Green House Blog

Wyoming Launches First Community-Driven Green House Project Eldercare Homes

An artist's rendering shows The Village at Cloud Peak Ranch, which is where the Sheridan Green House project will be located. Officials are hoping it will open by Christmas.

The first grassroots-driven Green House Project eldercare home in the nation is beginning to receive big attention in the state of Wyoming.

The community of Sheridan, Wyo., is building the nation’s first Green House Project homes independent of sponsorship or support from an existing nursing home or long-term care organization.

Nationwide there are 99 Green House Project homes in 27 states built and operated by established organizations. But in Sheridan, years of grassroots efforts by local residents and officials has resulted in construction of four Green House Project model homes to be opened by Christmas 2011. The Casper-Star Tribune reports:

Wyoming’s first Green House will be the only grassroots Green House in the nation.

Elsewhere, Green House projects have been sponsored by established groups, including religious organizations. Sheridan’s project came from within the community and has received heavy financial support from Sheridan residents and organizations.

Additionally, while other projects incorporated the Green House concept into existing nursing homes, Sheridan’s is a stand-alone project.

It wasn’t easy. Sheridan officials and residents had to fight for support from the state legislature, secure matching grants, a federal loan and $3 million in donations to make the project possible.

Building a Green House Project home without the resources and backing of an existing long-term care organization is an extraordinary accomplishment by the community of Sheridan, said Green House Project founder Dr. Bill Thomas. But it’s exactly what he envisioned when created the concept.

Thomas’ book “What are Old People For? How Elders Will Save the World,” outlines The Green House Project model and includes the concept of “intentional” Green Houses created at the community level.

“Sheridan is proving that people can come together and create intentional homes that will eventually replace the traditional nuring home,” Thomas said. “When the world finds out what Wyoming is doing without the backing of a big nursing home operator it will send shockwaves through the long-term care industry.”

Sweet Homes Alabama- Green House Annual Meeting 2011

Sweet Homes Alabama: 4th Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration
September 8-9, 2011, Pre Conference September 7
Birmingham, AL
Wynfrey Hotel – 1-800-996-3739

Wynfrey Hotel- Birmingham, AL

Announcing the Fourth Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration! This year’s gathering is an exclusive time for Green House Project Adopters to share, learn and celebrate!  We will convene at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, AL. Green House Projects, mark your calendars, you won’t want to miss this exciting opportunity!

**At this time, the GH Annual Meeting is only open to Green House adopters under contract with The Green House Project**

Click here to download the conference brochure

Registration:
This year, registration and payment will be done through a convenient online registration form, which you can fill out below. You can pay right through this website and you’ll receive email confirmation of your purchase once done.

Hotel information, transportation and information on additional programs can all be found in the GH Annual Meeting 2011 Brochure. We have reserved a special hotel guest rate for our attendees so please be sure to book early and mention “The Green House Project” for the special event rate.

This year’s theme, “Sweet Homes Alabama” gives a nod to The Green House Cottages at St. Martin’s in the Pines and all of the organizations working to create sweet homes throughout the country, where elders and persons living with disabilities can live lives of meaning and power. We honor the commitments you have made and the hard work you are doing to make this vision a reality in your communities. We hope this experience provides you with the opportunities for the learning, growth, replenishment and fun that you so richly deserve!

There will be learning, information-sharing and ample networking opportunities for everyone, so come join the celebration!

For questions or more information: greenhouse@ncbcapitalimpact.org or 703-647-2311. Registration below:


Continue reading “Sweet Homes Alabama- Green House Annual Meeting 2011”

Dr. Allen Power: New Book on Creativity and Dementia

From the ChangingAging Blogstream

By Dr. Al Power

A new book, Creative Approaches in Dementia Care, has been released by Palgrave Macmillan. Edited by Hilary Lee (President of Dementia Care Australia) and Trevor Adams (University of Surrey, U.K.), this book contains a dozen chapters describing the use of art, music, laughter, storytelling, end-of-life engagement and several other avenues to enhance the well-being of people living with dementia.

I was honored to be asked to write the foreword for this book. With Hilary’s permission, I have printed it on my blog, as a way of promoting this fine new publication — Click HERE to read.

Visit the Nation's First Urban Model Green House Project Nursing Home

The upcoming annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America this November will offer a unique opportunity to visit and tour the nation’s first urban model Green House® Project nursing home in Chelsea, Mass., The Leonard Florence Center for Living.

