Green House Blog

Reciprocity: A Bake Sale at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home

In What Are Old People For?, Dr. Thomas describes “Reciprocity” in this way, “Protection can, in fact, be given and received among equals. This approach is founded on the principle of reciprocity rather than on the helplessness of the frail in the face of adult vigor.” (pg. 261)

Sarah Hoffman, illustrates this principle through her story of a bake sale at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home. After a devestating flood, the elders got together to help their community. Click on the below video to hear Sarah recount the event:

Sarah– Bake Sale– Reciprocity from The Green House Project on Vimeo.

THRIVE research: Examining deep culture change adoption in the Green House model

The Green House Project has partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s THRIVE (The Research Initiative Valuing Eldercare) collaborative to learn more about the Green House model as well as other models of care. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the THRIVE team is conducting a series of interrelated research projects that together will comprise the largest research effort undertaken to date in Green House homes. Each month, a member of the THRIVE team will contribute a blog post to the Green House Project website.

There’s an old saying, “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” The culture change movement is a shift in philosophy towards a more person-centered model of nursing home care. Green House specifically, and the nursing home culture change movement more generally, has grown tremendously over the past two decades. If policymakers are to further encourage adoption of this model, they need to better understand the factors that promote adoption of the model. To help, the THRIVE research team examined nursing home adoption and non-adoption of “deep” culture change as well as of the Green House model specifically. 

Where has Green House Been? The results suggest culture change adopters are more likely to be nonprofit, faith-based, independently-owned, located in urban areas, and larger in size. Settings that eventually adopted culture change or the Green House model initially had fewer minority residents, lower Medicaid census, and lower resident acuity.

Those that didn’t adopt had more survey deficiencies, lower registered nurse staffing, and a greater debt relative to assets. Greater culture change adoption occurred when states rewarded adoption in t their pay-for-performance (P4P) system, had a culture change coalition, and paid a higher Medicaid per diem.

The bottom line finding is that, to date, nursing home culture change models such as Green House have been adopted differentially by higher resource organizations, and that nursing homes are responsive to state policy factors when adopting culture change. 

Where is Green House Going? Deep culture change such as the Green House model requires significant investment, vision, and leadership on the part of nursing homes. Not surprisingly, our findings suggest resource-challenged organizations have lagged behind in the adoption of culture change and the Green House model.

Medicaid nursing home payment policies such as P4P can be used as an important first step towards expanding the number of settings adopting Green House. Other policy and related efforts to promote Green House might include regulatory changes, quality reporting, lowering the costs of capital, and workforce enhancements. However, states will need to develop additional policies and incentives to target resource-poor settings that have higher numbers of Medicaid enrollees and minorities.

An Innovative Response to Global Aging

Click here to view an interview of Dr. Al Power, geriatrician, and Dr. Emi Kyota, environmental gerontologist,  as they discuss their new project called, An Innovative Approach to Global Aging: Creating a resilient community for all.  The suggestion within this project is that an essential part of resilience in communities is to create environments where the presence and perspective of older adults is seen as a normal and valued. 

The innovation of this project is a part of the Rockefeller Bellagio Center.  The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center’s mission is to promote innovation and identify impact-oriented solutions to critical global problems. The Center, through conferences and residency programs, supports the work of scholars, artists, thought leaders, policymakers, and practitioners who share in the Foundation’s pioneering mission to “promote the well-being of humanity.”

"Let's Play Green House homes"

Edna, a shahbaz at Lebanon Valley Nursing Home shares an experience that occurred in her Green House home.  Sometimes, the evidence that we are changing the way people view aging is in the small details of everyday life…   
“I want to share this story with everyone . I am not a writer so bear with me. One of our elders had her great-grandaughter come to visit from Alaska. The 4 yr old great-grandaughter looked at her grandmother told her “we are going to play Green House home. She told her grandmother she will be “Edna”.  I was quite honored! No one ever wanted to be me before… so they continued to play Green House home. They proceeded to ring the door bell, and the little girl would ask her grandmother who she was here to see, and led her sweetly to the table and so forth.  This brought a smile to my face in all the years I worked in the traditional nursing home, which by the way I started in 1977, I never heard a child want to play “nursing home”….Another reason why I love working in the Hostetter House in Palmyra,  Pa…..Thanks to all of you that make it posssible for us to give our elders what they deserve…..”

“Let’s Play Green House homes”

Edna, a shahbaz at Lebanon Valley Nursing Home shares an experience that occurred in her Green House home.  Sometimes, the evidence that we are changing the way people view aging is in the small details of everyday life…   
“I want to share this story with everyone . I am not a writer so bear with me. One of our elders had her great-grandaughter come to visit from Alaska. The 4 yr old great-grandaughter looked at her grandmother told her “we are going to play Green House home. She told her grandmother she will be “Edna”.  I was quite honored! No one ever wanted to be me before… so they continued to play Green House home. They proceeded to ring the door bell, and the little girl would ask her grandmother who she was here to see, and led her sweetly to the table and so forth.  This brought a smile to my face in all the years I worked in the traditional nursing home, which by the way I started in 1977, I never heard a child want to play “nursing home”….Another reason why I love working in the Hostetter House in Palmyra,  Pa…..Thanks to all of you that make it posssible for us to give our elders what they deserve…..”

