Leaders Speak Out about the Value of The Green House model

By / 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


Engage a Diverse Workforce to Increase Success

By / 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.

The Small House Pilot in California, Changing the Face of Aging

By / 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.

Person-Directed Lives Exemplified Through Interviews

By / 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:

Register Today for The Distinguished Speaker Webinar Series and OnSite Workshops

By / Posted on December 22nd, 2017

Register Today for The Distinguished Speaker Webinar Series and OnSite Workshops
  • 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>>
  • 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>>
  • 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>>

A Global Community of Thought Leaders at The Green House Annual Meeting

By / 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.

Monique, shahbaz at Weinberg Green House homes in Detroit, MI

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

Words to Leave Behind was followed by a round of Words Make Worlds

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.

Yaron from Israel, and Janet from Alaska reunited after meeting 8 years ago at Seward Mountain Haven

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.

New York Times Calls The Green House, “A Better Kind of Nursing Home”

By / Posted on December 22nd, 2017

Green Hill, West Orange, NJ

At The Green House, vision is merged with rigor, passion with determination, and a belief  that there’s never a best that can’t be made better.   In their article, “A Better Kind of Nursing Home”, The New York Times says, The Green House model is demonstrating that life in long term care can be different. With real life experiences to support the movement, and world-class research to keep improving, the potential for future impact is vast.

“Lots of things look different when you step into a small Green House nursing home.  The bright living and dining space, filled with holiday baubles at this season. The adjacent open kitchen, where the staff is making lunch. The private bedrooms and baths. The lack of long stark corridors, medication carts and other reminders of hospital wards.”

Robyn Grant, public policy director for The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, emphasizes that the goal of this shift that The Green House Project is leading means “deinstitutionalizing nursing homes, making them more like the way we’ve lived all our lives, with our own routines and familiar objects.”

Green Hill hearth decorated for holidays

The national initiative has committed itself to the rigors of research in pursuit of continued growth.  Research has shown that model components such as consistent and increased staffing, lead to deep knowing of the elder and early detection of health changes, “The [THRIVE] researchers found that Green House residents were 16 percent less likely to be bedridden, 38 percent less likely to have pressure ulcers and 45 percent less likely to have catheters. Avoidable hospitalizations and readmissions were also lower, reassuring observers who wondered if the Green Houses’ emphasis on quality of life meant sacrificing quality of care.”

In a dynamic world and healthcare landscape, it is essential to be a part of the solution. The Green House Project “Compared to traditional nursing homes, no doubt about it,” said Dr. Sheryl Zimmerman of the THRIVE research team. “It’s a preferable model of care.”

Read the Full New York Times Article>>

Green House Featured as Innovator at National LeadingAge Conference

By / Posted on October 20th, 2017

To care well for others, we need to reinforce our own passion for what we do—and actively work to improve how to support our country’s aging population today. That’s exactly what we do at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO, our nation’s largest annual event for the not-for-profit aging services field. In education sessions, during general sessions and through eye-opening, one-of-a-kind experiences, you and your team will be immersed in our shared mission of helping older adults thrive.”

The Green House Project is looking forward to opportunities to connect with visionary organizations at this of this event.  Please visit us in the exhibit hall at booth #1913.  Also, don’t miss this informative, challenging and stimulating sessions that feature Green House expertise and innovation:

Monday, October 30, 2017

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

22-C. Integrated vs. Segregated Environments for Persons With Dementia

  • Examine the pros and cons of integrating versus separating elders living with dementia in different settings.
  • Consider how the approach to dementia care and programming has evolved as the physical environment of memory care “units” continues to change from locked wings to neighborhoods.
  • Assess your organization’s philosophy and care practices as they relate to those living with dementia and their care partners.


  • Audrey Weiner, President & CEO, The New Jewish Home, New York, NY
  • Ann Wyatt, Manager, Palliative & Residential Care, CaringKind, New York, NY
  • Susan Ryan, Senior Director, Green House Project, Linthicum, MD
  • Tammy Marshall, Chief Experience Officer, The New Jewish Home, New York, NY
  • J. David Hoglund, Principal and Director, Perkins Eastman, Pittsburgh, PA

 Tuesday, October 31, 2017

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

48-F. From Traditional Skilled Nursing to Green House® Model

  • Discover how resident leadership, administration and board members achieved consensus to transition toward a new model of care.
  • Understand how the new financial model created a platform for new funding opportunities and revenue streams.
  • Consider planning, forecasting, marketing and implementation pitfalls to avoid from both a financial and care perspective.


