Leonard Florence Center Opens Third Specialized Green House Home

By / Posted on April 24th, 2016

When the decision was first made to build Green House homes, Barry Berman, CEO, Chelsea Jewish Foundation, said we knew the model was “extremely special, extremely unique and wondered what other vulnerable populations in addition to elders we could serve.  We challenged ourselves knowing that these individuals would probably be on Medicaid.”  As a mission driven organization they opened their 10 Green House homes with one dedicated to individuals living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, and one to individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis or MS.  An amazing achievement.

Today, they are excited to open another home for ALS individuals, the Dapper McDonald ALS Residence, thanks to a generous donation from the Dapper McDonald family as well as a group of individuals from New York who assisted in the process.

As Barry explained individuals with ALS are “transformed overnight” in the ALS Green House homes.  They gain “such profound independence”.  Below is the announcement of the new home.

We applaud all those who helped make the Dapper McDonald ALS Residence a reality!

lfclThe Dapper McDonald ALS Residence at the Leonard Florence Center for Living is now open! Due to an extremely generous donation of $3.5 million – and a commitment to raise $9 million in additional funds – the Chelsea Jewish Foundation was able to open a second home for individuals with ALS. The Center’s first home, the Steve Saling ALS Residence, opened in 2010 and has received world-wide acclaim; the Slifka MS Residence is devoted to residents living with MS.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer another residence to individuals with ALS,” states Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman. “There is such an incredible need for these homes, but the operating costs are extremely high. Thankfully, this donation has helped turn our dream of a second ALS home into reality.”

Richard “Dapper” McDonald was a New York businessman who was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. The news came as a shock to the entire family as it was something completely unfamiliar to them. Over the next seven months, the family took their lead from Dapper. He never slowed down or quit. He went to work every day and continued running his business despite the constant struggle. On July 15, 2009, nine months after his diagnosis, Dapper passed from ALS.

After touring the Center in an effort to replicate the home in New York, the family soon realized it was too difficult to develop the staff and technology that was already in place in Boston. As a result, a group of New York residents have donated a $3.5 million leadership gift and have committed to raising $12.5 million in total.

Welcome to all of our new Dapper McDonald residents! We are thrilled to have you join the Chelsea Jewish family.

 

For the last six years, Patrick O’Brien, has lived in the ALS residence.  Barry Berman describes him “as the most amazing individual I have ever met”.  Read below the story about Patrick’s movie and where to watch it.  The documentary is an amazing story and as Barry explained, Patrick “will always credit The Green House Project for giving him back his life”.

Leonard Florence Center Resident Living with ALS Directed and Produced an Award Winning Documentary!

The amazing documentary film, Transfatty Lives, directed and produced by Leonard Florence Center resident Patrick O’Brien, had its Boston premiere at the Revere Showcase Cinema in Revere on Sunday, April 3. The film won the 2015 Audience Award at the Tribeca and Milano Film Festivals, and is a featured selection in film festivals all across the world.patrick o'Brien

Transfatty Lives takes one on an emotional rollercoaster from Patrick’s wild, fun-loving days as a DJ and filmmaker into the heart of living with ALS. With the support of his friends and family, Patrick braves the unthinkable and turns his camera onto himself. He is able to capture all of the emotion, humor, and absurdity of real life – falling in love and fathering a child along the way.

All proceeds benefit the Patrick O’Brien Foundation. If you missed the premiere, you can still get Transfatty Lives on demand:  Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo

Link to Boston Globe article about Patrick


7th Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living Raised Over $100,000!

By / Posted on September 28th, 2015

ALS Walk for LivingContact:

Debbie Weisberg
DKW Communications
Debbiekweisberg@gmail.com
617-759-8883

7th Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living Raised Over $100,000!

Event Supported Revolutionary Urban Green House® Model Residences

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CHELSEA, MA (September 2015) –The 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living, a fundraiser to support individuals with ALS and MS as well as the innovative residences at the Leonard Florence for Living, was held on Sunday, September 27, 10am at 165 Captains Row on Admirals Hill.

The Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL) is the first urban model GREEN HOUSE® homes in the country and the world’s only fully vented ALS residence. The LFCL features neurological specialty residences with cutting-edge assistive technology, allowing individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) to receive skilled nursing care in a nurturing home environment. Walk for Living Photo 9-27-15

Bonnie Berthiaume was the first multiple sclerosis resident to move into the Leonard Florence Center for Living in 2010. The Center has, quite simply, changed her life. “Since moving here, I have been able to participate in wonderful outings; we have gone to Red Sox games, movies and the theatre,” explains Bonnie. “I have even gone skydiving three times!” The Leonard Florence Center, sponsored by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, consists of ten homes, with ten residents living in each home. The ALS and MS residents, many of whom are completely immobilized, are able to control the lights, turn on the TV, open doors and raise window shades — just by using their eyes.

