A Sage’s Testimonial of Short Stay Rehabilitation in a Green House home

By / Posted on March 29th, 2017

For the last few years, I have served as a Sage (volunteer who supports and advises the self managed work team) at The Green House homes of Mirasol.  Recently, my role was reversed, when I moved in to recover after an extremely taxing and debilitating surgery.  These homes are listed as 5 Star by Medicare and Medicaid, a wonderful professional endorsement.  I can tell you, however, that the essence of what I experienced, goes far beyond that checklist, and their stellar outcomes reflect something much deeper and more comprehensive.

The Green House homes were the only attractive option for rehab within 20 minutes from my home.  Because I know how popular The Green House homes are, I was worried that there would not be space for me.  I was delighted to be able recover in a Real Home. I knew that being a volunteer would be very different from being a guest in the community, but I couldn’t have predicted how impressed I would be, or the gratitude I would feel.

The Green House team ensured that the process was smooth and dignified from the very beginning.  They managed all the hospital paperwork, follow-up appointments and coordination, which in my mind already goes leagues above 5 stars!  The driver’s vehicle enabled me to sit comfortably up front, and he even offered me clip-on sunglasses, my choice of music and a warm blanket (an important touch on a freezing Colorado day).  We quickly fell into a comfortable chat and discovered many things that we had in common.

When I arrived, I was greeted warmly, like a long-lost, favorite uncle!  The Shahbazim (direct care staff) offered me the choice of going to my room for a rest, or staying at the table for a meal.  Having already having discovered my dietary preferences, they offered to make something special, just for me.  The whole home smelled scrumptious when I came in the front door! Just being there made me feel better, and I had a renewed appreciation for the airiness of the dining area, the good smells of the kitchen, and the warm, inviting fireplace area.

We went to my room – private room with private bathroom, thank goodness.  As I was oriented, I was reminded that no room is more than six doors from the hearth, and this was confirmed the next morning by the aroma of breakfast wafting into my bedroom.  How refreshing to recover without the long and disorienting corridors lined with carts of stale food or unmentionables waiting to be taken out back.  At no stage
was I “parked” anywhere in the house, as I have seen in other nursing homes, left alone to wait.  To be treated like a person, rather than an object; what this did for my well-being, I can’t begin to measure.

Dinner was a very communal event, and I felt very welcomed by my fellow elders at the table.  Some required help with eating, which the Shahbazim did casually and warmly with considerable skill and NO DEMEANING BIBS.  It immediately felt like the elders were interested in me as a fellow member of the house and its extended family of elders, staff and family members. The feeling of family was beautifully illustrated, as one elder spontaneously went over to another elder, who seemed unhappy, and simply gave him a hug.  It was then that I was brought to tears, so moved by the atmosphere of support and caring. The elders are empowered to care and support each other, creating a community of reciprocity, where everyone has something to offer.

The hearth in the center of the house is a place where elders and Shahbazim could naturally get to know each other more deeply, creating mutually supportive relationships as our stories are shared. What a realization to know that the more deeply we know each other, the more we are valued.  These relationships enable the elders and Shahbazim to go beyond medical needs, and become connected, helping each other to live the best life possible.

The staff appeared to be encouraged to stop over each day and chat for a while just to get to know me better.  I felt understood, and like the things that were important to me, were important to them.  If I had a visitor (like my wife of 51 years) or was engaged elsewhere, my nurse would ask if I would prefer she come back later. She put me in the driver seat of my care, and made me feel like she honored my privacy and dignity. The Shahbazim seemed to anticipate my needs, incorporating what they learned about me from our conversations, and providing personalized care that went well beyond my physical needs.  Team members would stop by at the end of their shift to just chat about their plans for the rest of the day, to ask advice, or to ask me about my life stories.  This genuine caring, was something that I hadn’t experienced in other nursing home/rehab settings, and it was so gratifying and replenishing.  To be known and truly valued, this is better than the best medicine.

