #florida #pompanobeach #johnknoxvillage #ageinamerica #oldandwise #olderandwiser
By Sonya Barsness / Posted on March 2nd, 2018
Sonya Barsness is a proud gerontologist with over 20 years of experience. Gerontology is the multidimensional, non-medical, study of aging. This is important because each one of us is multi-dimensional. Aging is multi-dimensional. Her mission is to help person-centered values come to life in order to better support people in growing older and growing with dementia.
Hi. My name is Sonya and I have behavioral and psychological symptoms of Sonya (BPSS). Yes, it is true. You see, sometimes when I am doing something I don’t want to do, I get agitated. And then there are the times when I am tired or not interested and I have apathy. The other day I was combative when my husband tried to feed me a strawberry and I pushed his hand away (I really do not like being fed by others, although I really like strawberries.). I irritably yelled at my computer for several minutes this morning when I read the headlines. I am anxious any time I have to drive in this heavily congested area. Unfortunately, I also am paranoid. I KNOW that my husband took the car keys and hid them from me.
Maybe you are saying, “Sonya, what are you talking about? BPSS? Why can’t you just say you are angry or anxious? Why the labels? You are so weird.”
Maybe you are also wondering to yourself whether you have some form of BPSS. “I get angry too”, you might be saying to yourself. In fact, you are getting more angry and anxious as you read this. “Sonya, where are you going with this?” you are thinking nervously.
Have you noticed that we take actions of a person with dementia and ab-normalize and medicalize them? I have.
There is a term, called Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) that is used to describe the following “symptoms” that occur in people with dementia: agitation, aberrant motor behavior, anxiety, elation, irritability, depression, apathy, disinhibition, delusions, hallucinations, and sleep or appetite changes.
A 2012 study¹ said that 90% of people with dementia have BPSD. Hmm. What percentage of the general population has BPSD? 100%?
I experience these symptoms and as far as I know, I do not have dementia. So, if I have them, and you have them, what are they symptoms of? Maybe of being human? So, because I do not have dementia, they must be Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Sonya. And if we are going to describe them that way for people with dementia, it is only fair that I describe them this way for myself.
Note: For the purposes of this article, I will refer to these “symptoms” instead as actions or expressions.
In everyday life we use these terms to describe our actions. They are, for the most part, considered “normal”. Yet, we seem to have a double standard when we are talking about people with dementia.
A person without dementia might be angry because he does not want to wake up. But a person with dementia is agitated when he does not want to wake up.
A person without dementia flirts with the waiter and it is just flirting. A person with dementia flirts with the waiter and she is disinhibited.
I am in no way minimizing the seriousness of these expressions/actions. These expressions are very distressful for both people with dementia and those who care for them. They are very real. But I want to suggest that they are not abnormal. They are human responses.
Being with many people living with dementia, and those who care for them, has taught me that living with dementia is very, very hard. People with dementia are doing the best they can. They are trying their best to make sense of everything and everyone around them. Because they are human, of course they are going to experience the same human emotions as any of us. If not more, because of the challenges of living with dementia. Their actions are expressions. Normal, human expressions to what are often experienced by them as abnormal situations. I have sat with many of these humans, and heard their experiences. They made me change the way I thought about their “behaviors”.
For these reasons, and more, we need to reconsider this term of BPSD. Perhaps more importantly, we need to think about the meaning behind it.
I understand why we use this term. We needed a way of describing some things we were seeing, so we created a term. But there is a danger in this term that is bigger than these words, I am afraid. Because a term is often, if not always, a reflection of a paradigm.
When we define these actions and expressions as symptoms, we do several things:
- When we describe these expressions as symptoms, we medicalize them. We also then frame them as “abnormal”.
- We are suggesting that the only explanation for them is the underlying medical condition of dementia. Then we are less inclined to try to understand the reasons behind these actions. They are “just what people with dementia do”. When we don’t understand the reasons, or what people are communicating to us through their actions, we are not able to meet their needs.
- When we medicalize expressions that might be normal for the person and his or her situation, although abnormal to us, we also contribute to a paradigm that sees people with dementia as different than us. Because WE certainly don’t ever have those expressions, but people with dementia do because of their dementia. A very concerning possible consequence of seeing people as different than us, “othering” them, is de-humanizing them.
- When we frame expressions in medical terms, as a medical problem, the next step is to try to address them with medical solutions. This might mean using antipsychotics unnecessarily.
