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 Admin / Posted on October 15th, 2015
Reprinted from Colorado Health Care Association
The highest honor anyone can receive in Colorado long term care is the Vesta Bowden Achievement Award. This year’s award was presented to Nancy Fox, Chief Life Enhancement Officer with Vivage Quality Health Partners.
Nancy first applied her talents in the 1980s in Texas, including serving as an Administrator at a 120 bed facility, and then leaving to get her associate’s training at Eden in 1996. She was then “lured” to Colorado in 2008 to become Chief Life Enhancement Officer at Vivage where she, amongst other things, led the project development for the Green House Homes at Mirasol, a 60-person skilled nursing community in Loveland, Colorado.
Nancy has served in numerous capacities with respect to the Colorado Culture Change Coalition, the Pioneer Movement and several association and governmental committees and work groups including being named as the first Executive Director of the Eden Board of Directors.
Anyone who has heard one of her training sessions cannot help to be inspired and empowered to serve our elders in their communities. In her role as a mentor, one of the nominee letters stated that “she has impacted thousands of elders and staff by promoting positive, caring qualities through a person centered care philosophy. This role was recognized in 1999 when she was named as Eden’s first national mentor.
Besides her service on many association and governmental committees, Nancy has authored a book about leadership pathways in culture change; a guide for administrators for person-centered care; another guide, called the Neighborhood Guide which is a 30 module training course for transforming institutional thinking into self-directed working environments that is now taught nationally.
Nancy has gone the extra mile for the elders that we serve by giving freely and generously to them and our profession.
Congratulations Nancy Fox!
By Margaret Stansbury / Posted on August 7th, 2015
Congratulations to Washington County Nursing Home! They have recently broken ground on four new Green House homes. They took a moment to celebrate with a groundbreaking ceremony at the end of July. These Green House homes will be a total replacement of the current county nursing home and provide long term care to residents in Washington County, Colorado.
Washington County celebrated this milestone with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the construction site followed by an outdoor barbecue at the current nursing home. This event brought together many of the supporters who are making these Green House homes a reality including county commissioners, board members, nursing home staff, elders and community members all celebrated together. You can read more about the festivities and the Washington County Nursing Home here.
Grand Opening Celebration Takes Place for Colorado’s First Green House Homes – A Story of Partnership and Vision
By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on October 25th, 2014
The beautiful Rocky Mountains provide a wonderful view for Elders that will live in The Green House Homes at Mirasol in Loveland, Colorado. That view will only be matched by the person-directed living they will experience in this innovative model of skilled nursing care. Built on the campus of the Mirasol Senior Living Community, there will be six homes with each including: ten private bedrooms and bath, open kitchen, a hearth area along with a variety of other open spaces that will embrace socializing and the ability to live life in a meaningful way.
Sam Betters, Executive Director of the Loveland Housing Authority, said,
From my own personal experience of trying to provide the best care for my parents, I discovered that aging in America presents many challenges. I knew that there had to be a better option than the traditional institutional models for elder care. There is. It’s called The Green House Project. As we began our vision-quest, we didn’t know how we were going to make this happen. We just knew it had to be done.
Senior Director for The Green House Project, David Farrell, was on hand for the festivities on October 21st along with a number of other state and local leaders in Colorado.
David said, “These homes will help the Loveland Housing Authority meet a gap in its continuum of care-skilled nursing and allow Mirasol residents to remain a part of their existing community, deriving the benefits of receiving a higher level of care while still living independent and social lives.”
The Green House Project is part of Capital Impact Partners, a certified community development financial institution, which led the financing for this $17 million dollar project.
As a mission driven lender, this project fits well into our larger strategy to build strong, vibrant communities of opportunity for underserved populations. We are not only proud to help bring the Green House model to Colorado, but also the fact that a large percentage of the residents are Medicaid eligible,
said Terry Simonette, CEO of Capital Impact Partners. “It took a number of partners, and use of innovative tools like New Market Tax Credits to make this happen.”
Funding for the project included: $2 million dollar grant from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, program related investments from the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $2.5 million New Market Tax Credits, $3.4 million in tax credit equity from JPMorgan Chase plus a land donation by the Loveland Housing Authority.
We congratulate all who helped in the process of making these homes possible…and welcome everyone to the Green House family!
Click here to read more about this project and why leaders from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and the AARP Foundation were most pleased to make this development a reality!
By Claire Lucas / Posted on November 26th, 2013
It was a beautiful day in Loveland, Colorado for the historic groundbreaking ceremony of the first Green House homes in Colorado. The skies were clear and the beautiful Rocky Mountains provided a breathtaking view in the background. This Green House project is the result of a collaboration between Loveland Housing Authority and Vivage Quality Health Care Partners. These innovative groups worked with NCB Capital Impact, AARP foundation, The Weinberg Foundation and many other sources of financing to bring this project to life for low income elders:
A $16 million project takes a significant numbers of financial partners, as well as time. Nearly four years in the works, financing for the project includes New Market Tax Credits, $584,000 in fee waivers from the city of Loveland, $2.6 million from the Colorado State Division of Housing and a $2 million grant from Maryland-based nonprofit The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
Local residents were an integral part of planning the groundbreaking ceremony. The Reporter-Herald covered this collaborative event, “”The goal is to create rampant normalcy where people can feel at home,” said Nancy Fox, the chief life enhancement officer for Vivage Quality Heath Care Partners.