What a phenomenal rehabilitation experience, delivered by wonderful people who love their
job, love the people they work with and the elders they serve.  The Green House homes provide opportunities for these open-hearted people to grow and develop their already extraordinary gifts.  I am honored to be able to share my experience as a testimonial to others who are seeking a place where they can recover, not only physically, but holistically.  It is because of this experience that I healed so rapidly, with caring and the preservation of my dignity.

Learn more about The Green House homes at Mirasol>>

 


Ave Maria Home Receives Grant to Build Safe Havens for Victims of Abuse

By / Posted on March 6th, 2017

Acting on a strong mission to serve elders in need, Ave Maria home, in Bartlett, TN is embarking on Phase II of their Green House journey.  They are currently building five 12-bed Green House homes that will join four Green Houses built six years ago.  The new homes have a special purpose, to serve as a safe haven for elders who have experienced abuse.

To support this worthy endeavor, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. has awarded them a grant of $500,000.  Ave Maria CEO, Frank Gattuso, states “It’s exciting to have a national foundation’s involvement in recognizing the importance of care for our elders.  The Weinberg Foundation is committed to assisting elders through post-acute care and culture change in our community with these Green House homes.”

Maureen Conley, family member of one of the Ave Maria residents.

The Green House model has within it, the power to impact those who live and work there.  The comprehensive transformation of environment, philosophy, and organizational redesign creates an interelated web that supports people to flourish.  Ave Maria home is a leader in Tennessee elder care, and we are so proud to be a part of their innovative and compassionate work.

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. are integral partners.  Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project shares, “Since 2013, the reach of The Green House Project has been expanded through the generous support of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Their involvement enables the Green House® Project to make an even greater impact, bringing a highly and more personalized standard of care to elders in every community.   These funds have furthered innovation in the field and are vital to extend truly excellent, affordable long term care to all people regardless of acuity level or ability to pay.”

Congratulations to Ave Maria Home, on this truly important work, and the national recognition and support

.

 


An Outing To Enjoy The Season Reflects True Empowerment

By / Posted on February 25th, 2017

Kris Angevine with house pup, Lexi

 

One of my proudest moments as a Guide for the Penfield Green House homes was when one of the Shahbazim (self-managed team of direct care staff), Wendy, texted me and said “Hurray!  We made it!” … I didn’t know what she meant and I was at our legacy building about 20 minutes away so I couldn’t just pop over to clarify the news.  The therapeutic recreation specialist for our Green House homes, Mimi,  has an office across from me, so I moseyed over to her and asked her if she knew what Wendy could mean?   Mimi said “Nope, I don’t know anything.” So, I texted Wendy back and asked her “Made it where?  What are you all up to?” She replied, “Check Facebook!”

photo on Facebook of elders riding to their Naples adventure

I didn’t have time to check the site, as I was rushing off to another meeting so it was an hour later before I was able to close the loop.  As it turned out,  all 10 elders, the Shahbazim and a Nurse were buying grape pies in Naples, NY which is about 2 hours away.  The team planned the whole thing, scheduled the van, grabbed the credit card, and even got the other House to come over and check on Lexi, the house dog, because this was her first time on her own.  On their way home, they stopped for lunch, and enjoyed the iconic fall scenery in upstate NY.  It was beautiful, well executed, and neither the “boss” or “activities” knew anything about it.

True empowerment at its best!


A Memorable Welcoming Ritual Creates Warm Feelings for Elders and Staff

By / Posted on September 21st, 2016

 

Jemi Mansfield is the Guide for The Green House homes at Cedar Sinai Park, and the Director of Spiritual Life for the organization. Cedar Sinai Park opened their first Green House home in July 2016, and the self managed work team created a beautiful welcoming ritual to make sure that the elders felt special and loved as they moved into their new home.  The below story is an account of what can happen when a team is empowered to make decisions that bring value to their role, their home and those whose lives they touch.  