- To take this a step further, when we frame these expressions in medical terms, even if we are looking for non-medical ways of addressing them, we still see them as medical problems to be addressed by these “non-pharmacological” solutions. The challenge with this is that we are still limiting ourselves to seeing these expressions through a medical lens, rather than trying to understand what they might mean for that person, and trying to address the underlying reasons behind the expressions, whether they be unmet needs, or emotional distress. Even a non-pharmacological solution can be a band-aid and not address the reason behind a person’s action and what it means.
We are already seeing ramifications of this paradigm in how we view and treat people with dementia. One of these areas is in the use of antipsychotic medications, which are used to address BPSD in people with dementia. A recent report by Human Rights Watch reiterated the overuse of antipsychotics for people with dementia. The article pointed out various possible reasons for overuse. Unfortunately, they are not untrue. Not having enough staff and training to meet the needs of people with dementia is unfortunately real in too many cases. In some cases, these medications are used for convenience. However, in my experience, I think it is more often due to people not knowing how else to respond.
Yet, I think it is something much bigger. It is a reflection of this paradigm of dementia – the story of dementia that we have told ourselves for too long. This is the story that tells us that the way people with dementia act are symptoms or “behaviors”. The story tells us that not only are behaviors bad, they are not normal. Because they are abnormal medical problems, we need to address them with medication.
However, what we are neglecting in this story is this – the way people act, i.e. behaviors, are not abnormal for them. In many cases they are perfectly normal responses to how a person is experiencing the world around him or her. They are an expression of what a person is experiencing, what she or he is telling us, and what needs we might not be meeting for a person.
Yes, it is true that there are changes in the brain that happen as a result of various types of dementia that influence the way a person acts. Parts of the brain that regulate emotions are affected, making it more difficult to control various emotions. There are indeed various part of the brain that cause a person with dementia to see and experience the world differently. So yes, dementia changes the way we might act.
I am also not dismissing the intent behind terminology such as BPSD – to attempt to understand and help people with dementia.
It is for all these reasons that we have to think differently. There is too much at stake, and we want and need to do better for people with dementia.
This term of BPSD can perpetuate a paradigm of dementia that does not honor the human experience of dementia. Who people are as individuals. What they need. What is important to them.
It is time for a new paradigm. One that sees people with dementia as no different than us. That strives to see things from the perspectives of people with dementia so we can find better ways to support them. A paradigm that truly sees people with dementia as whole, not broken. And one part of building a new paradigm is to critically and respectfully question how we are describing and thinking about the way people with dementia act.
Note: I am well aware that I am not alone in this desire to change the paradigm of dementia. I am being heard here, with my own voice, but know that there are many who are in this together. They are people living with dementia, their care partners, and people whose professional lives are dedicated to making life better for people with dementia. I learn from them every day. Rather than speak for all of you, I hope you will chime in, as much more needs to be said.
¹Cerejeira, J., Lagarto, L., & Mukaetova-Ladinska, E. B. (2012). Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia. Frontiers in Neurology, 3, 73. http://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2012.00073
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on February 23rd, 2018
It’s all about leadership, and The Green House is honored to work with wise leaders who exude such a presence of belief and trust in the culture that they are helping to shape. Check out these short interview that delve into the unique journeys of Southern Administrative Services, and Clark Lindsey, as they discuss the business and operational value of working with The Green House Project.
“The business model of The Green House model is self evident… It’s where people want to be. Rather than spending your money on an intense marketing campaign to promote your business, why not create something that attracts everyone. ” – John Ponthie, Southern Administrative Services
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on February 21st, 2018
James Wright, nationally recognized diversity and inclusion strategist, and 2017 keynote speaker at The Green House Annual Meeting, shares some wise words for effectively engaging a diverse workforce.
By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on February 5th, 2018
January 24th marked the official grand opening of The Green House Village of Goshen—three Green House homes with a fourth already slated for the community.
The homes were developed by Blue Diamond Communities, an organization that prides itself on building homes to serve all ages.
Tonya Detweiler is the president of the company—which she founded five years ago. The Green House homes are part of Maplewood Estates and perfectly blend into the community. Tonya says building the homes was really a dream for the organization for a number of years because seldom do people WANT to move to a nursing home, however she believes The Green House Village of Goshen will change that image for many people in Indiana.