Mt. San Antonio Garden's Approved in California

Passion and tenacity are two words that can be used to describe Mt. San Antonio Gardens, in their pursuit to bring The Green House Project to California.  Spurred on by the belief that there has to be a better way to support to our elders, in a real home environment, where all people are treated with dignity, this organization has blazed a trail.  After many years of discussion, education, and planning with stakeholders across the state, Mt. San Antonio Gardens will become the first Green House Project to break ground in the state of California! 

Mt. San Antonio Gardens is an organization with a long, 50 year history of pursuing excellence, and living values that align with those of The Green House Project.  Since its founding, residents have participated in leadership and decision making of the organization.  While it may seem obvious to involve the people impacted in the decision making process, in traditional long term care, this is revolutionary!  This sense of empowerment is reflected not only in the residents, but also in the long tenure and enthusiasm of the staff.  Their motto, “Service Beyond Expectations”, is reflected in many years of a pioneering spirit—The Green House Project is a wonderful next step of this legacy. 

Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any organization.  To successfully bring The Green House Project to fruition, strong leaders with a powerful vision for change must be at the helm.  Randy Stoll, CEO of Mt. San Antonio Gardens, has a passion for excellence that impacts all those around him,

“We have always had a goal of creating an environment of support where elders can live with dignity.  But when my dad was a resident in our nursing home, and as good as our care was, I recognized that this was not home, and I promised him that I would work to make it better.  The Green House model is the answer to create home and skilled nursing care in a meaningful and dignified way.  While a Green House home was not available for my dad, I am proud that soon, we will be able to provide a better option for loved ones who need nursing care.”   

The Green House Project is grateful for the vision and passion that has enabled Mt. San Antonio Gardens to persevere through the journey that has led to this notable moment.  We are one state closer to making this model an option in every community!

Mt. San Antonio Garden’s Approved in California

Passion and tenacity are two words that can be used to describe Mt. San Antonio Gardens, in their pursuit to bring The Green House Project to California.  Spurred on by the belief that there has to be a better way to support to our elders, in a real home environment, where all people are treated with dignity, this organization has blazed a trail.  After many years of discussion, education, and planning with stakeholders across the state, Mt. San Antonio Gardens will become the first Green House Project to break ground in the state of California! 

Mt. San Antonio Gardens is an organization with a long, 50 year history of pursuing excellence, and living values that align with those of The Green House Project.  Since its founding, residents have participated in leadership and decision making of the organization.  While it may seem obvious to involve the people impacted in the decision making process, in traditional long term care, this is revolutionary!  This sense of empowerment is reflected not only in the residents, but also in the long tenure and enthusiasm of the staff.  Their motto, “Service Beyond Expectations”, is reflected in many years of a pioneering spirit—The Green House Project is a wonderful next step of this legacy. 

Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any organization.  To successfully bring The Green House Project to fruition, strong leaders with a powerful vision for change must be at the helm.  Randy Stoll, CEO of Mt. San Antonio Gardens, has a passion for excellence that impacts all those around him,

“We have always had a goal of creating an environment of support where elders can live with dignity.  But when my dad was a resident in our nursing home, and as good as our care was, I recognized that this was not home, and I promised him that I would work to make it better.  The Green House model is the answer to create home and skilled nursing care in a meaningful and dignified way.  While a Green House home was not available for my dad, I am proud that soon, we will be able to provide a better option for loved ones who need nursing care.”   

The Green House Project is grateful for the vision and passion that has enabled Mt. San Antonio Gardens to persevere through the journey that has led to this notable moment.  We are one state closer to making this model an option in every community!

New research study shows increased internet usage among Americans over the age of 65

via Long-Term Living Magazine

Believe it or not, the internet isn’t just for the tech-saavy and young; but also for the young-at-heart.  According to a new research study conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project, 53% of American adults, 65 and over, are using the internet or email; and nearly one third of these are using  social networking sites.  This is a milestone for this age group who, until recently, had seen very little growth in internet usage.

86% of internet users age 65 and older use email, with 48% doing so on a typical day.

This new surge of web-saavy elders are prompting major brands to market products and services catered to these individuals.

Read the full research results here.

Are you, or do you know of an elder who is using the internet as part of a daily routine?  Tell us about it!

The 6th Eden Alternative International Conference

One of many celebrations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conference lobby was buzzing with excitement as individuals gathered for the 6th Eden Alternative International Conference.  Even as a newcomer to this event, it was evident that everyone was deeply connected both personally and professionally.  It felt like a large family reunion, and in no time, I was swept up in all the enthusiasm and camaraderie.

I have been pondering how to capture my experience but have found it very difficult to neatly package three powerful and enlightening days into one blog.  I anticipated I would meet extraordinary people, but I never imagined every person I met to leave such a lasting impression.  For instance, I met Connie Goldman, a former staff member of National Public Radio and life-long advocate of changing society’s perception on aging.  “We all want to live a long life,” she stated during the conference. “However, no one wants to age.  What people don’t understand is that being older is the best time of your life or at least it can be.”  I realized I was surrounded by people tirelessly working to make this a reality.

