By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 19th, 2018
It is a pivotal moment in California’s history. The Small House Pilot Program is now live, and it has the potential to clearly demonstrate that there is a better way to deliver skilled nursing care. This profound opportunity requires that nursing home providers across the state, take a stand, and say, NOW IS THE TIME!
The wait has been long, making this moment all the more powerful. In 2013, through a tenacious journey, Mt. San Antonio Gardens became the first Green House Project in California. The work that they did to make regulatory gains with stakeholders across the state blazed a trail and were codified in late 2012, as Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1228 (introduced by Sen. Elaine Alquist). The bill created The Small House Skilled Nursing Facilities Pilot Program, which authorized the development and operation of 10 pilot projects to deliver skilled nursing care in smaller, residential settings, “It puts the ‘home’ back into nursing home”, said Senator Alquist (D-San Jose). However, it wasn’t until early 2018, that the regulations to support this bill were released, and the request for applications is now open to the public. As a perennial advocate for elder directed, relationship rich living, The Green House Project is eager to support every effort to ensure the success of this opportunity.
The Green House Project has come to be recognized as the leader of the small house movement to create a high-quality, cost-effective, human-scale alternative to the traditional nursing home. Studies of the Green House model have found that:
• Residents have a better quality of life and receive higher-quality care than residents in traditional nursing homes.
• Staff report higher job satisfaction and increased likelihood of remaining in their jobs.
• Family members are willing to drive farther and pay more to have access to a Green House home for a loved one.
Real Home, Meaningful Life, and Empowered Staff: these core values align well with the regulations of the Small House Pilot in California, and they drive change in Green House homes, creating quality outcomes, consumer demand and preferred partnerships in the healthcare system.
With 15 years of expertise in design, education and evaluation, The Green House Project is a strong partner to support the expedited timeline and in-depth requirements of this pilot. The first deadline for submission is June, 2018. Design tools, like The Green House Prototype, along with educational protocols and policy and procedure expertise, will ensure an organization is able to successfully navigate this application. Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project says, “The Green House Project specializes in a comprehensive cultural transformation that shifts the beliefs, behaviors, and systems to ensure a lasting investment across an organizational system. It is more than simply a process from ‘this’ to ‘that’; a real transformation unleashes the best of what can be by accessing collective wisdom.” The national initiative stands ready to support nursing home innovators in California, to ensure better lives for elders and those who work closest to them.
With California’s number of individuals 85 and older expected to triple by 2030, the market for Green House homes and others like them is rapidly growing. Consumer demand for the kind and quality of care that The Green House model provides has long existed, but until recently, California’s regulatory and approval process had been unable to accommodate non-traditional models of care. In fact, it took almost seven years for Mt. San Antonio Gardens to gain the approval it needed from multiple local and state agencies. Inspired by their lessons learned, Senate Bill 1228, and the newly released regulations, will enable innovation without obstacle. The Green House Project calls every organization interested in creating a real home, meaningful life and empowered work opportunities for the citizens of California to contact us, and together we will forge a trail to a brighter future.
By Admin / Posted on May 22nd, 2017
THE GREEN HOUSE Homes at Saint Elizabeth Home in East Greenwich are open! These are the first new nursing homes to open in RI in over 25 years.
By Breanna Howell / Posted on April 5th, 2017
The Green House model has added passion and purpose to my family in many ways. My grandparents, David and Twylah Haun, are Independent Living residents at John Knox Village (JKV) and they were instrumental in bringing The Green House model to their community. We have had many great conversations about the model’s potential over the years, and it has become close to my heart as well. Currently, I am pursuing my doctorate in Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California (USC). When a professor challenged us to seek out opportunities and learn what it means to be a leader in healthcare, I immediately thought of my grandparents. This led to an exciting externship at The Woodlands at JKV. Before I stepped foot on the grounds at JKV, I was already destined to have valuable experiences simply based on the leadership skills I could learn from my grandparents.
I can still remember back in 2011 when bringing The Green House model to JKV became the main topic of our Thanksgiving meal ; My grandmother was interested and my grandfather was doubtful. Never ones to be easily convinced or to skimp on their research, they decided to take a road trip to eight different Green House homes to see this model in action. After visiting four homes, Grandfather was sold on the idea and came home to put their research into action. In the years since this initial exploratory trip, my grandparents have stayed very involved in The Green House initiative at JKV and also at a national level. They have spoken at the national Green House Meeting, contributed to The Green House blog, and helped with every aspect of creating and opening The Woodlands at JKV (including selecting paintings for the walls and dishes for the dining rooms, pictured right). Grandma has continued her active role in The Green House homes by becoming a Sage, a volunteer role that allows her to mentor and support the self managed work team to become a cohesive team and help create a real home for and with the elders.
In my program, we were discussing different models of care, and my professor brought up The Green House Project. It was something USC knew little about, but were excited to see how it could change the future. I was thrilled to be able to share my grandparents’ experiences with my 150 classmates and professors. I couldn’t wait to see the model in action! The Woodlands at JKV represents the first Green House homes in Florida, and they also offer homes dedicated to short term rehabilitation. Providing meaningful therapy in a natural environment is the ideal for an occupational therapist, and an exciting reality in the Green House homes.
I spent my externship running from meeting to meeting, soaking up as many experiences as possible, and asking questions about everything. From the staff in the homes to the people working across the whole community, I was continually impressed by the way they put the needs of the elder first, and balanced that with the success of the organization.
Some of my most meaningful interactions occurred with the elders, sharing stories of joy, belonging, and feeling safe in The Green House homes. In the end, this is why we do what we do, and it filled my heart with pride to be able to see this vision that my grandparents helped to carry forward, being lived out in such a beautiful way.
My time at JKV was a wonderful learning experience, and one that I will never forget. The Green House model is truly making a difference in the lives of the elders and those who are passionate about working with them. As a leader and therapist, I know that one of the greatest gifts I can give a client is to remind them that they are a unique individual who matters. From talking to the elders and listening to their stories, watching the direct care staff prepare meals in their home, participating in leadership meetings, and delivering mail to the homes with my grandmother, every experience taught me something valuable, and I am incredibly grateful.
By Rachel Scher McLean / 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.
By Frank Dornfest / 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>>
By Rachel Scher McLean / 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.”
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
By Kris Angevine / Posted on February 25th, 2017
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!”
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!
By Jemi Mansfield / 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
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.
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.
As 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!”
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 David and Twylah Haun / Posted on July 26th, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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
By Admin / Posted on July 22nd, 2016
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
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/
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”.