Green House Blog

‘Tis the Season to be Warm, Smart, and Green


During the holidays and always, Green House homes embody warm, smart, and green principles. As discussed in Bill Thomas’ What Are Old People For?, warm organizations are rich in optimism and trust, and exude the spirit of generosity. Doing good deeds without the expectation of return is the most effective approach to warming people and organizations. Smart homes embrace technology that serves to foster the well-being of Elders and those who work with them. Green organizations provide an environment where Elders have close and continuing contact with the living world. Any sanctuary for Elderhood should demonstrate a true concern for safe and sustainable use of natural resources.
‘Tis the season to go green by reducing waste, saving energy, and renewing your commitment to green living. Here are some easy ways in which you can be warm, smart, and green this holiday season:
• Save paper by wrapping gifts with children’s artwork, maps, calendars, newspaper, a scarf, or fabric remnants. According to the Sierra Club, if every family wrapped just three gifts with reusable materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
• Consider green gifts constructed from recycled materials, a homemade gift of photos or pottery, or even an experience like tickets to a show or sporting event. Order online and save gas – and patience!
• Receive a new computer, TV, or phone? Recycle old electronics or donate to a local non-profit and extend the life of valuable products.
• Install low flow aerators on sinks and low flow showerheads in the bathroom. You can reduce 40% of water used just by upgrading 2.5 gallon per minute (gpm) to 1.5 gpm fixtures.
• Support local farmers and add healthy produce to your holiday meal.
• Purchase energy-saving LED holiday lights and use 90% less energy than conventional lights. Light timers will also help conserve energy.

Casey, Schumer, Enzi and Wicker Introduce Bipartisan Bill Help Older Americans Access Care Close to Family and Friends

REPRINTED from Senator Robert P. Casey’s Website
Friday, December 16, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) today introduced legislation to help small house nursing homes more easily locate in small towns and rural communities, helping older Americans receive advanced care while remaining close to their friends, families and hometowns.

“At a time when older American’s need the love and support of family members the most, they should not be forced to relocate away from their support network in order to access the compassionate care provided by a small house nursing home,” said Senator Casey. “My legislation will remove barriers preventing small house nursing homes from being located in small towns and rural areas where access to care is currently scarce.”

“This bipartisan bill is just what families and older Americans need – the ability to receive high-quality care in a nurturing setting,” said Senator Schumer. “These smaller nursing homes will provide focused personal care in a comfortable setting for our country’s elderly citizens, all while allowing them to live a stone’s throw away from family and friends.”

“It is important to help seniors stay in their communities as they age to ensure they receive the highest quality of care, especially in rural communities,” said Senator Enzi. “This bill will help address some of the challenges that affect seniors and those who need long-term care by offering a better coordinated, community-oriented option for nursing care. This streamlined system of support and services will allow seniors to continue to receive advanced care while staying close to their family and friends.”

“Mississippi has been a leader in developing small nursing home models,” said Senator Wicker. “The small nursing home model has proven to be a success by allowing older persons to remain in their communities while receiving proper care. This legislation would help expand access to this worthwhile program.”

Residents of rural communities frequently have to relocate away from family and friends to access care in large nursing homes because federal rules do not currently allow small house nursing homes to be licensed together when they are not on a single campus. This prevents small house nursing homes from being located near smaller population centers and rural areas, where demand does not necessitate a nursing home large enough to be financially viable.

The Community Integrated Nursing Care Homes (CINCH) Demonstration Program Act of 2011 would test the financial and operational aspects required to break down large nursing homes into small house nursing homes by allowing small house nursing homes to be licensed together. While each home will meet or exceed federal and state standards for staffing, care and emergency services, certain services that can be safely delivered by staff traveling between homes to increase efficiency will be reconfigured to make the separate entities financially viable.

The CINCH Act would authorize 6 organizations to implement a small nursing home model. These organizations will submit a report to Congress to evaluate the programs and determine if expansion is appropriate.

Happy Holidays from The Green House Project

Wishing you a Season of Relationships, Convivium and a Happy New Year!

Dear Green House friends and family,

What a year 2011 has been for The Green House Project! Through synergy and a unified vision, this model continues to grow and serve over 3500 elders across the country!! As this year comes to an end, we reflect on our accomplishments, express gratitude to our partners and teachers, and look forward to the excitement that is to come!

The energy that surrounds the project is palpable, and we are eager to partner with you in 2012. It is through all of our voices, our actions and teamwork that the principles of The Green House Project will live, grow and thrive. Look forward to:

  • 23 new homes projected to open in 2012
  • A strong Peer Network, to create an even deeper web of relationships, best practices, tools and advocacy
  • Fabulous new resources-Look for The Green House App, available in the Apple Store
  • New Research in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help inform future interactions with state surveyors, federal regulators, and funding agencies

We are so deeply grateful to the work of Green House adopters around the country whose commitment, hard work and great love are at the heart of every success. We look forward to connecting with each of you in the New Year, and wish you the very best.