The subdivision is 16 acres and in addition to the Green House homes, there will be 25 other private homes in the development. It’s a wonderful setting for the 48 elders who will live in the Green House homes, they will be part of an inter-generational neighborhood and a vibrant part of the community.
By Janet Ozarchuk / Posted on January 22nd, 2018
Where does one begin to describe The Green House difference? There just are not enough superlatives. So how about I start here? I do not believe that my mother would be alive today if she had received care anywhere else.
A Green House home is different, and you know it the minute you see the beautiful building, and step inside. My mother was transported to The Green House homes of Green Hill by ambulance. Both of the EMT personnel were taken aback when they arrived. They thought they were in the wrong place. Surely this was someone’s private home, not skilled nursing!
My mother is 89, petite, and living with dementia. She went to the hospital because she had a swollen tongue, trouble swallowing and they feared she may have had a stroke. She was in the hospital only 4 days and she was so weakened by being confined to a hospital bed that she could no longer walk. The hospital said that she would have to spend the rest of her life on a pureed food diet.
I did my research. I looked at average hours of physical therapy and occupational therapy each day. With every search, The Green House homes at Green Hill, were always at the high end. But here is what numbers cannot capture. My mother has dementia. She drifts in and out of lucidness. So if the physical therapist or the occupational therapist arrived when she was not fully present, they did not force her to participate. (Did you notice that I said that they came to her not that she was brought to them in a sterile “workout” room?) They adjusted to her rhythms and came back when she could most fully participate and best benefit from the therapy. Those statistics do not capture that every staff member of a Green House home is a champion of the elder and takes on whatever role the elder needs in order to help. For example, with my mom, it would have been much easier for them to put her in a wheelchair and wheel her to the bathroom or to the dining table or to the open hearth. But they walked with her. And the statistics don’t count all those minutes that add up to hours… and add up to strength, mobility, dignity, resolve, hope and a desire to get well.
While there may be other “small house” homes, Green House homes are based on an evidence-based set of principles that make a big difference. Therapy in their real home is just one example. Another is that all meals are prepared in the home and the dining room table big enough for all of the elders, staff, and a few guests to have a place. Elders eat when and where they are ready. This really amazed me. Someone was always cooking in the kitchen. Breakfast at 6 am, no problem. Breakfast at Noon, no problem. Breakfast in your room, no problem – but never on a metal tray. Dinner while watching TV in the living room – no problem. Want your eggs soft, over easy, scrambled – no problem. Don’t like what we are having for lunch, how about a sandwich of your choosing. I found that most elders and their caregivers loved eating meals at the big table. We had fun. We supported on another – elders and caregivers and Green House staff. Elders helped elders. Caregivers helped caregivers. If Dorothy’s daughter wasn’t there, I sat next to Dorothy and encouraged her to eat and I know Dorothy’s daughter did they same for me.
As soon as my mother arrived from the hospital with her pureed food order, the speech pathologist at the Green House home questioned that and asked permission to “challenge” my mother with non-pureed food under her supervision. Of course, I agreed. My mom had lost a good deal of weight and we discovered that if food had whipped cream on it, she would eat it. In addition to her meals, the staff surprised her with special treats, healthy snacks topped with whipped cream, and my mother began to enjoy the pleasure of eating once again.
The Green House home at Green Hill have front porches with rocking chairs and back patios with bar-b-qs. There is nothing like fresh air and sunshine to heal the soul…except the joy of a four-legged furry friend. Pets are encouraged to visit or stay.
The Green House staff, the physical, occupational, and speech therapists ,and the nurses and doctors all take great pride in where they work and the care they deliver. They become family quickly, maybe even better than family. They talk about how much they like where they work. A number mentioned that they almost left their profession, being discouraged at traditional facilities. But here they flourished.
My mom was getting better, which brought new risks. She was strong enough to get out of bed on her own, but still unstable on her feet. So when my mom could not sleep and had potential to get up and fall, the nurse invited my mom to sit with her while she did her work. My mother loves helping, and this engaged time enabled her to naturally feel drowsy and go back to bed for a sound sleep. – no medication necessary. Love and caring is the very best medicine of all.
Today, my mother’s wheelchair and walker are gathering dust in the basement and she can eat absolutely everything. Where you receive care really does matter. Green House homes are the very best care that you can get. Anywhere else, I believe that my mother’s spirit would have been crushed, her appetite less than zero, and her strength and ability to walk permanently drained. The current paradigm, sets low expectations for an elder’s potential, and it becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy. Green House homes believe that elder’s are whole people with ability to grow and thrive, and this attitude translates to supporting the best life they can live.
