While the 16th century sparked an endless search for the legendary Fountain of Youth, perhaps the explorers would have saved a great deal of energy if they had just turned to Dr. Bill Thomas. One principle of the Eden Alternative, founded by Dr. Thomas, indicates that a key to Elders discovering a “life worth living” is not instilling eternal youth, but rather, it is engaging with youth itself.
Abounding with enthusiasm and curiosity, children serve a valuable purpose in our lives. So often we acknowledge only the changes that occur across the lifespan and forget what we as people have in common, from our first breath to our last: we are always learning, growing, and changing. Relationships that cross generational boundaries are a reminder that we all have things to learn from and contribute to one another, no matter how many candles on the birthday cake.
In Green House homes, we commit to “creating a human habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with children.” We recognize that merely being in the same room is not sufficient for fostering a sense of trust and knowing between two individuals. We acknowledge the importance of a person-centered approach by developing intergenerational activities based on social histories and individual interests. We nurture the dignity of people across the lifespan by supporting age- and ability-appropriate activities, while still providing opportunities for challenge and growth.
Explore your community to discover opportunities for fostering relationships across generations, and share your story so we can learn from the challenges and successes of one another. Before you embark on an expedition for the Fountain of Youth, consider that perhaps the secret to creating a “life worth living” has been right in front of you all along!
The spiritual care team” is a group comprised of chaplains from various Green House organizations around the country. The group came together to further define how the role of the chaplain changes in The Green House model. As we mulled the topic during monthly calls, the discussion broke free of the limitations of titles, roles and expectations, to become much bigger. Spiritual health is the responsibility of everyone, as we are charged with the responsibility to care for the WHOLE PERSON: mind, body and spirit. The spirit is cared for in a multitude of ways that are only discovered through the building of relationships and deeply knowing the person. Being that relationships are the cornerstone of The Green House model, we determined that The Green House is a spiritual model and this aspect of wellness fits implicitly in the philosophy. If spirituality is defined as that which is deeply meaningful, life-giving, and connects us to ourselves, others, and the world we live in, then it can be summed up as “A Life Worth Living.”
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Dr. Thomas challenges us to ask questions about what we think we already know, and introduces the concept of surplus safety. How intriguing to grapple with the benefits of “upside risk!” What are your thoughts on surplus safety?
On July 22nd, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation board approved a second, three-year grant to NCB Capital Impact to fund THE GREEN HOUSE® Project. This $4.8 million grant is designed to build on the successes of the first grant’s activities and those of our pioneering provider partners. The new grant focuses on significantly expanding adoption to move us quickly toward our goal of having Green House homes as an affordable long-term care option in every community.
The new grant funds significant dissemination activities, policy work, and resource development, including a Green House Peer Network. The Peer Network will be designed to learn from operating projects how to best evolve and strengthen the model.
Please contact The Green House Project with any questions at 703-647-2311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Peer Network Association, formerly called the Forum or Partner Site, is THE GREEN HOUSE® Project’s new online tool for sustaining the Green House model for years to come. The model is based on creating a supportive community that values positive elder hood, dignity and independence for older adults. The Peer Network Association is built on this very idea. At its core, the Association is meant to foster a supportive community of Green House adopters. It allows adopters and field expertsto foster the continued growth, evolution, and health of the Green House model and mission. The Peer Network provides a space where adopters can share successful practices and common challenges. The Association will work towards continuous quality improvement and will hopefully create a community of culture change enthusiasts and who will transform the field of aging permanently!
For more information on the Peer Network Association, e-mail Debby Burgett, Director of Peer Network Association.