The program was kicked off by Sam Betters, Executive director of the Loveland Housing Authority. He shared the trials and successes of the long four year journey that led to securing financing for this important project, “It takes a lot of people to make this work, and we do this to meet the community’s needs,” Betters said Tuesday in remarks before a crowd Mirasol residents, local officials and a wide-range of partners.” The determined spirit and “can do” attitude was palpable throughout the ceremony.
Next Sue Mendenhall, the Resident Ambassador of Mirasol Senior Living Community described The Green House Project as “breathtaking in its innovation.” Major Cecil Gutierrez from the City of Loveland described Loveland as “one of the most innovative and creative cities demonstrated by art and projects the Loveland Housing Authority has come up with.”
“You are bringing something amazing to your state,” The Green House Project Chief Operating Operator Susan Frazier told the crowd. “You are becoming a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself.”
There are currently Green House projects in 25 states, with many more in development.
By hmarshall / Posted on December 19th, 2012
Mirasol Green House Homes, Loveland, CO
In development: 6 Individual Homes
Square Feet per Home: 7800
Description: This Green House Project is the third Phase of a 25 acre development created by the Housing Authority of the City of Loveland. The Green House homes occupy approximately five (5) acres of the Mirasol Senior Community and provide a continuum of housing opportunities for seniors. The Mirasol Senior Community is an “affordable” development offering apartment rentals, duplex rentals, and single family home ownership to those individuals 55+ who wish to thrive in an exciting and dynamic environment. The Green House Project completes the last piece of the housing continuum by offering a home to elders who require more assistance with their everyday lives.
The Mirasol Community residents are supported by a centrally located Event Center offering programs and services to all subscribing residents. The Event Center provides an exercise room and physical conditioning classes, a coffee bistro with continental breakfast, life enhancing seminars through various senior service organizations, a computer/copier/fax center, a small conference room, and a hair styling salon. Additional senior programming provided to the residents includes a variety of social events, special day trips and outings, transportation for shopping and medical appointments, and a full time staff available to assist any senior resident with life’s challenges.
As the developer of Mirasol, the Housing Authority of the City of Loveland has created a strong partnership with Vivage Quality Health Partner, a nationally-recognized long-term care management company with a 32-year history of successfully managing elder care homes in the Rocky Mountain and Midwest areas. With the Housing Authority’s extensive experience constructing and managing over 1200 affordable housing units and Vivage’s commitment to The Green House principals of care, The Green House homes on the Mirasol Senior Campus become an integrated part of the Community’s mission and elder housing.
Consisting of six (6) Green House homes, each with 10 bedrooms, the Mirasol Green House homes provide over 46,800 total square feet of living space. The resident elders enjoy the comfort of the latest in energy conservation technologies and environmentally clean air as each home has been designed to incorporate some of the most advanced products available in today’s market. Additionally, the Mirasol campus provides a comforting environment for elders with a significant amount of outdoor space and access to over two miles of wheel chair accessible trails.
The partnership with Vivage not only guarantees the elders an incredible living space, but ensures their care will be provided by some of the most dedicated and committed staff members in the country. The Vivage staff has adopted the concept of The Green House principals and provides management and staffing to more than 1,800 elders throughout the Rocky Mountain States. Their senior staff is highly engaged with other professionals throughout the United States and continuously works toward enhancing the care and programs offered to elders. Key to the success of Mirasol Green House plan is the Vivage staff constantly evaluating their work to improve and supported by an extensive training and career development program. The Vivage staff “integrates” into each home and provides both physical and mental support to their elders.
Financing for the development of this “affordable” Green House Project requires a variety of public and private resources. The underlining financial instrument is New Market Tax Credits offered through the Internal Revenue Service as a means to encourage a combination of residential and commercial/institutional development. But in order to provide for delivery of “affordable” care, a strong partnership needs to be created matching public grants from the State of Colorado, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, and the City of Loveland with private philanthropic funds available from corporate sponsorships committed to providing Green House modeled care. It is only through this combination of funding sources that the Housing Authority is able to offer such high quality affordable housing and services to the most deserving members of our community and deliver on our mission – “To provide quality care, compassionately respectfully, for individuals living in our homes. We are dedicated to working together with them, their families, our communities, and our staff, to provide a nurturing environment.”
For More Information About the Mirasol Green House Homes & Senior Community:
Moofie Miller, Director of Housing
The Housing Authority of the City of Loveland
Loveland, Colorado 80538
By ghblog / Posted on July 21st, 2011
In development: 3
Square Feet per Home: 0
This Green House project will replace the existing nursing home, which is licensed for 34. Four homes will be built in the town of Akron, CO (site yet to be determined).