Green House homes have been around for over a decade and we all owe a big thank you to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and their commitment to proving that there is a better way to provide long term care, that is clinically sound and cost effective. The Green House home is just better, it is as simple as that…for the elder, for the family, and for the people who work there. If there is a Green House home where you live and you have someone or you know someone who needs care, go there. If there is a Green House home in your neighborhood and you don’t need their care, stop by. I guarantee you will volunteer there, especially at mealtime. And if there is no Green House home in your neighborhood, make some noise to your elected officials to correct the situation. This is the way health care for elders needs to be, and it is the way we would want it for ourselves! In my state, of New Jersey, there are only two Green House organizations. I count my blessings daily that this was an option for my family, and I hope that one day, everyone will be able to have this same experience.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 19th, 2018
It is a pivotal moment in California’s history. The Small House Pilot Program is now live, and it has the potential to clearly demonstrate that there is a better way to deliver skilled nursing care. This profound opportunity requires that nursing home providers across the state, take a stand, and say, NOW IS THE TIME!
The wait has been long, making this moment all the more powerful. In 2013, through a tenacious journey, Mt. San Antonio Gardens became the first Green House Project in California. The work that they did to make regulatory gains with stakeholders across the state blazed a trail and were codified in late 2012, as Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1228 (introduced by Sen. Elaine Alquist). The bill created The Small House Skilled Nursing Facilities Pilot Program, which authorized the development and operation of 10 pilot projects to deliver skilled nursing care in smaller, residential settings, “It puts the ‘home’ back into nursing home”, said Senator Alquist (D-San Jose). However, it wasn’t until early 2018, that the regulations to support this bill were released, and the request for applications is now open to the public. As a perennial advocate for elder directed, relationship rich living, The Green House Project is eager to support every effort to ensure the success of this opportunity.
The Green House Project has come to be recognized as the leader of the small house movement to create a high-quality, cost-effective, human-scale alternative to the traditional nursing home. Studies of the Green House model have found that:
• Residents have a better quality of life and receive higher-quality care than residents in traditional nursing homes.
• Staff report higher job satisfaction and increased likelihood of remaining in their jobs.
• Family members are willing to drive farther and pay more to have access to a Green House home for a loved one.
Real Home, Meaningful Life, and Empowered Staff: these core values align well with the regulations of the Small House Pilot in California, and they drive change in Green House homes, creating quality outcomes, consumer demand and preferred partnerships in the healthcare system.
With 15 years of expertise in design, education and evaluation, The Green House Project is a strong partner to support the expedited timeline and in-depth requirements of this pilot. The first deadline for submission is June, 2018. Design tools, like The Green House Prototype, along with educational protocols and policy and procedure expertise, will ensure an organization is able to successfully navigate this application. Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project says, “The Green House Project specializes in a comprehensive cultural transformation that shifts the beliefs, behaviors, and systems to ensure a lasting investment across an organizational system. It is more than simply a process from ‘this’ to ‘that’; a real transformation unleashes the best of what can be by accessing collective wisdom.” The national initiative stands ready to support nursing home innovators in California, to ensure better lives for elders and those who work closest to them.
With California’s number of individuals 85 and older expected to triple by 2030, the market for Green House homes and others like them is rapidly growing. Consumer demand for the kind and quality of care that The Green House model provides has long existed, but until recently, California’s regulatory and approval process had been unable to accommodate non-traditional models of care. In fact, it took almost seven years for Mt. San Antonio Gardens to gain the approval it needed from multiple local and state agencies. Inspired by their lessons learned, Senate Bill 1228, and the newly released regulations, will enable innovation without obstacle. The Green House Project calls every organization interested in creating a real home, meaningful life and empowered work opportunities for the citizens of California to contact us, and together we will forge a trail to a brighter future.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 16th, 2018
Lori Gonzalez, is a researcher with Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University. She wrote an Op-ed for a Tampa Bay newspaper about the need for Green House homes in the state, and the national initiative reached out to discuss further collaboration. Recently, The Claude Pepper Center had the opportunity to capture interviews at The Woodlands in John Knox Village, and highlight the words of the people living this model everyday. Check them out here:
By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on January 3rd, 2018
Last year was a record breaking year for The Green House Project and it appears 2018 will continue that momentum! 41 homes were opened in nine states of which two were “first in state” openings! Such an impressive year for our Green House partners—we look forward to continuing that momentum in 2018! Right now, more than 20 Green House homes are slated to open next year and groundbreaking ceremonies are anticipated at seven organizations for a total of roughly 30 more Green House homes.