The conference was packed with educational sessions, panels, an exhibitor booth, and plenty of convivium and celebration.  Information ranged from international growth to intergenerational opportunities.  The conference also illuminated how the Eden philosophy and principles thrive in The Green House model.  It was a reminder that relationships are the basis of the work we do and will continue to guide our work in the future.

A Special Position in Green House Homes: The Sage

“The Sage occupies a honored place in a Green House home,” that is how Dr. Bill Thomas, the founder of The Green House Project®, describes the importance of this volunteer position in each home.  

According to Dr. Thomas they occupy such an honored place in the home because the Sage is concerned that everyone in the house have the best possible life.  “The Sage is an advocate for the well-being of the house”.  The Green House model depends on the Sage to be “a person of influence” says Dr. Thomas.  He is quick to point out that this volunteer is not someone that possesses technical expertise, but someone who can help others get along.   The Sage will see, hear, touch and be thinking about the life of the house, the rhythm of the home for the elders and the staff.

What person would possess such abilities?  Dr. Thomas explains that you are “looking for people who have had a lifetime of experience helping small groups of people work effectively”. He says it could be an elementary teacher, a small business leader, or a retired minister.

A Sage from St. Martin’s in the Pines in Birmingham, Alabama thoroughly enjoys this volunteer position.  She cautions though that it does take time to build relationships with the elders, Shahbazim, and other staff members.  “It takes time to learn and listen”.  “I try to be influential”.

The success of the Sage is critical to the success of the Green House home according to Dr. Thomas.  While he explains that you can operate without one, you will prefer to operate with one, “It’s the cherry on the top, it’s the secret sauce”.

What do you think about the role of the Sage?  Let us know!

Highlighting the Green House Project Team: Debbie Wiegand, Project Guide

Elders have always been at the center of Debbie’s life. Not many of us could say that we knew both sets of our grandparents, a great grandmother & grandfather, and a great, great grandmother—but that is the case for Debbie. She was raised in a small, rural community in Texas, and her neighborhood was filled with generations of family members. Her grandparents and great grandparents were a huge part of her life—they had a strong influence on her and she appreciated their wisdom.
When her great grandfather moved to the local nursing home affiliated with her church, she enjoyed going to visit him with her family and grandmother. In fact, Debbie had been to The Eden Home many times as part of church and summer camp activities. Her memories of having ice cream and going to the sun room of the home to play dominos and cards with her great grandfather was just a “home away from home” for her during that time—it was never an institution.
Of course that opinion began to change when she was hired at the home after college. Her degree in marketing could have taken her anywhere—but out of 200 resumes for a marketing position at The Eden Home, the leadership felt that she was the best candidate. Thus began her career in aging.
She held many positions in the home and finally became the administrator. That is when she met Jude and Bill Thomas who were introducing the idea of The Eden Alternative®. Debbie was determined her home would be one of the pilot sites for the project—how could it not be with a name like “The Eden Home”? They were selected and experienced wonderful outcomes for elders, families and staff.
Since then, Debbie has taken her skills and knowledge to other nursing homes and is now a Project Guide for THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project.

  • 24 years of experience in aging services—with a passion for person-directed initiatives.
  • Development and oversight of $27M small house model and ALF
  • Eden Associate, Eden Mentor and one of six Texas Pioneers to implement The Eden Alternative
  • Licensed Nursing Home Administrator – 300 person Skilled Nursing home
  • Administrator of The Year—2009 Texas Leading Age (formerly AAHSA), regular speaker/presenter for Texas Leading Age

Debbie currently lives on a 3rd generation family farm where they raise cattle. She thoroughly enjoys spending her time with family, her church and her fishing pole.  Debbie says she will go fishing “whenever I can!”

Policy Event Launches National Conversation about Advancing the Green House Model

On May 30, The Green House Project, in partnership with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, hosted a groundbreaking policy event at the newly opened Green House Residences at Stadium Place. As the first Green House project in the state of Maryland, the proximity of Stadium Place afforded an opportunity for more than 70 national leaders in government, aging and long-term care to see the homes firsthand and launch a national conversation about how to make Green House homes a choice in every community.

With the support of Green House program experts, adopters, and researchers, the event served as an opportunity for education about the unique elements of the Green House model and the positive, evidence-based outcomes of the cultural and environmental transformation. Following a discussion of early results from emerging consumer research and a new pilot study on Medicare and Medicaid cost savings, Don Redfoot, Strategic Policy Advisor of AARP, noted that, “the Green House model demonstrates that you don’t have to have an institutional model to provide a high-level of care.”

Perhaps most inspiring was the testimonial of Ann Frohman, granddaughter of former Green House elder, Mary Valentine. Ann demonstrated how her grandmother “sprouted wings” while living in the Green House homes in Lincoln, NE. Through Anne’s reflections, the need was validated for continued collaboration and conversations about ways in which to impact elders nationwide through growth of the Green House movement.