Green House Blog

The Cornell Legacy Project Reminds Us Play Is Essential







The theme this year for Older Americans Month is Never too old to playKarl Pillemer, author of the book ’30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans’, shares wisdom he collected about the importance of play.

In the Legacy Project, we’ve spent the past seven years collecting the practical advice for living from the oldest Americans (in their 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond). They shared their wisdom on a wide range of topics, from marriage, to child-rearing, to career, to how to avoid regrets.

Some of their most useful advice had to do with the question: “What’s the best way to stay happy throughout your life?” And more often than I had expected, the idea of maintaining a lifelong sense of play came up. For example, Maurice gave this recommendation as his advice for marriage: “Think back to the playground when you were a kid. Your spouse should be that kid you would have most liked to play with!”

Sandra, another elder who contributed lessons to the Legacy Project, articulated the importance of play very clearly:

There are certain human needs that are constant. One of them is the concept of “play.” We learn to play without realizing that there may be difficulties that need to be faced in times that lay ahead, but it is going to be all right. As children we can easily write down about ten activities that we love to do, and we can often remember the last time that we did them. We enjoyed being with friends, roller skating, sledding, playing games with family, jumping rope, etc.  It is interesting that when adults are asked, they tend to have difficulty in listing ten things that they love to do, let alone when they last did the fun activity.

Play is an essential. Many times marriages end because couples tend to stop playing. Friendships end because folks get sidetracked with responsibilities and lose touch. Family life becomes mundane when the parents and children omit family chat around the dinner table that leads to listening and laughing. Their time to play as a family can define their love for one another and add to positive memories.

Having fun through play remains with us from birth to death.

So let’s listen to our elders, and keep playing – for all the years that we’re here!

The Green House Project 5th Annual Meeting and Celebration: Meaningful Life, Meaningful Engagement!


Hello Colleagues!

We are pleased to announce the Fifth Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, MI.  This gathering celebrates the many Green House projects growing homes across the country. Mark your calendar for this special gathering you won’t want to miss!  This brochure includes program highlights for your review and registration information. 

This year’s theme, “Meaningful Life, Meaningful Engagement” acknowledges the four Green House Projects open and thriving in the great state of Michigan.  From Pinecrest in the Upper Peninsula to Porter Hills, in Grand Rapids, our host city; from the Villages of Redford in Detroit’s outskirts to the Vern & Lois Boersma Cottages on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, we honor all of the homes where elders and persons living with disabilities can live lives of meaning and engagement in homes where they are well known.  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!

Visits to Porter Hills will be scheduled before, during and after the Conference.  Dr. Bill Thomas and dementia care expert Teepa Snow OT/R will join with the elders and staff of many Green House homes to network, share successful practices and spend time building relationships and creating intentional community among Green House adopters.

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

Below you will find this years brochure, which contains many details about the Annual Meeting and Celebration; including a preliminary program, logistics information and pre-conference and site visit information.  Please print the brochure to keep for your records.  You will also find the direct link to register you and/or your organization for attendance at The Green House Project 5th Annual Meeting and Celebration: Meaningful Life, Meaningful Engagement.                   

The Green House Project Team


CLICK HERE to download the Annual Meeting and Celebration brochure!

Book your travel now!

The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

187 Monroe Avenue Northwest

GrandRapids, Michigan 49503

Room rate: $104 (Single or Double Occupancy)

Reservations may be made by dialing the following number and providing the group name:

Reservation Line: 800.253.3590

Group Name: Green House Project

*Please note this rate is only valid until August 05, 2012*

Closest airports

9 miles: Gerald R. Ford International Airport– Grand Rapids, MI (GRR / KGRR) 

32 miles: Muskegon County Airport– Muskegon, MI (MKG / KMKG)

Other nearby airports

51 miles: Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport– Kalamazoo, MI (AZO / KAZO)
56 miles: Capital Region International Airport– Lansing, MI (LAN / KLAN)
89 miles: MBS International Airport – Freeland, MI (MBS / KMBS)
93 miles: South Bend Regional Airport– South Bend, IN (SBN / KSBN)
95 miles: Manistee County-Blacker Airport– Manistee, MI (MBL / KMBL)
97 miles: Bishop International Airport – Flint, MI (FNT / KFNT)

156 miles: Detroit Metropolitan Airport – Romulus, MI (DTW / KDTW)


Questions?  Please contact Aja Lawson at 703.647.2311 or

Fill out my online form.

Community integrated Green House homes provide a New York neighborhood with something special…licensed nursing home care

It takes a variety of homes to make up a neighborhood—so why not build Green House homes in existing communities?  There are those who would question whether it’s possible…but in upstate New York it’s proving to be a wonderful addition to the neighborhood and a shining example of skilled nursing home care.

While many of us would clearly prefer home and community-based care, it’s estimated that 1.2 million Americans currently live in institutional facilities.  This rings especially true for low-income elders and others who lack access to affordable nursing services in their area.

Green House homes offer elders a place where autonomy and choice are honored, direct skilled nursing care is a priority, and they have more satisfying and meaningful lives, work and relationships.  When the home is located within a neighborhood—it also meets that desire for community-based services.

St. John’s Home in Rochester, New York opened the first two community-integrated Green House homes two months ago and will part of an evaluation of the concept over the next three years.

CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Tell us what you think below!