Green House Blog

White Oaks Cottages Launch their new Website

White Oak Cottages, an assisted living Green House residence in Westwood, MA for elders living with memory loss, has launched its website.Just as the White Oak Cottages’ mission and emphasis is to cater the complex needs of residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, the new White Oak Cottages website caters to the needs of its viewers. It’s clean, aesthetically pleasing, informative and easy to read.

The website focuses on education for the viewer. Visitors will learn about The Green House Project and its mission and what makes a Green House Residence so different from traditional assisted living residences and nursing homes. The website will feature a calendar of upcoming educational events at White Oak. These onsite programs include a professional speakers series, family support sessions and CEU programs. The website will also feature a blog dedicated to providing useful, relevant and compassionate information to families, professionals and others interested in dementia. Blog content will be updated weekly and will cover a variety of topics including explanations of dementia behaviors, putting mass media news stories about Alzheimer’s and dementia into an informed context, ideas for taking day trips and activities with your memory impaired loved one, and a down and dirty explanation of a clinical trial.

For more information, to sign up for their email newsletter or to plan a visit go to www.whiteoakcottages.com

Creating A Safe Place For Older Adults Who Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

Kate Waldo and Debbie Wiegand, Project Guides at The Green House Project

It is hard to believe there is a group of older adults who are less likely to use health services, visit their local senior center and be open about their lifestyle when living in a nursing home or assisted living facility.  However, this is the reality for most older adults who are  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT). 

Kate Waldo, Project Guide at THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project discussed this issue at The Pioneer Network 12th National Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.  She talked about ways aging providers can improve services and support for LGBT older adults.  To say support for this population is inadequate would be an understatement.  So why is this happening? There has been a long history of discrimination, stigmatization and persecution of this population.  The LGBT older adults we are currently serving have lived through heinous treatment, from electric shock therapy as the standard “treatment for homosexuality” to losing their jobs and children for being gay.  It is no wonder many individuals have waited until late life to come out or continue to hide it.    

As health care providers, we cannot be satisfied with services that are not meeting the needs of one of the most vulnerable populations.  To learn more, contact the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

Social Media and Livestreaming: Creating True Meaningful Engagement for Green House Adopters and Supporters

Social media and online channels serve as effective platforms to share best practices and support. The main platforms that The Green House Project has to leverage are the website and blog, The Green House Project Facebook Page, and the GreenHouse_Proj twitter account.  By sharing photos, stories and updates about our member organizations in an interactive way, we help to create a community of support and share our adopters’ individual cultures with the world.  

During The 5th Annual Green House Meeting and Celebration, there will be many opportunities for our adopters to share their experiences through writing short articles on our blog, posting photos on our facebook page, and tweeting quotes and highlights through #GHP

There are a few sessions throughout the meeting that will be livestreamed on The Green House Blog.  These opportunities will be predominantly linked on the homepage of The Green House website.  The keynote speeches and other videos will be available to watch, on demand from the blog shortly after the broadcast.   Please encourage your colleagues and others to tune in, and don’t forget to follow #GHP September 5th-7th!

CLICK HERE to view the livestreaming schedule.

Highlighting the Green House Project Team: Rachel Scher, Marketing Specialist

Rachel Scher, Marketing Specialist

Rachel knew she had to “do something with people” for her career, and she found her answer while volunteering during her undergraduate program—working with Elders!

Her first exposure to Skilled Nursing was a dance recital—and even at the age of 6, Rachel knew it wasn’t a warm or welcoming environment.  As she grew up she did have a wonderful Elder in her life though—her grandmother, who today she still refers to as “hip and cool”.

Those thoughts of “hip and cool” Elders were solidified when she volunteered at the Kendal of Ithaca Nursing Home.  Rachel enjoyed the wisdom of the Elders, having tea with them—she loved the experience.  In fact, it was the Elders that urged Rachel to pursue her master’s degree!  She did just that, receiving a fellowship from the University of Michigan to pursue Social Work in Gerontology Studies.