Located just outside Boston, The Leonard Florence Center for Living combines the comforts of home with individualized skilled nursing care. It is also the first Green House model home with specialized houses for residents with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Multiple Sclerosis. The ALS house is unique since those with ALS are limited to eye movements so their homes are designed with the latest in the state-of-the-art technology that allows them to live an independent life.

The ALS house is named for and was designed with input from architect Steve Saling, who was diagnosed with ALS at age 38. You can learn more about Steve and his journey to create a home for the chronically disabled in the video below:

There is a dire need for residential living options for the chronically disabled. When I was diagnosed with ALS in October 2006 at the age of 38, I was horrified to discover that my future would be living in a nursing home in a small room with a 90 year old roommate. Even then, I could only live there until I required a ventilator to breathe for me and then I would be forced to move to a hospital to live the rest of my life in a bed, never going outside or having a shower again. I knew that I had to find a better way.

The Steve Saling ALS Residence and Slifka MS Residence within the Leonard Florence Center for Living offer me and 19 others with ALS & MS real freedom and independence. The Residences are fully automated so that even the nearly locked-in can live a vital and productive life. The goal is now to build more residences so that my lifestyle can become the standard for the world. The ALS Residence will prove that ALS does not have to be fatal anymore. Until medicine proves otherwise, technology IS the cure.

Visit the Nation’s First Urban Model Green House Project Nursing Home

The upcoming annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America this November will offer a unique opportunity to visit and tour the nation’s first urban model Green House® Project nursing home in Chelsea, Mass., The Leonard Florence Center for Living.

Located just outside Boston, The Leonard Florence Center for Living combines the comforts of home with individualized skilled nursing care. It is also the first Green House model home with specialized houses for residents with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Multiple Sclerosis. The ALS house is unique since those with ALS are limited to eye movements so their homes are designed with the latest in the state-of-the-art technology that allows them to live an independent life.

The ALS house is named for and was designed with input from architect Steve Saling, who was diagnosed with ALS at age 38. You can learn more about Steve and his journey to create a home for the chronically disabled in the video below:

There is a dire need for residential living options for the chronically disabled. When I was diagnosed with ALS in October 2006 at the age of 38, I was horrified to discover that my future would be living in a nursing home in a small room with a 90 year old roommate. Even then, I could only live there until I required a ventilator to breathe for me and then I would be forced to move to a hospital to live the rest of my life in a bed, never going outside or having a shower again. I knew that I had to find a better way.

The Steve Saling ALS Residence and Slifka MS Residence within the Leonard Florence Center for Living offer me and 19 others with ALS & MS real freedom and independence. The Residences are fully automated so that even the nearly locked-in can live a vital and productive life. The goal is now to build more residences so that my lifestyle can become the standard for the world. The ALS Residence will prove that ALS does not have to be fatal anymore. Until medicine proves otherwise, technology IS the cure.

The Green House Project Welcomes New Team Members

The Green House Project welcomes two new team members!

We are so pleased to welcome Peer Network Director, Dan Klein, and Project Associate, Heather Marshall to our team!

Dan is joining the project from the New Hampshire Health Care Association, where he served as Assistant Executive Director. In this role, Dan was instrumental in areas of policy, communication, research, and advocacy. One of Dan’s achievements was to serve as the primary facilitator and advocate for Seniors Aid New Hampshire, a coalition of nursing home and assisted living community residents who lobby state and federal governments and raise money for charities.  In his role as The Green House Peer Network Director, Dan will facilitate and explore ways in which education, information, and accountability support project success.

He can be reached via e-mail at: dklein@ncbcapitalimpact.org.

We also welcome Project Associate, Heather Marshall.  Heather’s education and experience will make her a valuable asset to the team.   As an intern at National Council on Aging (NCOA) , she participated in many creative, evidence-based solutions to the issues impacting elders.  This experience bolstered her opinion that sustainable solutions require education, support, and investment from the entire community. As a student at the Brown School of Social Work, she tailored her curriculum to focus on gerontology and more specifically, the mental health needs of older adults.  In addition to this coursework, a previous internship and subsequent work experience at Concord Adult Day Enrichment Services further developed her skills and passion for elders.  As a Project Associate, Heather will partner with a Project Guide to jointly support long-term care organizations interested in embracing the Green House model to improve the lives of elders. education.

Project Associate, Heather Marshall

Heather can be reached at: hmarshall@ncbcapitalimpact.org.