Right from the start, the self managed work team (called shahbazim) in our Green House home knew they wanted to have a small gift waiting in the bedrooms as the elders moved in – something special and personalized to really make it feel like home. Jane, a shahbaz,  recalled that when she and her husband went away for their 40th anniversary the hotel surprised them not only with champagne and

The Infamous Dollar Tree shopping trip

chocolates in their room but also a banner hanging in the lobby. “It was unexpected and so touching,” she said. That and similar experiences shared by others laid the foundation for a gift bag filled with goodies awaiting residents. A list of personal care items was compiled: shampoo, lotion, toothbrush and paste, shaving gear for the gents, etc. – and the Shahbazim took off on an impromptu shopping trip to Dollar Tree, which was a highlight for Carol during the practicum weeks. “I liked that we worked together to plan the list and then shop,” she said. “Nothing went into the basket that we didn’t all agree upon – a real team effort.” They also bought welcome cards, which were personalized for each resident and signed by the entire team. On July 25th, move-in day, each gift bag was festooned with a cheery balloon and placed in a prominent spot alongside an African Violet plant for each resident: a reminder of the roots of the Eden Alternative to bring living things into each home.

Everyone knew that the goodie bags were going to be a hit, but the star of the welcome gifts is really the blanket. Jane had hit upon the idea during a brainstorming session – that each resident should be given something uniquely theirs to keep and enjoy in the house. She suggested a crocheted lap blanket, made by volunteers. The group jumped on the notion immediately but acknowledged that, at less than two weeks to opening, they faced a lack of time to pull together a project of this size. Nicole, a member of the self managed team,  mentioned that her son, who has autism and touch sensitivity, has a favorite type of blanket that she buys at Costco. “It’s beyond soft,” she explained. “It offers him comfort and warmth, and that’s what we want our residents to experience.” She brought in a sample the next day, and the group of Shahbazim were sold: it truly was the softest blanket in the world.

Edith with her personalized blanket The finishing touch was to personalize the gift. Each resident’s blanket was embroidered with his or her first name and the date of move in: July 25, 2016. The blankets were presented to the elders by the Shahbazim at the first dinner, as they enjoyed “convivium” (good food with good company) around the big table where meals are served together. Tony, a shahbaz,  created a lively atmosphere as he led all in a boisterous round of the “Name Game”, welcoming each elder to their new home.

lively atmosphere at the dinner tableAs new residents eventually move in, they will receive their own blanket, emblazoned with their name and move-in date to denote their place in the household. As Alisa, another shahbaz, pointed out, “This is a fresh start for our residents. A new setting, a new chapter, a new home. It’s right that they should start this chapter with something new and truly theirs.”

In the days that followed, we received a sweet note from Maureen, whose sister is among the first residents (the Alpha House Twelve, we lovingly call them). The note reads, “To all you dear people who gave Pam such a wonderful welcome to her new home. Last Monday, July 25, was a red letter day which we will always remember when we look at her beautiful new blanket and all the lovely bag of presents, card, balloon and flowers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for Pam. You are truly wonderful!”

Learn more about Cedar Sinai Park>>

 


The Green House Project Reaches Important Milestone

By / 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.“

Exterior of new JKV with 12 homes May 26 2016John 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.”

kitchen_cedar sinaiCedar 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.


The Woodlands at John Knox Village, Resident Initiated Green House homes

By / Posted on July 26th, 2016

john knox exterior construction

Construction of The Woodlands at John Knox Village

The Woodlands at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach, Florida is the first Green House project to be initiated by the residents themselves. My wife, Twylah and I, live at John Knox Village and were instrumental in bringing this model to our community. When the organization began discussing plans to build a new nursing home, the residents had a simple request; we wanted private rooms with private baths. However, as we researched more, we discovered The Green House model, and realized that privacy was only the beginning.

john knox tree three

John Knox Residents

Twylah immediately got excited about the concept. I was not as convinced. I questioned if the program was financially wise, and if our village could afford it. I had doubts as to the quality and efficiency of preparing meals in each home, and how worthwhile it would be for us to pay outside Green House “experts” who might dictate plans and organizational structures not appropriate for John Knox Village.