Here’s a quick look at how 2018 is shaping up for grand openings and groundbreaking ceremonies:
Little Rock, AR
West Plains, MO
2 homes – phase one/2 homes phase 2
Las Vegas, NV
By Sara McKee / Posted on December 22nd, 2017
Evermore Founder Sara McKee writes about what she learned at the recent Green House conference about how we can tackle aged care challenges by keeping it simple, and the importance of celebrating differences. (Reposted from Evermore Blog)
I recently attended the annual Green House conference in Fort Lauderdale. It was fantastic to be in a T-shirt in November – having left rather chillier conditions back in Manchester. It was also great to be with hundreds of believers from across America who are delivering a better way of living in older age, every day.
I was the only English person at the conference alongside fellow international explorers from Panama, Brazil, Bermuda, Israel and Singapore. However, if you take the vast expanse that is the United States, then it felt truly multicultural with folks from Alaska to Colorado, Pittsburgh and Arkansas.
Whilst the language of the conference was English, this multicultural dimension made us all recognise our differences in culture, approach and, indeed, language. We may all be speaking the same words, but do we really understand each other’s meaning?
James Wright delivered a challenging keynote on diversity and inclusion, highlighting our scientifically proven hidden biases. He explained how we operate on an unconscious level which makes us have implicit preferences. A book he referenced about the topic is ‘The Hidden Brain’ and I’m going to read it to find out more.
One example he gave was how we make assumptions based on accent. He said that coming from South Carolina, he’d trained out his southern drawl as that made him sound stupid in the eyes/ears of others. Good News for me was that he said the English accent was universally seen as the smartest sound!
He was keen to point out that it doesn’t make us racists or any particular “–ists” – it simply is how we’re made! His mission is to move from talking about equality to equity – a discussion deserving of a blog of its own.
What can we learn from all of this?
We had gathered at this conference, many colours, ages and backgrounds to talk about the challenges we all faced with an ageing population and a shrinking workforce. Yes, we had similar challenges, we could share experiences and our different solutions. And yet we were not all the same. That’s where it felt we had real strength. If we celebrated our differences and built on our joint appetite for collaboration, we could continue to innovate and create new opportunities for living well in older age.
James shared this clever video which reinforced the point for me: “Be together, not the same”
My take away from the conference – Keep it Simple:
- Simplify our approach to engaging with customers – what matters to you? Not what’s the matter with you!
- Simplify our language – let’s get rid of the jargon. We talk about ‘convivium’ at the heart of our family households, yet it’s hard to say and even harder to spell – so let’s talk about sharing our life together and breaking bread.
- Be consumer driven – let’s develop and deliver services that are focused on what our customers want. Sounds obvious, but often feels like rocket science in the world of aged care.
- Translate connectedness, meaning, purpose and exercise into everyday activities. Not make each element someone’s task.
