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The Green House Project Blog

Better Together: Caring Across Generations Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Steve, demonstrating the technology, that gives him independence

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

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

Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Foundation

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

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

Nurse and elder interacting in a Green House home

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Film Debuted at Tribeca Filmfest Raises Awareness of ALS

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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Poetry by an Elder: Green House homes bring hope

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

Marooned

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

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

-Helen M. Rausch
April 2015, Creative Writing Group

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

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

 

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