With Gratitude,

The Green House Project

Jewish Home Lifecare will build 24 Green House Homes in NYC

The Wall Street Journal recently published a story about an exciting new project in New York City. Jewish Home Lifecare plans to break ground in 2013 on a project to build 24 Green House homes on the Upper West Side of the big apple!

Jewish Home now says it will be ready to break ground on the $250 million project in February 2013, with move-in slated for spring 2017. It has raised some money through private philanthropy, but officials are seeking a mortgage from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which they hope will provide the bulk of the financing…it will be one of the most ambitious new senior housing projects in the New York City area, which has suffered from a lack of new development to accommodate an aging population.

“What used to work is no longer an option” for aging baby boomers, says Colin Milner, chief executive of the International Council on Active Aging. “We’re moving from being a care society to being one where we take self-responsibility.”

The Green House Project is honored to partner with Jewish Home Lifecare in the pursuit of changing aging, and increasing the quality of life for elder New Yorkers!

To read the full article, click here

Workshop Logistics: Lebanon Valley Brethren Home, May 8-9, 2012

Greetings!

Thank you for your interest in THE GREEN HOUSE® Project.  This will confirm that you are registered for The Green House Project’s orientation workshop on May 8-9, in Palmyra, PA.  Please share this information with your colleagues.

Location – Green House Project Training Center

Lebanon Valley Brethren Home

The Pavilion

1200 Grubb Road

Palmyra, PA 17078

(717) 838-5406

General driving directions and a list of hotels are included in the attached document.  Parking is free.

Hotels, Transportation & Directions

General Workshop Description:  This session will describe the key components of the model, including the foundational philosophy, the architectural characteristics of Green House homes, and the organizational redesign.  The presentation will include an update on the progress of The Green House Project, including tools for adopters and Green House research outcomes.  The workshop includes a visit to The Green House homes and discussions with the host team.  A preliminary agenda and The Green House Project Guide Book are attached.

 Preliminary Agenda

THE GREEN HOUSE PROJECT Guide Book

Workshop Format – Two half-days

Day One:  12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Lunch at noon)

Day Two:  8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Breakfast at 8:00 a.m.)

Thank you for your credit card payment.

Please notify us in advance of any dietary requirements or accessibility needs.

The dress is business casual.

Please contact Aja Lawson or Maura Porcelli if you have questions.  Thank you.

Best regards,

The Green House Project Team

Aja Lawson
alawson@ncbcapitalimpact.org
703.647.2366
Maura Porcelli
mporcelli@ncbcapitalimpact.org
703.647.2311

Workshop Logistics: Leonard Florence Center for Living, February 5-6

Greetings!

Thank you for your interest in THE GREEN HOUSE® Project.  This will confirm that you are registered for The Green House Project’s orientation workshop on February 5-6, in Chelsea, MA.  Please share this information with your colleagues.

Location – Green House Project Training Center

Leonard Florence Center for Living

165 Captains Row at Admirals Hill

 Chelsea, MA, 02150

(617) 887-0001

General driving directions and a list of hotels are included in the attached document.  Parking is free.

 Hotels, Transportation & Directions

General Workshop Description:  This session will describe the key components of the model, including the foundational philosophy, the architectural characteristics of Green House homes, and the organizational redesign.  The presentation will include an update on the progress of The Green House Project, including tools for adopters and Green House research outcomes.  The workshop includes a visit to The Green House homes and discussions with the host team.  A preliminary agenda and The Green House Project Guide Book are attached.

 Preliminary Agenda

THE GREEN HOUSE PROJECT Interactive Brochure

Workshop Format – Two half-days

Day One:  12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Lunch at noon)

Day Two:  8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Breakfast at 8:00 a.m.)

Thank you for your credit card payment.

Please notify us in advance of any dietary requirements or accessibility needs.

The dress is business casual.

Please contact Aja Lawson or Maura Porcelli if you have questions.  Thank you.

Best regards,

The Green House Project Team

 
 
Maura Porcelli
mporcelli@ncbcapitalimpact.org
703.647.2311

Workshop Logistics: St. Martin's in the Pines, January 17-18, 2012

Greetings!

Thank you for your interest in THE GREEN HOUSE® Project.  This will confirm that you are registered for The Green House Project’s orientation workshop on January 17th-18th, in Birmingham, AL.  Please share this information with your colleagues.