In 2011, I suggested that Twylah and I visit some existing Green House homes. I felt it unfair for me to reject the concept in ignorance, so we arranged our summer vacation to include requests to visit Green House homes across the country.

Our trip’s first visit was to Buckner Westminster Place, in Longview, Texas. I remember when we entered the home, thinking, “Wow, this doesn’t look like a nursing facility at all!” Visiting with their leadership and hearing of their success began to alter some of my concerns.

The Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place, Magnolia AR

The Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place, Magnolia AR

Continuing our trip, we drove to Magnolia, Arkansas, where we were welcomed at The Green House Cottages of Wentworth Place. Twylah’s enthusiasm grew, and after conversations with leadership and administration, I began to consider “why would we want to re-invent the wheel, this seems to be a proven model.”

Both of us were impressed by the testimonials of Shahbazim (versatile workers who serve as care staff) and Guides, who raved about the quality of care they were able to provide in this new model, “I never would want to work in a traditional style again” seemed to be a recurring theme.

By our fourth visit to The Green House Homes at Traceway in Tupelo, Mississippi, I found my concerns regarding the cost, the food, and the organization had been resolved. The value of working with The Green House Project was clear and we were certain that we could trust them to guide through this transformation.

All of our research paid off. We could adopt the proven elements and core values of The Green House model and still create homes that would reflect the culture of Florida and John Knox Village. John Knox leadership agreed and decided to become a trademarked Green House organization. In every way, we has benefited from working with The Green House Project on this quest. Their training and guidance is unsurpassed. After much hard work, the organization opened 12 Green House homes of 12 elders each, in a seven story building on May 26th, 2016.

john knox ribbon cutting

Ribbon Cutting for The Woodlands at John Knox Village

As the first Green House nursing home in Florida, we hope that we are establishing a trend in the state toward person-centered care. How grateful we are to live at John Knox Village, an organization that really listens to its residents, and ensures that, as our needs change, we will receive top notch care in a wonderful home.

To learn more about The Woodlands at John Knox Village, we invite you to visit the web at http://www.woodlandsjkv.com


Cedar Sinai Park Makes Oregon the 30th State to Open Green House homes

By / Posted on July 22nd, 2016

Sandra Simon, CEO

Sandra Simon, CEO, Cedar Sinai Park

Oregon became the 30th state to open Green House homes as Cedar Sinai Park celebrated the grand opening of their first long term care homes.  “The Green House project creates an environment that doesn’t just feel like home – it IS

their home,” says Cedar Sinai Park, CEO, Sandra Simon. “It is built on the premise that each resident should be able to make the decisions that shape how they live each precious day. The Green House model is a natural progression of our philosophy at Cedar Sinai Park to treat everybody with love, honor and respect. This is the future of aging services, and we are proud to create the first Green House home in Oregon.”

The Green House Project has spent over a decade creating its new vision for the future of elder care and research shows, they have potential to deliver better outcomes than

kitchen_cedar sinai

Kitchen in Green House home

traditional nursing homes.

Simon continues, “Green House homes combine the best of a real home setting with skilled care, giving elders the freedom to live life on their terms rather than conform to the rhythms of the institution.” The model is built on core values that include:

 

  • Meaningful life focused on personal choices,
  • Consistent, compassionate, highly trained and empowered staff
  • Advanced, research driven medical services in a real

Senior Director, Susan Ryan commended the organization,  “It says something when a community can be a part of a radical transformation like The Green House model.  It says, that we are progressive, and we are creating an age friendly society.”

To learn more about Cedar Sinai Park, visit their website: http://cedarsinaipark.org/dignity-by-design/ 

 


Living the Good Life: Sharla Lee

By / Posted on July 13th, 2016

Living

 

“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 tshahbaz and elder standing and embracingo 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 enableelder woman and child at pianos 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.
exercises_setting table

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.elder man and woman eating on terrace 2

elder woman reading curled in chairMae 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”.