Ten years after his ALS diagnosis, Patrick O’Brien, another LFCL resident, premiered his extraordinary film “TransFatty Lives” at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Lauded by both critics and attendees, the film won the “Top Audience Award,” which is the highest possible honor and chosen by peers. Although Patrick needs round-the-clock ventilation, he lives an active and busy life at the Center. In addition to producing films, Patrick travels, attends concerts, sporting events, movies and premiers. “I was officially diagnosed with ALS when I was 30 years old,” explains O’Brien. “It is a fatal and incurable disease yet I have chosen to do something with my illness. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”

Steve and Scott

Steve Saling with Green House team member, Scott Brown. Steve’s shirt has his mantra, “Life is Good” in bold letters!

Over the years, the ALS & MS Walk for Living has become an integral part of the local community. Over 1000 people attended this year’s walk. The event also honored Everett High School teacher Susan Lomas, who has been involved in the Walk since the start and has been instrumental in getting so many of the Everett High School’s students involved throughout the years. Moreover, Chelsea High School students and their families turned out in full force for this event, as they have in the past.

Popular radio and TV personality Billy Costa, co-host of “Matty in the Morning” on KISS 108, host of “Dining Playbook” on NESN and host of “High School Quiz Show” on WGBH was this year’s emcee and kicked off the two-mile walk. Major corporate sponsors included Biogen, M&T Bank, AHOA, Kayem and Clifton Larson. Immediately following the walk, there was a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, doughnuts provided by Dunkin Donuts, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog-friendly.

Barry, Betsy, Scott and Adam

Chelsea Jewish Foundation Leaders, Barry Berman, Betsy Mullen and Adam Berman along with Green House Director, Scott Brown

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our local communities, businesses, residents and their families, and the many friends of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation,” said Barry Berman, CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. “The Walk for Living is crucial in helping our residents live richer and fuller lives.”

“I was excited to be involved with 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living,” states Billy Costa. “It is our hope that the Walk for Living will help to raise funds and awareness about living with ALS and MS today. I have lost two close friends to ALS over the last few years, so I understand just how devastating these diseases can be. The technological advances, amenities and services at the Leonard Florence Center for Living are truly inspiring.”

Support the ALS & MS Walk for Living by making a much-needed donation at www.walkforliving.org or contact Joelle Smith at 617-409-8973 or walkforliving@chelseajewish.org. To view videos about the LFCL residents, please go to http://vimeo.com/24641660, http://vimeo.com/39457786 and https://vimeo.com/56267225.

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Film Debuted at Tribeca Filmfest Raises Awareness of ALS

By / Posted on April 20th, 2015

The Green House homes in Chelsea, MA are groundbreaking for many reasons, including having the first residence where people living with ALS can continue to live full and meaningful lives, while getting the care that they need.  These homes have incredible technology that enables the residents to control their environment and communicate with the use of high-tech computers.  Patrick O’Brian is a film producer and DeeJay who is living with ALS and his film was recently screened at the Tribeca Filmfest.  

Leonard Florence Center’s very own Patrick O’Brien debuted his award-winning documentary film, TransFatty Lives, at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival on April 16 in New York City. The world premiere was attended by renowned film producers, actors, celebrities, politicians and VIP’s.  In addition to Patrick, Chelsea Jewish Foundation’s “celebrities” were also on hand for the festivities including, CEO, Barry Berman and famed resident and designer of The Green House home for people living with ALS, Steve Saling.  Without a doubt, it was a day to cherish.

 

patrick_NYCThis extraordinary film focuses upon living with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.) Patrick hopes the film will reach as many people as possible to help increase awareness and mobilization against ALS.

“I was officially diagnosed with ALS when I was 30 years old,” said Patrick O’Brien. “It is a fatal and incurable disease. I have chosen to do something with my illness.  As you will see, I turned the cameras on myself and began to document my journey with ALS on 35mm motion picture film. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”

Ten years in the making, TransFatty Lives explores what it means to live, what it means to die and what is important in life. Containing no talking heads or lengthy interviews, the film relies instead on a distinct visual style all its own.

 

Two days before the festival, Patrick received a congratulatory letter from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In the letter, The Governor cited Patrick’s incredible passion, talent, bravery and optimistic outlook. As he put it, “The screening of your film will serve as an inspiration to people worldwide who are fighting their own battles, while raising awareness for ALS.”