I’ve come back from the conference feeling re-energised and determined to maintain our international collaboration as we can all learn and build new world thinking together.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on December 22nd, 2017
- Cultural Transformation Through Green House, January 9 (3:00p ET). Join Green House Senior Director, Susan Ryan to hear an Overview of The Green House model as you’ve never heard it before! THE GREEN HOUSE believes that all elders deserve to grow and thrive no matter where they reside, and that to impact lives in a meaningful way, it takes more than environmental change. To make meaningful change a reality, it is imperative to infuse the entire organization with optimal systems and structural changes that create a cohesive approach to elder-directed care. Register>>
- Innovations and Trends in Elder Care, February 1 (3:00p ET). Lisa McCracken, Director of Senior Living Finance Research and Development with Ziegler will provide an overview of the key trends and innovations in Elder Care. This is the opening session of our Business Case series which will shed light on how The Green House model is a viable solution amidst the backdrop of a dynamic economy and healthcare climate.Register>>
- Green House Onsite Workshop at Leonard Florence Center for Living, February 7 (Boston, MA). Experience Green House innovation first hand at this one day, onsite event. Gain deep insight into The Green House model, visit operational homes, and talk with the team. This event is complimentary, but registration is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot soon. Register>>
- Improving Long Term Care Workforce With Strategies that Work, February 22 (3:00p ET). Robyn Stone, Senior Vice President of Research, LeadingAge, will provide an overview of the demographics, trends and challenges of the workforce in Elder Care. This is the opening session of our Workforce series. which will identify practices within The Green House model that create the potential for successful workforce development. Register>>
- Green House Onsite Workshop at John Knox Village, March 14 (Pompano Beach, FL). The Woodlands of John Knox Village is a unique and progressive organization where the elders actually drove the movement to bring Green House homes to the campus. Talk about elder empowerment! Their design is stacked, they are currently implementing Best Life. In addition to long term care, they are cornering their market in short term rehab. This event is complimentary, but registration is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot soon. Register>>
- Living with Dementia: New Perspectives, March 22 (3:00p ET). Dr. Al Power, author of Dementia Beyond Drugs and Dementia Beyond Disease, will look at the experience of dementia through the frame of well-being, and explore how this perspective is challenged, both by brain changes, our attitudes, and care systems. Register>>
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on December 22nd, 2017
“Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity” became more than a theme for the 2017 Green House Annual Meeting, it became a rallying cry. The world is at a pivotal point, and the meeting tapped into the collective potential of an innovative group to help shape the future. Over 250 people from around the globe converged in sunny Florida to connect, learn and grow. Hosted by the progressive and gracious John Knox Village, attendees were able to experience the potential of The Green House model, firsthand. Coming on the heels of the devastating Hurricane Irma, The Green House community came together to raise over $1200 for disaster relief, including many in-kind donations. Engaged and generous sponsors add to the rich tapestry of learning, and enhance the conference experience. Through challenging speakers, interactive opportunities, and recognition of the global voice, the ripples of the time together will continue to be felt for a long time.
Sharpen your skills in the kitchen! This was the challenge put out to direct care staff who were invited to participate in a “Chop Chef” style competition in the onsite training kitchen at John Knox Village. Under the guidance of Chef Mark of John Knox Village and Chef Ian from Christian Cares in Kentucky, direct care staff gained valuable skills in the kitchen, build strong relationships with peers and deepened their understanding of being an empowered staff member.
Over 40 Executives including representatives from 8 countries participated in a stimulating and challenging session about Social Entrepreneurship led by Green House Board President, Scott Townsley. The commitment and vision of these leaders to share their voice, demonstrates the power of a community of thought leaders to change a paradigm.
The conference opened with keynote speaker, James Wright, challenging the group to explore the meaning and value of diversity in the workplace. Through interactive exercises to uncover unconscious bias and understand the difference between equity and equality, Mr. Wright’s message became a thread for meaningful discussion throughout the conference, and perhaps a new lens to view the world.
The Green House Annual Meeting welcomes every role within The Green House model, believing that sharing an education space leads to some incredible conversations and epiphanies. For example, in the closing plenary session, when Monique, a direct care staff member from Detroit, stood up and said, “this is not a job, this is a career”, there was electricity throughout the room, and a heightened understanding that workforce development is essential to ensure sustainable success of Green House homes. The education sessions range from important macro topics like “What You Need to Know About the New CMS Regulations to Lead the Way” to nuts and bolts topics like how to engage in constructive conflict. Facilitated networking through an exercise called “Words Make Worlds”, led to
spirited conversation, and many creative expressions of words to take forward, and those to leave behind. There is value provided at a strategic level and an operational level, and the interaction that occurs is priceless.
Last year, one of the far reaching visions was that Green House would “Go Global”. At the time, it seemed like a dream, and then international visionaries began to reach out about bringing Green House to their community. This year, representatives from Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Indonesia, Panama and Singapore participated in The Green House conference, and an International Think Tank where ideas and possibility spread through the room like wild fire. One participant remarked that what may have started as a ‘project’ is now far more than that… it is The Green House Movement! Everyone left with a ‘fire in their belly’ to make meaningful change. Conversations and plans have continued full force, and there are now expansive opportunities for Green House to impact the needs of aging individuals on a global scale.
The Green House Annual Meeting is always an energizing time for those who are exploring, implementing and sustaining the model to connect with their peers and deepen their understanding. This year brought new elements that challenged the group to deepen their role as a community of thought leaders and lead society as an inclusive and innovative force that celebrates the intrinsic worth of EVERY individual. The Green House movement has the energy and vision to disrupt the status quo and propel a dynamic system to new heights amidst a rapidly changing world.