 


Chief Experience Officer, New Position Created to Support Person-Directed Care

By / Posted on June 29th, 2016

The Green House model is a radical transformation of traditional long term care.  As a national initiative, Green House adopters are continuously innovating, taking this already proven model to new heights.  The New Jewish Home (formerly, Jewish Home Lifecare), has named veteran eldercare executive Tammy L. Marshall its first Chief Experience Officer, to support a deep and sustained culture change. Ms. Marshall was previously the organization’s Director of Green House Education.

tammy_marshall_headshot2016_preferredIn this newly created position, Ms. Marshall is responsible for leading efforts to create the best possible experience for everyone whom the organization touches.  Ms. Marshall’s chief responsibility will be to ensure that the central tenet of The Green House model—that power resides with the elder and those working closest to them– permeates all facets of the organization.  Building relationships and new kinds of connections between staff members and residents, will be a critical part of Ms. Marshall’s job.

Said Audrey Weiner, President and CEO, The New Jewish Home: “There is no one better qualified to become our first chief experience officer than Tammy Marshall. She brings to the job not only the technical skills and the experience required, but also an unparalleled commitment to the humanity that underlies The Green House model and person-directed care. She is an unrepentant evangelist for the right of elders and those who care for them to live fully realized lives in which their wishes and their contributions are uniquely valued.”

To be called The Living Center of Manhattan, the 20-story structure will be New York City’s first Green House residence and the first to be built in a major urban environment. In keeping with The New Jewish Home’s focus on putting a persons’ wishes first, several of The Living Center’s 22 individual Green House households will be kosher and, in another first for New York City, at least one will be all-LGBTQ, although LGTBQ residents will be welcome in every household.

It has been said that culture change is a journey without a destination, and The New Jewish Home is helping to shape the changing landscape of aging in society.  For more information, visit www.jewishhome.org.

 


Personalized Care Creates Real Homes for Elders

By / Posted on March 25th, 2016

kiplinger_horizontalThe 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.”

old and young hand

old and young hand

 

To read more stories and experiences from these Green House homes, read the full article here>>


Reclaiming Elderhood

By / Posted on February 25th, 2016

Andrea Tyck is the Wellness Director at Mt San Antonio Gardens, a Life Care Community in Pomona, California.  She is also a Green House Educator and helped to open the first Green House homes in California.

Andrea Tyck, Green House Educator, Mt. San Antonio Gardens, Pomona, CA

Andrea Tyck, Green House Educator, Mt. San Antonio Gardens, Pomona, CA

In Jerry Spinelli’s book Hokey Pokey, Hokey Pokey is a place where there are no adults. Kids are in charge and free to roam.  The main character, Jack, is the de facto leader and is loving his life until things start to change.  A tattoo, present on the bellies of all the inhabitants of Hokey Pokey, begins to fade.  When his bike, the symbol of his power and influence is stolen, he oddly begins to adjust to its absence. And what’s worse is that his enduring disdain for girls and a girl named Jubilee, in particular, is beginning to lose its grip.  She might even become a friend.   In addition Jack begins to sense that he is going to be leaving Hokey Pokey although he doesn’t  know why or how.  Jack tells Jubilee he thinks he is leaving that night.  When she asks “How do you know?” he replies “I don’t. It’s like” – he stares up into her eyes – “I’m on a bike I can’t steer, can’t stop.”  “So….,” she says, “Where to?”  He hangs full weight from her eyes.  “Beats me.”

The book cover explains that it is “a timeless tale of growing up and letting go, of reverence and remembrance of that moment in childhood when the world opens up to possibilities never before imagined.”   Ever since I read it I have been thinking of how the process of children becoming adults might be similar to the process of adults becoming elders.

