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!


Kris Angevine, Living The Green House Model

By / Posted on April 8th, 2015

Reposted from www.stjohnsliving.org

Kris.pngWhen it comes to long-term care, Kris Angevine strongly believes smaller is better.

“It’s better for relationships with the residents and it’s better for the teams who take such good care of them,” Kris, who serves as the Guide at the Penfied Green House homes, said on a mild March day in 2015. “You get to know the residents so well. And if anything changes, you can respond immediately. This leads to a better quality of life.”

Having worked at St. John’s now for 11 years—first in dining services and for the past three years as a Green House and Eden Alternative guide, educator, and mentor—Kris also believes that residents should have as many choices and as much autonomy as possible. In her multiple roles, Kris helps develop self-managing teams that can care for Green House home elders with a minimum of supervision.

As a member of many teams in the past, Kris said it does not make sense to have a supervisor hovering over staff members who know how to do their jobs. At the Penfield Green House Homes, those staff members are called shahbazim (plural), a Persian word meaning “royal falcon.” At St. John’s, each shahbaz is a versatile, universal worker who sees to all the residents’ needs.

Eden Alternative co-creator Dr. Bill Thomas came up with the idea to apply this term. They are tasked with caring for the 20 elders who live in the two homes, which were built in 2012. Whether submitting work orders, providing care and companionship, building consensus, or providing treatment, the shahbazim, along with the nurses and an on-call doctor, do it all. The main household tasks of shopping, cooking, housekeeping, and laundry are done on a rotating basis so no one person has only one job.

The premise for the Green House model is to create a real home for elders to continue living a meaningful life and create an empowered staff. The staff’s goal is to eliminate the three “plagues of the spirit”: loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. The Penfield Homes are two of more than 170 located in 27 states, and the only community-based homes in the country.

It’s no small task to keep these houses running day after day. But through the considerable dedication and hard work of everyone involved, the Whitman and Moore homes are indeed Eden-like in both form and function. The houses are also well integrated into a quiet, multigenerational community. It takes a great deal of work, planning, and attention to detail to make it all happen, but the best people are on the job to ensure it does.

“I’ve been in the trenches my whole life,” Kris said of the work that prepared her to do this. For her part, Kris is involved in the big picture. Ultimately responsible for the Green House Homes operations, she provides the skills, tools, and resources needed to run the houses. She offers advice on problem solving and maintains relationships with the shahbazim, nurses, elders, and family members. Born in Tucson, Arizona, to a military family, Kris grew up in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Her career in the dining industry led her from North Carolina to Rochester 25 years ago. She and her husband Chris, a mechanical engineer, live in Rochester with their three cats. In addition to music and dancing, Kris has also been working in ceramics for the past year crafting hand-made bowls.

Kris also loves dogs, and assisted the elders to adopt a very friendly one named Lexi last year. After coming to consensus, Lexi came to live at Moore House last June. Together with all the other aesthetic and functional elements, Lexi’s canine companionship truly makes Moore House a home.

“It’s real life here,” Kris says. “We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve fought. It’s not sterile. It takes a lot of patience, but we work hard to build trust and keep the elders out of harm’s way.”Kris


BBC Reporter Visits Penfield Green House homes in Rochester, NY

By / Posted on July 30th, 2014

I was contacted by Sally Magnusson, a news anchor from BBC Glasgow and author, whose parents were both pioneers in UK broadcasting. She wrote a book called, Where Memories Go, about her mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s; and she is now planning a book about Alzheimer’s and music. She contacted Dan Cohen (Music and Memory) to visit a home in NYC that’s using iPods, and he suggested she contact me, so she wrote to ask if she could fly up and visit during her trip.

We got together Saturday night to talk about my work on Dementia Beyond Disease and I had suggested that she visit Penfield Green House homes while she was in town. Green House guide, Kris Angevine and the elders/staff nicely accommodated us on Sunday morning for tea. We stopped at Malek’s, my favorite bakery, and got a couple of chocolate babkas, as well as bringing copies of my book for the homes.

When we arrived, Wendy Bacon-Stopani, one of the wonderful Shahbazim, was making a birthday cake, as well as some chicken cordon bleu for lunch. She explained the Shahbaz role to Sally and the collaborative nature of the work, with everyone pitching in to help out. Wendy said she wasn’t a natural chef, but had learned a lot at the home, and it showed!!

We sat at the dining room table sharing coffee, tea, and babka with several elders, including Lou, Martin, Don, Frannie, Marguerite, and Sarah. We shared stories, and we got a house tour from Dorothy who is a great hostess. Lexi, the new house dog also joined in the visit — what a wonderful dog she is!!

Although Sally’s original plan was to talk to the elders about their experiences with music, it was really just more of a social visit and a non-directed conversation. Sally found everyone to be delightful and loved the home. It was a whirlwind tour of innovation stateside, that will surely be remembered by this BBC reporter.


Green House homes are a viable lifestyle choice for communities of the future

By / Posted on January 28th, 2013

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) sees Green House homes as a model that consumers prefer, and will demand.  A recent piece on this model for skilled nursing care highlights consumer research that found informal caregivers willing to drive further and pay more to have this as an option in their community, ” The enthusiasm among informal caregivers doesn’t just bode well for this market in the immediate future, but also in the longer term, when millions of boomers will need care themselves. Surveys show that as boomers age, they will greatly value — perhaps more than any prior generation — the independence and amenities that a home setting affords.”