Since then, Rachel has been working to enrich the lives of Elders through a variety of positions in Home Health Care, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing.  For the past 4 years Rachel has been with The Green House Project®, and is currently the Marketing Specialist.

  • B.S. in Human Development, Cornell University; MSW, University of Michigan
  • 7 years of experience in aging services—Home Health Care, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing
  • Coordinated an interdisciplinary team to assess needs for aging Women Veterans, developed programs to effectively address those concerns
  • Eden Associate
  • Member of the Aging Special Interest Committee for the National Association of Social Workers.
  • Facilitated recording of life histories through Storycorps Memory Loss Initiative.

Rachel was a field hockey player—being recruited as a Division I varsity player for Cornell University.  Rachel’s interests today include hiking, traveling (she recently returned from a honeymoon trip to Africa!), and attending outdoor concerts with friends.

Person-Centered Regulations Discussed at Pioneer Network’s 2012 National Conference

The Pioneer Network’s National Conference in Jacksonville, FL, challenged participants to build a bridge to a new culture of aging. Skip Gregory, retired Bureau Chief at the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) in Florida, is building that bridge with patience and regulatory resourcefulness.
Nearly every new neighborhood, small house and Green House home is impacted by codes. Building codes, fire codes, and design codes alike, “exist to provide minimum protection,” said Gregory. The August 6th all-day intensive Defining the future of long term care included a discussion on how regulations are “transforming to better support person-centered care.”
The 2012 NFPA Fire Code now allows for furniture in a nursing home’s eight foot corridor. And, gas fireplaces are OK in sleeping areas (though not in bedrooms). Alternate Methods Section 104.11 of the International Building Code (IBC) supports creative approaches to design and equipment. ADA code section 2.2 affords “wiggle room” that includes smarter bathroom design for Elders and their care-partners.

Green House adopters should connect with their Project Guide and architect to learn more about how new codes support their vision for real home. For more information on The Green House Project and its regulatory successes, please visit www.thegreenhouseproject.org.

Tribes of Eden Book Club at Pioneer Network's 2012 National Conference

It’s not often that you get the chance to hear the author read excerpts from their book, but that was the case Tuesday as Dr. Bill Thomas discussed his latest novel, The Tribes of Eden.   The lucky audience was attendees at the Pioneer Network 2012 National Conference.  The book is set in the near future after the utter collapse of society.  It introduces a new vision of old age to counter ageist views that hinder our efforts to improve care for older adults.   

Dr. Thomas had a special message for the culture change group, stating that it is time for them to take the movement one step further.  “We need to become agents of changing our wider culture.”  He believes the novel can be conduit for this broader change.  He challenged the group “to begin framing the work you do to the society as a whole”…it is time to combat declinist and ageist views that do not promote elderhood.

Dr. Thomas is the founder of The Eden Alternative and The Green House Project.

Tribes of Eden Book Club at Pioneer Network’s 2012 National Conference

It’s not often that you get the chance to hear the author read excerpts from their book, but that was the case Tuesday as Dr. Bill Thomas discussed his latest novel, The Tribes of Eden.   The lucky audience was attendees at the Pioneer Network 2012 National Conference.  The book is set in the near future after the utter collapse of society.  It introduces a new vision of old age to counter ageist views that hinder our efforts to improve care for older adults.   

Dr. Thomas had a special message for the culture change group, stating that it is time for them to take the movement one step further.  “We need to become agents of changing our wider culture.”  He believes the novel can be conduit for this broader change.  He challenged the group “to begin framing the work you do to the society as a whole”…it is time to combat declinist and ageist views that do not promote elderhood.

Dr. Thomas is the founder of The Eden Alternative and The Green House Project.

A New Definition for Dementia explored at Pioneer Network's 2012 National Conference

To many, a person with dementia is a complex and misunderstood being, and currently the only way most people treat them is with medication.  Dr. Al Power, M.D., a board certified internist and geriatrician and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester, New York couldn’t disagree more.  In fact, he told conference attendees today that the lessons learned with the culture change movement taking place in skilled nursing facilities could offer insight into dementia care.