Location – Green House Project Training Center

St. Martin’s in the Pines

The Green Room

4949 Montevallo Rd.

Birmingham, AL 35210

(205) 956-9440

General driving directions and a list of hotels are included in the attached document.  Parking is free.

Hotels, Transportation & Directions

 General Workshop Description:  This session will describe the key components of the model, including the foundational philosophy, the architectural characteristics of Green House homes, and the organizational redesign.  The presentation will include an update on the progress of The Green House Project, including tools for adopters and Green House research outcomes.  The workshop includes a visit to The Green House homes and discussions with the host team.  A preliminary agenda and The Green House Project Guide Book are attached.

 Preliminary Agenda

THE GREEN HOUSE PROJECT Guide Book

Workshop Format – Two half-days

Day One:  12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Lunch at noon)

Day Two:  8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Breakfast at 8:00 a.m.)

Thank you for your credit card payment.

Please notify us in advance of any dietary requirements or accessibility needs.

The dress is business casual.

Please contact Aja Lawson or Maura Porcelli if you have questions.  Thank you.

Best regards,

The Green House Project Team

Aja Lawson
alawson@ncbcapitalimpact.org
703.647.2366
Maura Porcelli
mporcelli@ncbcapitalimpact.org
703.647.2311

Workshop Logistics: St. Martin’s in the Pines, January 17-18, 2012

Greetings!

Thank you for your interest in THE GREEN HOUSE® Project.  This will confirm that you are registered for The Green House Project’s orientation workshop on January 17th-18th, in Birmingham, AL.  Please share this information with your colleagues.

Location – Green House Project Training Center

St. Martin’s in the Pines

The Green Room

4949 Montevallo Rd.

Birmingham, AL 35210

(205) 956-9440

General driving directions and a list of hotels are included in the attached document.  Parking is free.

Hotels, Transportation & Directions

 General Workshop Description:  This session will describe the key components of the model, including the foundational philosophy, the architectural characteristics of Green House homes, and the organizational redesign.  The presentation will include an update on the progress of The Green House Project, including tools for adopters and Green House research outcomes.  The workshop includes a visit to The Green House homes and discussions with the host team.  A preliminary agenda and The Green House Project Guide Book are attached.

 Preliminary Agenda

THE GREEN HOUSE PROJECT Guide Book

Workshop Format – Two half-days

Day One:  12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Lunch at noon)

Day Two:  8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Breakfast at 8:00 a.m.)

Thank you for your credit card payment.

Please notify us in advance of any dietary requirements or accessibility needs.

The dress is business casual.

Please contact Aja Lawson or Maura Porcelli if you have questions.  Thank you.

Best regards,

The Green House Project Team

Aja Lawson
alawson@ncbcapitalimpact.org
703.647.2366
Maura Porcelli
mporcelli@ncbcapitalimpact.org
703.647.2311

Convivium, the particular pleasure that accompanies sharing good food with the people we know well


By, Dr. Bill Thomas

Some people eat to live. Others live to eat. Those in the first group regard food as fuel; those in the second group know better than that. Good food has always offered people much more than just calories, fat, carbohydrates, and protein. At its best, food nourishes us – body and soul. A meal can embody powerful symbols of love and acceptance. The bond between comfort and food, which begins at the breast, is fortified throughout childhood and gains renewed strength in the late decades of life. Properly prepared, the meals we cook and serve to our elders should be drenched in memory, ritual, and culture.
Reacting to case reports of actual starvation among nursing home residents, the government has established significant penalties for facilities that allow residents to lose weight “unexpectedly.” As a result, nursing homes struggle constantly to increase the dietary intake of their residents. Just how challenging a task they have undertaken becomes obvious when you look at how these facilities prepare and serve food.
They shop from industrial food catalogues and unload the groceries from a tractor-trailer parked at the loading dock. Meals are prepared in vast industrial kitchens that are deliberately isolated from the people who will eat what they produce. Some long-term care facilities, like airlines, outsource food production entirely and take delivery of dinners by the truckload. In a down-to-the-minute ballet, food is rushed upstairs in huge rumbling carts. Staff members distribute it to waiting residents as quickly as they can. It is a never-ending challenge to serve hot food when it is still hot and cold food when it is still cold.
The people involved do their best. The realities of large-scale food service demand, however, that the material characteristics of the food – its color, viscosity, temperature, and nutritional content- become its most important descriptors. The emphasis on consistency and low cost is constant. Food is shorn of meaning, leaving only numerical measurements. The lifelong rhythm of good food shared within the circle of family life is absent. It is just not possible to imbue six hundred meals a day with the essence of love.
The Romans had a special term for the particular pleasure that accompanies sharing good food with the people we know well. They called this experience convivium. The word has enjoyed a revival recently. The “slow food” (an alternative to fast food) movement has seized on the word as a way of describing dining experiences that are rich in meaning. Fresh, local ingredients prepared according to authentic regional recipes are served to people eager to share. They use smell, taste, and texture as a springboard to good conversation and vital relationships. The shahbazim foster a convivium that enriched the lives of elder and shahbaz alike.
The relationship between people and the food that sustains them begins with the planning that by necessity must precede each meal. The idea that meals can and should be planned with loving care and then prepared with loving hands will strike the typical food service manager as little more than wishful thinking. For the rest of us, it is simple common sense confirmed by our own experiences in our own homes. The suffering created by the industrialization of food in long-term care institutions deserves more than passing attention. Nursing homes are canaries in the mine, warning us of the assembly-line approach to food that is spreading across our social landscape. We are all losing our grip on convivium. Institutions may be able to blame their mechanical approach to food on their own gigantic size, but we can see the erosion of convivium all around us, even in our own lives.
The ability to create and maintain convivium demands an appreciation of the long, languorous meal and is one of the core competencies of a shahbaz. Time must be taken because food tastes better when it is soaked in anticipation. Elsewhere, soup may be purchased in bulk, heated, and then served. The shahbaz insists that the soup be made fresh and allowed to simmer all morning long with ingredients added slowly as the hours pass. In an institution, mealtime is a mad rush. For the shahbaz it is an opportunity to create and then deepen meaning. The spirit of convivium calls upon us to linger, to savor, and to draw strength not just from the food we are blessed to eat but also from the people with whom we are blessed to share our meal.

