By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 30th, 2017
There are 214 Green House homes, however there are 15,600 traditional nursing homes in our country. As we work to transform long term care, Beth Baker has been a critical voice in journalism, describing innovations in the field. She has spent the last decade telling the story of culture change to a wide audience and earlier this month, Beth Baker highlighted The Green House model as The Nursing Home of the Future, in Politico Magazine.
As a journalist and author, Beth Baker, writes about healthcare in outlets like The Washington Post and the AARP Bulletin, describing what is possible in long term care,”What [The Green House Project] does is to demonstrate that people can keep living and enjoying life until their last breath given the right environment and relationships.” This journey led her to Tupelo, the first Green House homes, and the transformative story of Mildred Adams:
Beth became intrigued by the rich human stories found throughout the culture change world, and eventually decided to write a book, Old Age in A New Age. Her work has expanded, in a second book, With A Little Help From Our Friends, that focuses on “the importance of community and social connection as we grow older.” Beth sees boundless opportunities to write about people who are,”looking at aging in our society and thinking about how to make it a richer and more respected time of life.”
When Politico approached Beth, they asked her to write a visionary piece about the nursing home of the future… when Beth pitched The Green House model, they were delighted to see the potential that exists today to create meaningful lives for those who live and work in long term care.
In her reporting for the Politico article, Beth visited Lebanon Valley Brethren Home in Palmyra, PA. After a three hour drive on a cold, rainy day she shared how warm and welcoming it was to ring the doorbell and walk into the home, ” there was a fire in the hearth and one of the women was doing a jigsaw puzzle… it felt so familiar and was just a reminder of why [The Green House] is such a wonderful model”. Through interviews with elders and Lebanon Valley Brethren Home CEO, Jeff Shireman, Beth was able to convey the comprehensive nature of the model, and how the interplay of the environment, organizational redesign and philosophy work together to create positive clinical, financial and satisfaction outcomes, “Having a strong case for the finances and business outcomes of The Green House Project has been really important, ” remarks Baker.
Beth Baker’s credible voice shines light on the potential for aging to be different, and it is so important that we continue, because as Beth shares, we have a lot of work to do, ” … It is going to take a culture change beyond long term care… [we need] a change in how we view aging, to get people to accept that it doesn’t have to be the way that it has always been.”
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 13th, 2017
In Rebooting The Nursing Home, Beth Baker shares the deep human stories that describe The Green House model and shaped her visit to Lebanon Valley Brethren Home. These Green House homes are a part of a “growing movement to transform nursing homes from medicalized institutions to places that feel much more like home.”
Resident choice and autonomy, a homey environment, and well-trained and invested staff are hallmarks of the Green House and similar models that are slowly and fundamentally changing long-term care for Americans who otherwise could be forced into traditional nursing homes.
Lebanon Valley Brethren Home has experienced the model’s benefits from a business perspective, as well. CEO, Jeff Shireman shared that after the capital investment, operating costs have been comparable or even lower than their traditional nursing home. This cost savings is directly correlated with the comprehensive paradigm shift of the model and fully leveraging the role of the versatile worker (known as a shahbaz), “What you must do as a leader is to support [the shahbazim] and empower them and hold them accountable,” says the Green House Project’s Senior Director, Susan Ryan. “That is where you’ll see the efficiency.”
This article paints a warm picture of a day in the life of a Green House home, and the elements that make it a viable model that is changing the landscape of long term care.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 11th, 2017
An intentionally built environment is crucial to support the success a person-directed home. ProBuilder Magazine highlights innovation in senior care with a focus on the comprehensive transformation of The Green House model. Green House “has three core values,” says senior director Susan Frazier Ryan, “real homes, meaningful life (culture) and empowered staff (organizational change/human architecture, all of which help an elder live the best life.”
This article features innovative Green House homes, including St. John’s, the first
community integrated Green House homes as a model to influence future developers as they look to meet the needs of an aging population,”In 10 years, the first of the 77 million baby boomers will turn 80. That’s the age, say those involved in senior housing, where the intersection of the built environment and health is critical.”
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on December 9th, 2016
2016 has been an amazing year for Green House adopters who represent some of the most innovative organizations in healthcare. At the recent Green House Annual Meeting, this video highlighted some of the awards and honors that our adopters have received this year.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on November 30th, 2016
The energy is always electric when Green House adopters are together. “As a national initiative, amazing things happen when so many changemakers are in the same room,” shares Senior Director, Susan Ryan, “The opportunity for rich discussion, relationship building and thoughtful questions is irreplaceable. ” That was certainly the case as over 250 Green House adopters gathered at The 2016 Green House Annual Meeting—Beyond Better.
Hosted in New Jersey, attendees were able to visit two open Green House homes, Morris Hall Meadows and Green Hill. Representing 30 states and over 200 open homes, the growing Peer Network is one of the greatest values of participating in this initiative. Green House stakeholder, John Grace, said, “It was nice to attend an intimate gathering where “practical application” is the theme of the day.”
Pre-Conference workshops provided role specific opportunities to explore areas that research proves are vital to the sustainability and success of the model, such as coaching and empowerment. Senior executives joined President of Center for Innovation, Inc., the sponsor of The Green House Project, Scott Townsley, to discuss the strategic trends impacting healthcare, and how The Green House model must continue to evolve in order to lead the way to a better tomorrow.
Marc Middleton, CEO of Growing Bolder, opened the meeting with an inspiring message that what the mind believes, the body embraces, and a call to believe in the potential of elders! This multimedia presentation thoroughly dismantled the myths of aging, and set a tone of possibility for the rest of the meeting.