Power told the group instead of looking inside the box…we need to get rid of the box!  He offered a new definition for the disease:  “Dementia is a shift in the way a person experiences the world around her/him.”

“Care should be individualized, putting the person before the disease,” explained Power, “We need a paradigm shift, to a person-directed, relationship-based model of care.”   The challenge is on us, the care partner according to Power to find a better way to communicate with those with dementia.  “We put them in places where they can’t succeed.  We need to go where they CAN succeed.”

Part of the approach would include an Experiential Audit, using “Well-being Domains”, i.e. Identity (Is my story known and understood by my care partners?), Autonomy (Do I have opportunities for choice and control throughout the day?), Security (Do I feel safe in my surroundings and do I trust those who provide my care?).

Power believes a physical, operational and personal transformation is needed for facilities and care partners working with those with dementia.  “You feel that when you walk into our Green House homes.”  Power serves as Eden Mentor at St. John’s Home, which opened two Green House homes earlier this year.

For more information about dementia and Dr. Al Power, you can contact him at:  apower@st.johnsliving.org or at his website http://www.alpower.net/

A New Definition for Dementia explored at Pioneer Network’s 2012 National Conference

To many, a person with dementia is a complex and misunderstood being, and currently the only way most people treat them is with medication.  Dr. Al Power, M.D., a board certified internist and geriatrician and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester, New York couldn’t disagree more.  In fact, he told conference attendees today that the lessons learned with the culture change movement taking place in skilled nursing facilities could offer insight into dementia care.

Power told the group instead of looking inside the box…we need to get rid of the box!  He offered a new definition for the disease:  “Dementia is a shift in the way a person experiences the world around her/him.”

“Care should be individualized, putting the person before the disease,” explained Power, “We need a paradigm shift, to a person-directed, relationship-based model of care.”   The challenge is on us, the care partner according to Power to find a better way to communicate with those with dementia.  “We put them in places where they can’t succeed.  We need to go where they CAN succeed.”

Part of the approach would include an Experiential Audit, using “Well-being Domains”, i.e. Identity (Is my story known and understood by my care partners?), Autonomy (Do I have opportunities for choice and control throughout the day?), Security (Do I feel safe in my surroundings and do I trust those who provide my care?).

Power believes a physical, operational and personal transformation is needed for facilities and care partners working with those with dementia.  “You feel that when you walk into our Green House homes.”  Power serves as Eden Mentor at St. John’s Home, which opened two Green House homes earlier this year.

For more information about dementia and Dr. Al Power, you can contact him at:  apower@st.johnsliving.org or at his website http://www.alpower.net/

Pioneer Network Conference Convenes Many Culture Change Leaders

The Pioneer Network is a group that calls for a radical change in the culture of aging so that when our grandparents, parents — and ultimately ourselves — go to a nursing home or other community-based setting it is to thrive, not to decline. They serve as a convener for those people in the field of aging, who embrace flexibility and self-determination. Together we create a strong voice for Culture Change in the field of aging.

Next week The Green House Project will travel to Jacksonville, Florida to participate in their 12th annual national conference! The majority of the team will be in attendence, as the purpose of the Pioneer Network at the very core of The Green House Project.  It will be a stimulating exhange of ideas, and a time to build strong relationships. 

There will be many opportunities to connect with The Green House Project throughout the conference. The team will lead conference intensives on Workforce, Meaningful Engagement, and Aging in the LGBT community. There will be also be a session focused on The Green House model where a panel of Green House adopters from Porter Hills in Grand Rapids, MI will share their experience of life in this model.

In addition to the sessions, as a conference sponsor, the exhibit booth will feature exciting new tools and research from The Green House Project including, consumer research showing that, 95 percent of caregivers who learn about the Green House favor it significantly over any other option, including in-home care. Our latest development is The Business Case for THE GREEN HOUSE® Project which is built to articulate how this model improves lives and bottom lines

To learn more about The Green House model, visit our website, “Like” us on Facebook, and download our app for Ipad by searching “GHP” in the app store.