Navigating Difficult Conversations

We’ve all had difficult conversations in the past and we all know how much stress and anxiety they can cause. Such conversations often lead to arguing, hurt feelings and sometimes even physical violence. They may strain and ruin the most long-standing relationships. In the Green House home, relationships matter. They are the heart of the model and critical to the health of the home. We cannot afford to let misunderstandings and conflict undercut our mission, and ultimately, the Elders. Yet, we cannot always avoid these discussions, nor should we. What do we do? We turn a difficult conversation into a learning conversation.

Elements of a Difficult Conversation

Despite the specifics, most difficult conversations have a similar structure and understanding that structure is key to improving the way you deal with the conversation. Much is left unsaid on both sides and this is often what makes the conversation difficult.

  • The Facts – Disagreement over the facts of what happened, what should happen, who said what, who’s right, who’s wrong.
  • Feelings – Are my feelings appropriate? Should I acknowledge them, express them or keep them hidden? What about the other person’s feelings? Are they hurt or angry?
  • Self-Image – This is an internal conversation each party has with themselves to try to determine what the situation means to them. Are they good, bad, trustworthy, untrustworthy? How this conversation turns out determines one’s self-image and self-esteem and whether they are balanced and comfortable in the difficult conversation or defensive and anxious.

 Each of these three elements, or conversations-within-the-conversation, contain challenges that we must struggle to manage and understand, and while we can’t change everything within them, we can change how we respond to them. Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.

The Facts 

  • I’m right, You’re Not – What’s true, what’s false, who’s right, who’s wrong occupies much of a difficult conversation. Both parties are sure they are right and argue vehemently for their side. The thing is, the conversation is not about the facts, but what they mean. It’s not about what’s true but what is important. It is about interpretation, values and perceptions. Moving away from assuming you are right to understanding the values and perceptions of both sides allows us to stop delivering messages and to start asking questions about how both sides see the situation.
  • Intentions – We try to determine the other’s intentions from their behavior or maybe from past experience. We assume we know them, but such assumptions are little more than inventions and rarely accurate. We often do not know our own true intentions. Intentions are complex and often mixed. Jumping to assumptions about the other’s intentions ratchets up the difficulty of our conversation.
  • It’s Your Fault – Much effort is spent in a difficult conversation about who is to blame. The problem is that talking about blame is like talking about truth – it produces denial and disagreement but little learning. Not wanting to be blamed, we spend much of our energy defending ourselves. The point here is that things went wrong because of what both parties did and how they reacted to each other, so the blame is shared. Exploring what went wrong and how to correct it going forward gets you much farther along in the conversation towards defusing the conflict and difficulty.

 Feelings and Emotion

Difficult conversations often involve strong emotion. How should you deal with that when it arises? Many people try to stay rational and avoid the emotion. The source of emotion, even in ourselves, is hard to understand, let alone talk about. Emotion clouds judgment and can make us feel vulnerable. In the context of work, talking about them may also seem inappropriate.

The problem is that difficult conversations are usually about emotions and feelings. That’s what makes them difficult, after all. Ignoring them may save time or reduce anxiety, but in the end, you will accomplish less if you do not address your feelings. Unfortunately, there is nothing that will make doing so easy or risk-free, but with practice, we can all do a better job at it.

Self-Image

This element is subtle and may be the most challenging, yet it offers much leverage in managing anxiety and improving our skills in handling the other two. This is a look inward about who we are and how we see ourselves within the context of the difficult conversation. This is the deeper ‘something’ beyond the apparent substance of the conversation that is at stake for us.

As we examine our self-image, we may lose our balance, feel anxiety, perhaps lose confidence in ourselves and our position. In extreme situations, we may forget what we were going to say and just want out.

As with emotion and feelings, there is no magic bullet that makes this conversation easy, but our skills do improve with practice. And the better we get, the more we’ll find that the Self-Image element becomes a source of strength, rather than anxiety.

A Learning Conversation

Even though we may not admit it, our initial purpose for having a difficult conversation is often to prove our point or to get them to do or be what we want. We are there to deliver a message.  As we have explored, this rarely results in a positive outcome.  If you try to understand the other’s point of view, understand and share feelings and work together, rather than try to persuade and get your way, you will move toward a learning conversation.  The chart below displays the differences between a head-butting battle of messages and a thoughtful learning conversation. Which one would you rather be party to?

________________________

Adapted from Difficult Conversations – How To Discuss What Matters Most. Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiations Project. 1999, Penguin Books, Ltd.

One Thousand Cranes Connect Elders from the USA and Japan

Al Power and Emi Kyota have organized The One Thousand Cranes Project (one thousand cranes are the symbol of peace in Japan). Elders from St. John’s Home in Rochester, NY made one-thousand origami cranes–over one month, and sent them to the elders who are living in the Tsumani affected area of Japan.