Director Of Nursing Speaks: Major Difference in a Green House home

Samantha Snapp, RN, DON:
“The major difference between a traditional nursing home and a Green House home for nurses is the relationships that develop. The Green House concept creates an environment that allows nurses to build lasting relationships with elders. It allows them the time they need to focus on the holistic needs of the elder, not just their medical needs. The nurses are able to recognize subtle changes in the elder’s condition quickly because they know them so well. This model gives nurses the time they need to care for their elders instead of being rushed.

It also creates an environment that allows nurses and shabazim (c.n.a) to work as partners to provide the best care possible. There is no “charge” nurse concept in the Green House homes. The nurses work very closely with the shabazim to coach, mentor, and teach them instead of be in charge of them.

Since our Green House homes have opened, we have seen elders walk that did not in the traditional setting. We see elders become more independent. We have seen less weight loss, better skin integrity, and less falls in this setting.”

Moving from Legacy Village to Tabitha: A Green House Story

Joyce Ebmeir, of Tabitha Health Care, a pioneer in The Green House movement, shared a story that speaks to the growth and impact that The Green House Project is having across the country. An elder who was living at Legacy Village, a Green House Project in Bentonville, AR, decided to move to Lincoln, NE to be closer to her daughter. Luckily, this move did not mean that she would have to live in a traditional skilled nursing setting, as Tabitha was the second Green House home to open in the country!

Currently, The Green House Project at 117 open Green House homes across the country, and we are working with organizations in 29 states. We strive for a time when Green House homes are an option in every community, and stories like this let us know that we are on our way!

Conference in California Today, Changing the Physical Environment of Nursing Homes: Addressing State Regulatory Hurdles

Partnership is key to any innovation. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s CEO and President – Risa Lavizzo-Mourey recently expressed why Green House homes are crucial to California’s aging services in an opinion piece for The Sacramento Bee. Today, regulators, legislators, advocates, providers and other leaders in the field come together for a day-long conference by Chi Partners and The California Health Care Foundation to discuss the changing landscape of long term care in California.

Much has changed this year to encourage providers to implement upgrades to their physical environment, and culture change practices:

• OSHPD’s new “Household” regulatory model for nursing homes allows providers to create a more home-like environment for their residents.
• Two small home (The Green House® Project) projects are working their way through the regulatory process, creating a blueprint for addressing key regulatory challenges to this type of model.
• Important Life Safety Code changes for nursing homes have been made by NFPA with the assistance of Pioneer Network that support the implementation of culture change.
• Some states (like Michigan and Arkansas) are successfully overcoming regulatory challenges and are now instituting legislation that supports providers in building new small home and culture-change models providing lessons learned for future changes to California’s regulations.

Leaders such as Pioneer Network CEO, Peter Reed, Director of Arkansas’ Office of Long-Term Care, Carol Shockley, The Green House Project, COO, Susan Frazier, join California regulators to discuss the value of partnering to change the physical environment of skilled nursing homes to support the quality of life and quality of care for the elders and staff in California.