By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on January 30th, 2017
There are 214 Green House homes, however there are 15,600 traditional nursing homes in our country. As we work to transform long term care, Beth Baker has been a critical voice in journalism, describing innovations in the field. She has spent the last decade telling the story of culture change to a wide audience and earlier this month, Beth Baker highlighted The Green House model as The Nursing Home of the Future, in Politico Magazine.
As a journalist and author, Beth Baker, writes about healthcare in outlets like The Washington Post and the AARP Bulletin, describing what is possible in long term care,”What [The Green House Project] does is to demonstrate that people can keep living and enjoying life until their last breath given the right environment and relationships.” This journey led her to Tupelo, the first Green House homes, and the transformative story of Mildred Adams:
Beth became intrigued by the rich human stories found throughout the culture change world, and eventually decided to write a book, Old Age in A New Age. Her work has expanded, in a second book, With A Little Help From Our Friends, that focuses on “the importance of community and social connection as we grow older.” Beth sees boundless opportunities to write about people who are,”looking at aging in our society and thinking about how to make it a richer and more respected time of life.”
When Politico approached Beth, they asked her to write a visionary piece about the nursing home of the future… when Beth pitched The Green House model, they were delighted to see the potential that exists today to create meaningful lives for those who live and work in long term care.
In her reporting for the Politico article, Beth visited Lebanon Valley Brethren Home in Palmyra, PA. After a three hour drive on a cold, rainy day she shared how warm and welcoming it was to ring the doorbell and walk into the home, ” there was a fire in the hearth and one of the women was doing a jigsaw puzzle… it felt so familiar and was just a reminder of why [The Green House] is such a wonderful model”. Through interviews with elders and Lebanon Valley Brethren Home CEO, Jeff Shireman, Beth was able to convey the comprehensive nature of the model, and how the interplay of the environment, organizational redesign and philosophy work together to create positive clinical, financial and satisfaction outcomes, “Having a strong case for the finances and business outcomes of The Green House Project has been really important, ” remarks Baker.
Beth Baker’s credible voice shines light on the potential for aging to be different, and it is so important that we continue, because as Beth shares, we have a lot of work to do, ” … It is going to take a culture change beyond long term care… [we need] a change in how we view aging, to get people to accept that it doesn’t have to be the way that it has always been.”