  • Gerald Stryker, President/CEO, John Knox Village of Florida, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL
  • Rob Seitz, Marketing & Communications Manager, John Knox Village of Florida, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL
  • Jean Eccleston, CFO, John Knox Village of Florida, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL
  • David Haun, Resident, John Knox Village of Florida, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL
  • Twylah Haun, Resident, John Knox Village of Florida, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL
  • Nanette Olson, Executive Director of the Foundation, John Knox Village of Florida, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL
  • Monica McAfee, Director of Sales and Marketing, John Knox Village of Florida, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL

Green House Highlighted at 2017 Pioneer Network Conference

By / Posted on July 27th, 2017

Next week, visionary leaders will come together at the 2017 Pioneer Network Conference.  The theme, ‘Be The Future’, is a powerful charge to change the way society views aging, and create a better world for elders and those who work closest to them.  The goal of this conference is to showcase innovative thought and best practices in the long-term care culture change movement.  The Green House model is featured throughout the conference, and the national initiative is leading two sessions, one on the value of short term rehabilitation with a Green House home, and one on Best Life for elders living with dementia.

Short term rehabilitation presents an opportunity to position an organization for the future. The small house model provides a consumer-driven experience that leads to positive outcomes.  During the education session, The Green House Project will highlight The Woodlands of John Knox Village, an organization who has captured their market by utilizing The Green House model for short term rehabilitation.  They will share how they achieve positive outcomes using functional rehabilitation in the home, establish credibility with key stakeholders, and positively impact their bottom line.

As the population of the United States ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and related dementia is growing. Dementia was estimated to cost the United States more than $236 billion in 2016.  To address this challenge, The Green House Project has developed Best Life, an initiative that aims to connect elders with life and community through the philosophical, architectural, and organizational elements of The Green House model. It requires dedicated teams, extensive knowledge of the types of dementia, and a fervent belief in the unique ability of every individual to enjoy a meaningful life.

The Green House Project is a proud leader of what is possible in long term care.  This conference is a time to connect with like-minded visionaries.  As the paradigm shifts to view elders as creative, resourceful and whole, their potential is unlocked, and we all benefit.

Learn more about The Pioneer Network>>

New CMS Regulations, a Win for Person-Directed Living

By / Posted on April 7th, 2017

As thought leaders Green House adopters lead the way by supporting, and deeply knowing each individual living in their homes. With the introduction of new CMS regulations comes the opportunity for Green House homes to demonstrate how the model is designed to ensure each elder is able to live on his/her own terms. “Language and being focused on the elder vs. the disease, makes a difference.  At The Green House Cottages of Carmel, we developed our policies and procedures prior to these new regulations, and it felt great to see that what we knew in our hearts to be right, was reflected in government mandates.” said Melody DeCollo, Guide of  The Green House homes of Carmel, in Indiana.

The Green House Project invited, Carmen Bowman, a nationally recognized expert in all things regulatory and culture change to facilitate two webinars exclusively for The Green House Peer Network about the new CMS regulations. In these webinars, Carmen highlighted where, specifically, the new regulations support The Green House Core Values, and how Green House adopters can leverage them to even more fully realize the benefits of the model.  Says Carmen, “There is power in the institution to shut people down, and there is power in the home to bring people back to life.”

There were many areas to highlight, but here are a few of the hot topics:

Language – Words Matter! Where are the opportunities for Green House adopters to utilize language that is more person-centered and less institutional?

  • Community (or home) vs Facility
  • Individual vs Resident/Patient
  • Real Home vs Homelike
  • Meaningful Engagement vs Activities
  • Approaches vs Interventions

Proactive Approach- How can we learn to be ‘preventionists’ and align with an elder’s natural rhythms, patterns and preferences to meet their needs before an issue escalates?

Daily Community Meetings – How does The Green House model support teams to approach issues in real time to emulate the concept of daily community meetings? Where are the opportunities to involve/engage elders in decision making

Care Planning – What are Green House adopters doing to ensure Shahbazim (direct care staff), elder, and family voices are heard in care plan meetings? How can we intentionally gain the rich information that yields deep, knowing relationships?

Highest practicable level of well-being – By intentionally focusing on the physical, social and mental wellness of the person, it expands and elevates the experience. What do individuals need to thrive?

Creating Real Home and Personal Belongings – “We really want to know who you are, so please bring in things that are special to you to decorate our home”.  WHO is doing WHAT to ensure elder’s personal belongings are brought into the home/their room?

Meaningful Engagements – Take a moment and consider, is it real life, or fake life? Break apart the word to understand… What is meaningful? What is engaging?  People want to make a difference, how can we support people to live lives of purpose?

Food and Nutrition – What are Green House homes doing that showcase the power of deep knowing that supports individual preferences?  What can we do to expand ‘choice’ and offer it around the clock.

These new regulations were created in response to person-directed care, that means that our work to change the culture of aging is making a difference! We need to keep telling our stories, and letting the world know that aging and long term care can be different. We want to hear from you! If these new regulations are supporting you to shine—email us at inquiries@thegreenhouseproject.org.