The next evolution of The Green House model is to not just build real homes on an existing nursing home campus, but to embed the homes directly in the community.  At St. John’s home in Rochester, they have done just that..

Nestled among the rest of Arbor Ridge’s new homes and residential amenities are two Green House homes, which have been built from the ground up to deliver the highest quality skilled-nursing care in a setting that looks and feels — both inside and out — like a real home. Both homes are operated by St. John’s Home, , and each provides a home for up to 10 elders, each with private rooms and bathrooms. Elders set their own schedules, eat home-cooked meals made in the home’s open kitchen, and share good company by the fire in a real living room.  

This article speaks to builders and devlopers who are hoping to bring this option to their communities and provides information about how to partner with The Green House Project. “As America’s population rapidly ages, communities must increasingly offer a mix of housing options, and that includes long-term care for those who can no longer care for themselves. Like parks and good schools, Green House homes have the potential to not only to improve individual lives, but also to enhance whole neighborhoods. They are a practical way to meet the needs of families today — and in the years to come.”  Click here to read the full article.


Building an Evidence Base for Enjoyable Dining

By / Posted on November 22nd, 2011

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” -Ronald Reagan

Eating at a dinner table with friends and family is not only the quintessential portrait of Thanksgiving, but also an activity that can promote significant positive change.

In this month’s LeadingAge Magazine, the article, Enjoyable Dining: Can We Build an Evidence Base? , speaks volumes about how creating a dining environment that looks and feels more like home can have a tremendously positive impact on elders- boosting overall morale, without significant cost increases.

“We have had better intake. We’ve reduced the use of supplements. They are eating real food. Our meals are part of a concerted period when the residents are up and active, which then has a positive effect…We have less weight loss, and residents have fewer complaints about food service. They are better nourished, and there’s an increase in family involvement. And it doesn’t add to the cost, because residents are getting what they like. There is less waste.”

The article also highlighted recent research conducted by The Pioneer Network to develop great evidence-based food and dining standards for long-term care facilities. These best-practices contain sections that concentrate on the liberalization and honoring of choice when it comes to diet as related to diabetic and calorie controlled, low sodium, cardiac and altered-consistency diets. The new dining standards of practice can be found here.

Click here to read the full article.


Cooking with Geneva Troxell

By / Posted on October 14th, 2011

Our chef’s hat is off to Ms. Geneva Troxell.  Moving into a Green House home at St. Martin’s in the Pines did not mean that Ms. Troxell quit her culinary pursuits.   Instead, it was an opportunity to share her talents with her new friends.

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St. John's Green House Project Brings Elders Back To Their Communities

By / Posted on October 5th, 2011

On the heels of opening the 100th Green House Project home in the nation, we’re getting ready to celebrate another landmark — St. John’s Home Green House Project in New York will be the first in the nation to bring elders back to their hometowns to live in homes throughout the greater Rochester community.

St. John’s will open it’s first two Green House Project homes this fall in the community of Penfield followed by additional homes throughout the community. Elders from Penfield currently living in St. John’s Home will have the opportunity to move back to their hometown to be near family, friends, their church congregation and take advantage of other community resources.

The Penfield Green House homes are located about 10 miles from St. John’s Home main campus in Rochester. They will be the first decentralized Green House homes to open. Other notable community-based Green House Projects are in development in Sheridan, Wyo. , and Baltimore (see also Wyoming Launches First Community-Driven Green House Project Eldercare Homes and Get Excited For Maryland’s First Green House Project).

“Anyone who needs nursing home services will have the opportunity to live in a home environment,” Green House Project Guide Rebecca Priest told Rochester’s Channel 13 ABC News. “Whether you have dementia or any type of need as you age you should have the opportunity to stay in your community and this is the first time in the U.S. we’re making it possible to do so.”

Channel 13 aired a three-part series on St. John’s Green House homes this week. Click here to learn more about St. John’s Green House homes.




St. John’s Green House Project Brings Elders Back To Their Communities

By / Posted on October 5th, 2011

On the heels of opening the 100th Green House Project home in the nation, we’re getting ready to celebrate another landmark — St. John’s Home Green House Project in New York will be the first in the nation to bring elders back to their hometowns to live in homes throughout the greater Rochester community.

St. John’s will open it’s first two Green House Project homes this fall in the community of Penfield followed by additional homes throughout the community. Elders from Penfield currently living in St. John’s Home will have the opportunity to move back to their hometown to be near family, friends, their church congregation and take advantage of other community resources.

The Penfield Green House homes are located about 10 miles from St. John’s Home main campus in Rochester. They will be the first decentralized Green House homes to open. Other notable community-based Green House Projects are in development in Sheridan, Wyo. , and Baltimore (see also Wyoming Launches First Community-Driven Green House Project Eldercare Homes and Get Excited For Maryland’s First Green House Project).

“Anyone who needs nursing home services will have the opportunity to live in a home environment,” Green House Project Guide Rebecca Priest told Rochester’s Channel 13 ABC News. “Whether you have dementia or any type of need as you age you should have the opportunity to stay in your community and this is the first time in the U.S. we’re making it possible to do so.”

Channel 13 aired a three-part series on St. John’s Green House homes this week. Click here to learn more about St. John’s Green House homes.