Green House Living in Wyoming Prepares To Welcome Elders

By / Posted on January 5th, 2012

Green House Living for Sheridan

The nation’s first grassroots-organized Green House Project homes will open their doors to welcome elders on January 31st in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Nearly five years in the making, Green House Living in Sheridan has completed construction on two of four planned Green House cottages at the newly created Village at Cloud Peak Ranch. Two more cottages will be completed by mid-February, serving a total of 48 elders, and a grand opening celebration is scheduled for March.

Green House Living in Sheridan President Doug Osborn shared the news Dec. 30 and said the community-based initiative would not have been possible without support from volunteers and contributors from every level of local government and walk of life.

“The Scott Cottage, the Watt Cottage, the Whitney Cottage, the Founders Cottage… will introduce this change in nursing home care to the state of Wyoming and help other communities as they consider providing the kind of care and fulfilling lives our elders deserve,” Osborn said.

Green House Living in Sheridan will provide 24/7 skilled nursing care but it is not a nursing home or assisted living facility. Elders have their own private room with bathroom and shower, and each cottage has a spa room near the kitchen. Up to 12 elders share a cottage and a central living and dining area. Each cottage has a household team of Shahbazim who care for, cook for and eat with the elders.

“We have a table where everyone sits together and experiences what we call convivium, which is the experience of eating together, just like in a real home,” said Green House Living administrator Chris Szymanski in an interview with Sheridan Media posted online here.

What really sets the model apart is the philosophy and organizational structure. The Shahbazim and all medical and support staff are trained in a circular organizational structure centered around the elders, creating an environment for them to grow and thrive, like in a “green house.”

The model is designed to transform the experience for both the elders and the staff. Sheridan just completed the first round of training Shahbazim for the Scott and Watt cottages and will begin training the second round later this month.

“Especially gratifying is watching our new employees in training, wrapping their minds and souls around the concepts and methods which define the Green House model,” Osborn said.

Visit SheridanGreenHouse.org for more information, photos and updates on Wyoming’s first Green House Project.