With breakout sessions focused on key operational topics like convivium, spirituality, team building and hiring, adopters left the conference with a full ‘toolbox’ of new skills and ideas to enhance their homes and organizations. An original spoken word piece, called, “I Am Green House”, brought the crowd to their feet, as a shahbaz, a nurse, a family member and an elder shared what it really means to live this movement everyday.
This year, intensive sessions were offered as opportunities to take a deep dive in areas of dementia, coaching leadership and bringing Green House values into the legacy home. Hot topics, real discussion, and an impetus to keep growing, resonated throughout the conference. The “Inner Circle” was a unique networking space for attendees to meet their peers and help to co-create the future. Reciprocity of active learning and shared experience is making a difference and changing the world.
Sustainability is crucial in the work that we do, and a quality benchmarking resource was presented to attendees with a tangible charge to never stop improving. Exciting results are being discovered as the evidence-base for The Green House model grows.
The conference closed with Ashton Applewhite, anti-ageism advocate and author of This Chair Rocks, an Manifesto Against Ageism, sending a passionate appeal to fight ageism in all its forms. With humor and personal stories, Ashton served as the perfect way to end the conference feeling challenged and inspired.
“THE POWER OF THE MOVEMENT IS YOU!” says, Susan Ryan, to an empowered audience of Green House adopters. The national initiative is able to push the envelope of what is possible because of the innovative and excellent work of Green House adopters and those stakeholders who are changing what it means to age.
Next year marks the 10th Annual Green House Meeting. Held in Florida, with host site, John Knox Village, this meeting continues to grow in meaning and scope, as Green House adopters truly go, Beyond Better!
By Rachel Scher McLean / 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.
By Rachel Scher McLean / 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.“
John 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.”
Cedar 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 www.thegreenhouseproject.org.
By Rachel Scher McLean / 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 to 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 enables 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.
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.
Mae 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”.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on April 25th, 2016
“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” –Psalm 71:9
The Green House Project and Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) share many common values, and are proud partners in elder care innovation. Recently, Green House leadership participated in the AJAS annual meeting to share insights and connect with organizations who share a similar mission to serve elders.
Senior Director, Susan Ryan, was highlighted as a speaker for “AJAS Speaks”, a TED Talk style session, where thought leaders share their experiences and perspectives. In her talk, “Living the Good Life”, Susan shares the path that has shaped her personal mission to see the people living with dementia as creative, resourceful and whole.
Innovation Roundtables are a feature of the conference where leaders of the field share insights in short, rotating sessions. Green House Director of Outreach, Scott Brown, delivered a talk on the power of differentiation in our changing and dynamic health care landscape.
We appreciate the opportunity to partner with innovative organizations as we work to change the paradigm of aging, creating caring homes and meaningful lives.
Please watch for a blog series in the near future entitled “Living the Good Life” based on the stories shared by Susan at the AJAS conference.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on March 25th, 2016
The Green House model “goes to the idea that regardless of age people still have a chance to have a meaningful life where they can experience joy and create value,” Scott Brown, Director of Outreach, The Green House Project says. In a recent article Kiplinger Retirement News editor, Susan Garland, visits two Green House organizations, Leonard Florence Center for Living and Eddy Village Green and shares her experience with this innovative model:
It’s a common refrain that adult children hear from their parents: “No matter what, promise that you’ll never put me in a nursing home.” These seniors obviously have not visited a Green House, a unique alternative to the traditional nursing facility.
By highlighting the comprehensive transformation that occurs when an organization implements The Green House model, Garland is able to show that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the cornerstone of the model’s effectiveness is the deep relationships that form as a result: “In the traditional nursing home, you don’t have time to develop the relationships that you have in these homes,” says James Farnan, administrator of Eddy Village Green. “When you have the same group of people taking care of the same group of elders, you get to know what they like and don’t like.”
To read more stories and experiences from these Green House homes, read the full article here>>
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on February 10th, 2016
We are thrilled to congratulate, Ruta Kadonoff, former Green House Project team member, on her new role as Executive Director of The Pioneer Network. The Pioneer Network is an organization that was formed to support, advocate and enhance the work of individuals, organizations, regulators and policymakers who are creating a life-affirming, satisfying and meaningful culture of aging and long-term care.
“I am honored and excited by this opportunity to serve the Pioneer Network and advance its critically important work,” Kadonoff says in a press release. “I am passionate about seeing our vision and values fully realized and look forward to working hand in hand with innovators and individuals across the country who share this passion, who have come together in this unique gathering place for those of us unwilling to settle for the status quo.”
We look forward to opportunities to collaborate with Ruta and advance our shared vision and passion.
By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 13th, 2016
“In a year that marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the White House Conference on Aging provided an opportunity to reflect on the importance of these programs, highlight new actions to support Americans as we age, and focus on the powerful role that technology can play in lives of seniors in the decade ahead.” –Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council
The Green House Project was honored to participate and be highlighted during the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. “Through a combination of listening sessions, breakout groups, watch parties, regional and topical forums, and written feedback, the White House heard from thousands of Americans about the issues most important to them regarding our aging population.” Click here to read the final report for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging that summarizes the work of the White House to create a fulfilling and dignified world for elders and those who work closest to them.
One highlight was a visit by Executive Director of The White House Conference on Aging, Nora Super, to Leonard Florence Center for living, the first urban Green House model, located outside of Boston. There, Ms. Super engaged in dialogue with elders and staff members to learn how The Green House model creates caring homes and meaningful lives for those who live and work there. This opportunity gave the model a national stage to share the impact that it can have for elders and staff in long term care.