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.


Jewish Senior Life to build Green House homes in Rochester, New York

By / Posted on November 21st, 2013

Via  Rochester Business Journal

A major $100 million dollar project is underway on the campus of Jewish Senior Life.  It will include a number of upgrades for the facility…but the focus of the construction will be 14 Green House homes.  Each will be complete with a private bedroom, open kitchen, large hearth and dining area.

Read more about the project and tell us what you think!


Leaving to Go Back: Al Power and the St. John’s Home Green House Project

By / Posted on June 6th, 2013

When Al Power was in med school and specializing in geriatrics, he would visit his grandmother in a nursing home. During one these visits, he noticed the nameplate on her door; the last name, “Power” had an “s” at the end of it.

“It was a note to me,” he said. “Of how anonymous she was.”

To Al, such anonymity wasn’t an issue unique to that particular nursing home — it was in the corners of every traditional nursing home. It is evident whenever elders are pushed into an institutional setting and away from their families. Away from the libraries. Away from neighbors. Away from the coffee shops. And away from the streets they know.

In other words, away from the community.

Al Power and The Green House Project are bringing elders back to a space where they know the greater community and the community knows them. It is a space that allows for growth, both for the people who serve elders and the elders themselves.

Eventually, Al left geriatric medicine, but he didn’t leave behind his passion for serving elders — not by a long shot. Even before he had left his practice he had already started working with St. John’s Home in Rochester, New York, and had learned about a new movement to revolutionize elder care embodied and supported by The Green House Project.

The Green House vision was the perfect marriage of the physical and operational change along with the philosophical change we really needed to move elder care forward,” explained Al.

“We talk about trying to create independence,” he continued. “But so many of our systems create dependence, make people shut down and feel incapable. I realized how a normalized environment can really liberate those people.”

Now Al Power and the team at St. Johns are focused on normalization. His goal is to maintain the same kind of life for elders in nursing homes as the one they had before they arrived. To do that, St. John’s took the real home concept of the Green House model one step further.

While many Green House adopters had built smaller, person-centric homes to replace the larger institutional-type buildings on their campuses, Al and his team wanted to build their new homes in existing residential neighborhoods. They wanted to bring elders out of isolation, back into multi-generational communities, where they could go to the local gym and the library and walk down the same sidewalk as other people.

Many nursing home executives try to save costs by having a central campus as a base of operations. St. John’s, in effect, wanted the exact opposite; they wanted to decentralize.

Although individual licensing of resident Green House homes proved to be an obstacle with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Green House Project helped resolve conflicts, brought everyone together, and helped St. John’s succeed in desegregating elders from the rest of the community.

In 2012, St. John’s became the first Green House adopter in the nation to locate individual Green House homes in the community. They built two houses, eleven miles away from their campus, in multi-generational, diverse neighborhoods. And it worked.

“When we saw the results,” said Al. “We were even more convinced that it was the way forward.”

________________

Al Power and everyone on the planning team knew that the St. John’s Home Green House Project would have success stories; they just didn’t know the stories would already be written before the homes even opened.

In preparation for opening day, the St. John’s staff invited family members, elders, and

people from the community to come have lunch. At one table, there was an elder, who Al recognized, sitting with his family. Al also knew that the man needed help from people to lift him up from one chair to another at his traditional nursing home.

Al ended up joining the man for lunch. When they finished their meal, the staff brought over the elder’s wheelchair. But before they could assist him, the man got up and got into the chair — by himself.

When one of the staff asked him how he did it, he said. “I don’t know, I guess over there I’m supposed to be sick.”

Al and the entire team at St. John’s have learned to expect more of the elders they serve. And by raising the bar for long-term services and supports in the community, they are inspiring providers everywhere to expect more of themselves.


Environments for Aging, Impact of Community based Green House homes

By / Posted on March 26th, 2013

Green House Chief Operating Officer, Susan Frazier, joins SWBR architect, Rob Simonetti, to present, “A Community-based Green House Approach—Development Goals, Opportunities, and Outcomes” at the upcoming Environments for Aging conference in New Orleans on Monday, April 8 | 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m (we are exhibiting: BOOTH 103)


This seminar will explore the unique development opportunities available to providers and developers collaborating to provide healthcare via a decentralized community based approach. Presenters will explore the objectives of (re)integrating elders into their hometown communities in lieu of a centralized healthcare campus.


Participants will consider opportunities to leverage the strength and skills of local developers in this effort. Using the nations’ first Community-based Green House project as a case study, attendees will examine common goals of the provider and developer and will learn the potential marketing, cost, and approval benefits associated with pairing a healthcare occupancy with a small scale residential development.


Surplus Safety: Rebecca talks about the process of supporting risk

By / Posted on October 17th, 2012

Rebecca Priest, of St. John’s home in Rochester, talks about her experience with Surplus Safety, and how to create a process to support risk in long term care

 


Moving Day for St. John’s in Rochester!!