The community in Japan lost more than half of the elder care facilities due to the Tsunami and the residents and staff members witnessed their homes and communities destroyed. They are still struggling to care for elders with their limited resouces and space, but doing their best to keep their spirits up. Emi’s friend, Yukimi Uchide, a staff member at the community, took pictures of the elders when they opened the box filled with the Origami cranes and messages from elders in Rochester. You can see a lot of smile and tears in the eyes of elders.

The elders in Japan have already started a project of making Japanese crafts to send back to the elders in Rochester. Emi and Al are planning to cordinate a “skype call” between the two communities so that elders can see each other. What a great way to create a feeling of connection and opportunities to bring care and joy to the lives of others.

Here are more photos (click to view full size): Continue reading “One Thousand Cranes Connect Elders from the USA and Japan”

Growing The Green House Project With Social Media

Social Media Web

This week Green House Project founder Dr. Bill Thomas and ChangingAging Blogstream editor Kavan Peterson delivered a fantastic webinar to Green House Project adopters on the power of social media to drive culture change, strengthen community and support successful growth of the Green House model.

The Green House Project is proud to embrace social media tools to help our diverse community of Green House adopter organizations connect and share best practices. We’re especially excited by the potential for harnessing social media to empower elders to make their voices heard and share their stories and experiences living in Green House homes.

The Green House Project team will be working with Dr. Bill’s ChangingAging Blogstream to help all our adopter organizations connect through social media and blogging. In the coming days we will compile a list of all the ways you can connect and follow Green House adopters through their blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages on their journeys developing and operating Green House Project homes.

There are many ways to get involved and support this movement. Click Join Our Email List in the right column to receive news updates from The Green House Project. Subscribe to the Blog (click “Subscribe” on the right column) for blog updates and connect with us on our social networks under “Follow” (on the left column) to join the conversation and make your voice heard.

Welcome to the Green House Project world of social networking!

 

St. John's Shahbazim Team Comes Together

From the St. John’s Living Blog:

By Rebecca Priest, St. John’s Guide

We’ve officially hired a (knock on wood) complete team of Shahbazim to staff the Penfield Green House Homes!
These employees are amazing, convicted, and competent professionals who are so committed to ensuring that the people who need long term care get support in a way that honors their personhood first.  Thinking about the team, and how excited they are gives me goosebumps.
Challenges going forward abound.  How will we keep enthusiasm building toward opening?  How will we ensure that this team relies on each other, the elders with whom they work?  How do we support the team and share the gifts that each of them bring?
Eden Principle #3:   Loving companionship is the antidote to loneliness.
Elders and employees deserve easy access to people who appreciate and celebrate them for their gifts and encourage them to grow as people.
My mission is to expose these talented team members for the wonder that they bring with them to St. John’s everyday, just by being who they are.

St. John’s Shahbazim Team Comes Together

From the St. John’s Living Blog:

By Rebecca Priest, St. John’s Guide

We’ve officially hired a (knock on wood) complete team of Shahbazim to staff the Penfield Green House Homes!
These employees are amazing, convicted, and competent professionals who are so committed to ensuring that the people who need long term care get support in a way that honors their personhood first.  Thinking about the team, and how excited they are gives me goosebumps.
Challenges going forward abound.  How will we keep enthusiasm building toward opening?  How will we ensure that this team relies on each other, the elders with whom they work?  How do we support the team and share the gifts that each of them bring?
Eden Principle #3:   Loving companionship is the antidote to loneliness.
Elders and employees deserve easy access to people who appreciate and celebrate them for their gifts and encourage them to grow as people.
My mission is to expose these talented team members for the wonder that they bring with them to St. John’s everyday, just by being who they are.

Green House Project Job Opportunities in California

Please share this exciting nursing employment opportunity to join an organization building the first Green House Project homes in the California.

Mt. San Antonio Gardens in Pomona, Calif., has an opening for a new director of nursing and they are seeking a registered nurse with a strong passion for leading culture change in their organization.

The director of nursing will play a key role in the Garden’s efforts to build the first Green House Project homes in California. The Green House Project team, Mt. San Antonio Gardens and their supporters are currently working with California lawmakers and state regulators to update state regulations to allow for development of Green House model homes.

For a full description of the position and to apply, visit http://www.msagardens.org/jobs.cfm

View additional Green House Project Employment Opportunities on our jobs page.