The Visionary Leadership Behind the First PACE Green House homes

By / Posted on March 30th, 2017

Green House homes are dynamic and able to impact innovation in many different settings.  The first Green House homes to be incorporated with a PACE community have opened as part of The Thome Rivertown Neighborhood in Detroit.  It is an honor to be able to open the doors of accessibility for low income elders through this partnership. 

PACE is the acronym of the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.  PACE programs are government-funded managed care health plans that also provide comprehensive health services for individuals age 55 and over who have health needs classified as “nursing home eligible” by their state’s Medicaid program.  The goal is to keep chronically ill elders independent for as long as possible –preventing avoidable  hospitalizations, emergency visits and stays in nursing homes.

Roger Myers is CEO of Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, and Mary Naber is President/CEO of PACE Southeast Michigan.  They are the leaders behind this innovation, and hold the belief in this partnership to evolve the healthcare system.  “This is the future.  Health is about more than medical care.  To meet the needs of elders, the focus must be holistic, accessible and home based,” Naber says.

The goal of PACE is to keep people as independent as possible and to avoid nursing home stays.  Despite that, nationally 7% of PACE participants still end up spending some time in long term care, according to Naber, “less because of a need for skilled care, and more because they are not safe to stay in their homes.”

“As we know, even the best traditional nursing home does not provide the greatest living experience, and now, for at least 21 people, The Rivertown Neighborhood is able to offer an alternative.  The Weinberg Green House homes meet their needs, support them to thrive and enable them to remain in the community,” says Naber.  “It’s very gratifying to be able to offer this option.  I wish I had 10 Green House homes for people!”

The Green House homes are licensed as Homes for the Aged, a distinction that provides flexibility and enables elders with a high level of need to live in the least restrictive environment possible.   As it happens, many of the people living in these homes have moved there from nursing homes.  The PACE program provides a “wrap-around” so that elders receive all the services they need, enabling The Green House home will be their home for life.

“The great thing about the co-location of the Weinberg Green House homes to the PACE center is that the elders receive all the same benefits as if they were living in their own homes, which they are- Green House homes.  Being right on the PACE campus will keep elders more mobile and socially engaged.  It will also help PACE clinicians stay in touch, and we know that frequent interactions can help prevent ER visits and other medical concerns.” explains Myers.

“Health is not just about medical care, especially when you’re dealing with chronic illness,” declares Naber.  By leveraging an interdisciplinary team rather than the typical doctor-driven model, the team at the Weinberg Green Houses are able to care for the WHOLE person: body, mind and spirit.

PACE Southeast Michigan is a 501c3 not-for profit government funded unique health plan and comprehensive care provider.   It is a jointly owned by Henry Ford Health System, one of the early PACE innovators, and Presbyterian Villages of Michigan.

The Thome Rivertown Neighborhood includes Independent Living, Assisted Living, the PACE Center and now The Green House homes.  Not everyone who lives on the campus is a part of PACE, but it is built as a continuum to enable low income and highly frail people to stay in their community as their health status changes.

Integrating residential living with PACE is proving to be an effective development that will hopefully spread throughout the country.  PVM led the development effort for this supportive neighborhood during the recession, and the idea was so compelling that they were able to achieve their goals.  A $2 million grant from the Baltimore-based Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation provided much of the support to make their vision to add Green House homes to the community a reality.



Green House Team Members Move “Heaven and Earth” for Patrick to Attend White House Reception

By / Posted on March 20th, 2017

Patrick O’Brian lives with ALS at Leonard Florence Center for Living, a Green House Project in Chelsea, Massachusetts.  His father, Mayor Kennedy O’Brian of Sayreville, NJ,was invited to the White House St. Patrick’s Day Reception, and he knew he had to find a way to bring his son.  Patrick’s dad said that the team from Leonard Florence Center (LFCL) moved “heaven and earth” to get his son to the event.   Patrick was able to shake the President’s hand and meet the Irish Prime Minister…It was certainly a once in a lifetime experience.

LFCL has a long history of connecting people to meaning and adventure. From trips to Cape Cod and Disney World, to sky diving, this organization believes that well-being is about a lot more than physical health.

Beyond this exciting event, Patrick O’Brian is a filmmaker.   He was honored in 2015 at the Tribeca Film festival for, Transfatty Lives, a piece that he created with eye gaze technology, while living at LFCL.

We celebrate Green House homes who are pushing the envelope everyday to ensure people live full and meaningful lives, from simple pleasures like getting a cup of coffee just the right way, to traveling 12 hours with a full medical team and meeting the President.  “I’m just a proud father and a grateful father,” Kennedy O’Brian said.