Dr. Bill Thomas makes a case that elderhood is a distinct part of human development and that part of the process of that development is leaving adulthood. In very broad terms that means moving from a primary focus on doing and generating to embracing the “being-rich responsibilities of making peace, giving wisdom, and creating a legacy.”  In the land of Hokey Pokey, Jack’s transition out of childhood is perceptible but vague.  The reader has a sense of what might be happening to Jack (he is growing up) but the steps are still somewhat confounding.  Might that be similarly true of one’s growth out of adulthood and development into elderhood?  Are there signs that the purposes in your life and the mechanisms by which you enjoy, ponder and resolve things have been transformed?    Are there treasured parts of you or your life that you no longer have (like Jack’s bike) that you realize you are ok without?

The book ends with Jack back in the “real world” preparing to redo his bedroom with his dad to make it less childish.  There is a sense of hope, that all is right.  That the magical world he left behind wistfully has been left for “possibilities never imagined.”  Perhaps the journey into elderhood can also be hopeful, that leaving adulthood is as it should be, and that it is , per Dr. Thomas, a “complex ripening, a richness that is unavailable to those who remain in the fevered grip of adulthood.”

 


Portrait of a Green House Leader, Joyce Ebmeier

By / Posted on January 29th, 2016

What Does it Mean to Lead Meaningful and Sustainable Change

The “Portrait of a Green House Leader” webinar series continues by highlighting the talents of Joyce Ebmeier, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning for Tabitha Health Care Services in Lincoln, NE. Tabitha offers a continuum of services to elders, including the first Green House homes in Nebraska and the second built nationally. Joyce attributes her desire to work in elder care to her deep relationship with her grandmother and the wisdom she shared with her growing up. After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in Education, she pursued a career in teaching before beginning her career with Tabitha in 1981, where she served as the administrator of their nursing and rehabilitation center for fourteen years. Currently, as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, she is responsible for directing the overall planning, monitoring, communication, and progress of Tabitha’s business and strategic plan.

Joyce_web

Joyce (right) with her mother

Joyce was inspired to champion the development of Tabitha’s four Green House homes after listening to Dr. Thomas speak about The Green House vision in 2001. As an administrator of a traditional facility, she knew the opportunity to imagine a blank page, and create more of what she knew elder care could be through The Green House model was the next step in writing Tabitha’s future chapters. After sharing the vision, the board approved the development of one Green House home after half the initial funds were raised. Joyce identifies that engaging with a grant writer to help locate available funding sources and network with organizational leaders was a crucial strategy to raise the initial funds for the Martin house, their first Green House home to nine elders. After they demonstrated the success of the model through the Martin house, three more homes were built, with plans to purchase property and build four additional homes in the future.

From a cost perspective, Joyce states that their Green House homes are major contributors to the success of the

Construction of a Green House home on Tabitha's campus

Construction of the Good House

entire company. Specifically, adding Green House homes for long term care into Tabitha’s continuum of services provided an opportunity to expand their capacity for post acute short term rehabilitation in their legacy building. This balance of costs and revenues combined aids in the growth of Tabitha’s entire organization. Further, Joyce describes that the quality of care associated with their Green House homes has become a hallmark within the community that is a “magnet” for people seeking long term care. This high demand results in a reliable, sustainable census that is crucial for overall operational success.

However, Joyce notes that the true success or “magic” of The Green House model comes from the incredible people who live and work in the homes and the culture created to foster deep knowing relationships. “It’s the most important part of getting The Green House model correct. If you don’t have the right people and you don’t provide an environment which empowers them to do their work with the elders… if that doesn’t happen the most beautiful and perfectly designed houses are really a waste of time and money.” At Tabitha, recruiting extremely creative, great people has resulted in

Annual Green House carnival

Annual Green House carnival

unique teams in each home where people feel empowered to bring who they are into their work. This results in extraordinary events and celebrations, such as their annual Green House carnival, and quiet everyday moments of compassion, love, and joy in the homes that couldn’t occur in a traditional setting. For Joyce, when talking about her accomplishments in her career, she identifies working with The Green House Project as the one she’s most proud of, yet is continuously striving for success in providing the highest quality of care for elders. When thinking about her Green House legacy in the future, she hopes it reads “But as remarkable as the Green House model became, what came next from these pioneers in elder care was even better.”

Listen to this recorded webinar interview>>