 

 


Steve Saling Expands his Reach, with the ALS Residence Initiative

By / Posted on February 9th, 2015

If you’ve ever had the chance to tour or attend a Green House workshop at the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL)—you undoubtedly walked away with a special appreciation for the meaningful life taking place in those ten homes.

You may also have had the opportunity to meet Steve Saling, one person living in those homes and is often a tour guide for groups.  In fact, the home he lives in carries his name, the Steve Saling ALS Residence, because he was such an inspirational part of how the technology in that home provides such independence for those living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS.

Steve is a big supporter of The ALS Residence Initiative (ALSRI) founded to inspire replication of homes like the one at LFCL across America and the world.  Their mission is clearly explained on their home page:

“This is too special a place to be unique in the world. We will help you open an ALS Residence near you. Explore this site to learn more.”

The website offers a variety of information including the fact that there is no known cause and no medical treatment or cure for ALS:

It is a neurodegenerative condition thought to be caused by a breakdown of cellular recycling systems in the neurons of the spinal cord and brain that results in the nervous system slowly losing its ability to carry brain signals to the body’s muscular system. ALS is not inherently fatal but death is usually a complication of the diaphragm becoming too weak for the lungs to function.

The story behind Steve and his involvement in the construction and development of the ALS home is truly amazing.  It is captured in the video on the home page of their website.

We invite you to take a moment and visit the website—we encourage you to share it with your networks.

Who knows…YOU may be the spark that ignites the development of a home that provides a rich and more meaningful life to those who didn’t feel that was possible!

 


Leading Age names The Green House Project a Leadership Program to Watch in 2013

By / Posted on January 31st, 2013

To expand the world of possibilities for aging, LeadingAge members and affiliates touch the lives of 4 million individuals, families, employees and volunteers every day. The work of LeadingAge is focused on advocacy, education, and applied research. CEO, Larry Minnix, shared an inspiring blog about how far our field of aging has come, and he asks the question, “So, how did dramatic change occur over the generations? Did it happen spontaneously? No, it happened because of the leadership from members, many of whom have served their communities for generations!”

Just as Eden Principle #10 states, “Wise Leadership is the lifeblood of any organization”, Larry Minnix calls out a few programs whose leadership is moving our field forward. The Green House Project, with a commitment to research, including a business case, is honored to be named as a leader. Leonard Florence Center for Living was also named as a leader to watch. As the first urban Green House Project and with incredible use of technology to create meaningful lives for those living with ALS and MS, this project is beyond cutting edge.

Thank you to Leading Age for this honor and for the work that you do to support and advance our field.


Green House project, Leonard Florence Center for Living, honored by McKnight's Long Term News

By / Posted on October 3rd, 2012

Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, Mass., is a prime example of the revolutionary potential of The Green House model. Leonard Florence Center for living includes homes that employ advanced assistive technology to allow individuals immobilized by ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and multiple sclerosis, to live more independently. Their innovations were recently honored by McKnight’s technology award, “Boston’s Chelsea Jewish Foundation won the top prize in the High Tech/High Touch category of McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards — Connect Our World.”

Congratulations to Leonard Florence Center for Living for this honor and thank you to McKnight’s Long Term Care News, for recognizing the power of The Green House model to create high touch, high tech environments that result in meaningful lives and excellent outcomes. click here to read the full article

 


Green House project, Leonard Florence Center for Living, honored by McKnight’s Long Term News

By / Posted on October 3rd, 2012

Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, Mass., is a prime example of the revolutionary potential of The Green House model. Leonard Florence Center for living includes homes that employ advanced assistive technology to allow individuals immobilized by ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and multiple sclerosis, to live more independently. Their innovations were recently honored by McKnight’s technology award, “Boston’s Chelsea Jewish Foundation won the top prize in the High Tech/High Touch category of McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards — Connect Our World.”

Congratulations to Leonard Florence Center for Living for this honor and thank you to McKnight’s Long Term Care News, for recognizing the power of The Green House model to create high touch, high tech environments that result in meaningful lives and excellent outcomes. click here to read the full article

 


Video: Larry Minnix, CEO of Leading Age, speaks about the high standards for long-term care he experienced while visiting The Leonard Florence Center for Living

By / Posted on May 23rd, 2012

Larry Minnix of LeadingAge visits The Green House Homes at The Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, MA.

Watch the below video to hear Larry’s insights and reflections related to this innovation for adults living with ALS and MS.