By / Posted on February 28th, 2012

REPOSTED

Visit the original post at ChangingAge.org

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

Khalil Gibran

The above quote was posted today by Susan Thomas for St. John’s “Eden Quote of the Day”, in honor of the first three Elders moving into our community Green Houses in Penfield, New York. This is the culimination of an incredible journey for St. John’s Home.

It has been exactly a decade since I went to hear Bill Thomas give a talk in Utica about his latest thoughts about Elderhood. At that talk, Bill described his concept of “doing vs. being”, and his visions for “Eldertopia”.

In 2003, the first Green Houses opened in Tupelo, Mississippi. Our CAO, Veronica Barber went to visit them, and on her return she told our CEO, Charlie Runyon, “We have to do this.”

Then about four years ago, with the encouragement of former DOH Dormitory Authority Director Tom Jung and Assistant Health Commissioner Mark Kissinger, we decided to take one more very big step: we decided to bring Elders back to true community engagement, by moving off campus and integrating our Green Houses into residential communities.

This set off a series of twists, turns and setbacks that pushed us back a few years in our timeline, but what we leanred in that process about our vsision, our strengths and challenges, and about our Eden journey was priceless.

And today is the payoff as, for the first time in our nation, the first pioneering Elders move to a pair of small houses 11 miles away from the main campus, nestled in the multigenerational Arbor Ridge community. Guide Rebecca Priest has been the lighthouse for this journey and her group of shahbazim, nurses and other supportive care partners is truly incredible. Very soon after, the remaining 17 Elders, people with diverse needs and abilities, will follow.

So many people have put their hearts and souls into this journey that it is impossible to mention them all. In addition to the visionary leaders mentioned above, I must make a special note of Joanne Braunle, our Project Manager, who formerly worked on NASA contracts and showed us that culture change really is rocket science! The builders at Pridemark, architects at SWBR, and our pre-design work with Emi Kiyota all made incredible contributions to the beautiful, warm and functionally versatile houses we open today.

And of course, a huge thank you to The Green House Project, especially Robert Jenkens and Susan Frazier for their guidance and tireless advocacy, and to Bill and Jude Thomas and the Eden Alternative, who have helped shape our new vision of Elderhood that will truly be a game-changer in providing living options for Elders with skilled needs across the nation and beyond.

Way to go, St. John’s; my hat is off to you!!


Moving Day for St. John's in Rochester!!

By / Posted on February 28th, 2012

REPOSTED

Visit the original post at ChangingAge.org

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

Khalil Gibran

The above quote was posted today by Susan Thomas for St. John’s “Eden Quote of the Day”, in honor of the first three Elders moving into our community Green Houses in Penfield, New York. This is the culimination of an incredible journey for St. John’s Home.

It has been exactly a decade since I went to hear Bill Thomas give a talk in Utica about his latest thoughts about Elderhood. At that talk, Bill described his concept of “doing vs. being”, and his visions for “Eldertopia”.

In 2003, the first Green Houses opened in Tupelo, Mississippi. Our CAO, Veronica Barber went to visit them, and on her return she told our CEO, Charlie Runyon, “We have to do this.”

Then about four years ago, with the encouragement of former DOH Dormitory Authority Director Tom Jung and Assistant Health Commissioner Mark Kissinger, we decided to take one more very big step: we decided to bring Elders back to true community engagement, by moving off campus and integrating our Green Houses into residential communities.

This set off a series of twists, turns and setbacks that pushed us back a few years in our timeline, but what we leanred in that process about our vsision, our strengths and challenges, and about our Eden journey was priceless.

And today is the payoff as, for the first time in our nation, the first pioneering Elders move to a pair of small houses 11 miles away from the main campus, nestled in the multigenerational Arbor Ridge community. Guide Rebecca Priest has been the lighthouse for this journey and her group of shahbazim, nurses and other supportive care partners is truly incredible. Very soon after, the remaining 17 Elders, people with diverse needs and abilities, will follow.

So many people have put their hearts and souls into this journey that it is impossible to mention them all. In addition to the visionary leaders mentioned above, I must make a special note of Joanne Braunle, our Project Manager, who formerly worked on NASA contracts and showed us that culture change really is rocket science! The builders at Pridemark, architects at SWBR, and our pre-design work with Emi Kiyota all made incredible contributions to the beautiful, warm and functionally versatile houses we open today.

And of course, a huge thank you to The Green House Project, especially Robert Jenkens and Susan Frazier for their guidance and tireless advocacy, and to Bill and Jude Thomas and the Eden Alternative, who have helped shape our new vision of Elderhood that will truly be a game-changer in providing living options for Elders with skilled needs across the nation and beyond.

Way to go, St. John’s; my hat is off to you!!


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.