Green House Blog

Financing and Collaboration Brings Green House homes to Colorado

It was a beautiful day in Loveland, Colorado for the historic groundbreaking ceremony of the first Green House homes in Colorado. The skies were clear and the beautiful Rocky Mountains provided a breathtaking view in the background. This Green House project is the result of a collaboration between Loveland Housing Authority and Vivage Quality Health Care Partners.  These innovative groups worked with NCB Capital Impact, AARP foundation, The Weinberg Foundation and many other sources of financing to bring this project to life for low income elders:

A $16 million project takes a significant numbers of financial partners, as well as time. Nearly four years in the works, financing for the project includes New Market Tax Credits, $584,000 in fee waivers from the city of Loveland, $2.6 million from the Colorado State Division of Housing and a $2 million grant from Maryland-based nonprofit The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Local residents were an integral part of planning the groundbreaking ceremony.  The Reporter-Herald covered this collaborative event, “”The goal is to create rampant normalcy where people can feel at home,” said Nancy Fox, the chief life enhancement officer for Vivage Quality Heath Care Partners.
The program was kicked off by Sam Betters, Executive director of the Loveland Housing Authority. He shared the trials and successes of the long four year journey that led to securing financing for this important project, “It takes a lot of people to make this work, and we do this to meet the community’s needs,” Betters said Tuesday in remarks before a crowd Mirasol residents, local officials and a wide-range of partners.”  The determined spirit and “can do” attitude was palpable throughout the ceremony.

Next Sue Mendenhall, the Resident Ambassador of Mirasol Senior Living Community described The Green House Project as “breathtaking in its innovation.”  Major Cecil Gutierrez from the City of Loveland described Loveland as “one of the most innovative and creative cities demonstrated by art and projects the Loveland Housing Authority has come up with.”

“You are bringing something amazing to your state,” The Green House Project Chief Operating Operator Susan Frazier told the crowd. “You are becoming a part of something that is so much bigger than yourself.”

There are currently Green House projects in 25 states, with many more in development.

John Knox Village to Open Florida’s First Skilled Nursing Green House Homes

As THE GREEN HOUSE® Project celebrates its 10th anniversary, South Florida prepares to open its first skilled nursing Green House homes.  The project was highlighted in an article in the Sun Sentinel.

Kitchen rendering (RDG Planning & Design/Courtesy / November 15, 2013)

John Knox Village, in Pompano Beach, will start construction on the homes in the fall of next year.  While John Knox Village will be Florida’s first skilled nursing Green House homes, “experts predict it won’t be the last. That’s because these new-styled nursing homes, and other places like them, offer the privacy, independence and amenities that aging baby boomers are going to demand when they get to the point they require long-term care.”

John Knox Village is a continuing care retirement community, which will house the 7-story “urban stacked Green House homes.”  “There will be two units — each with their own front doors and staff, and functioning as an independent nursing home — on each of the six floors above the building’s ground-level common area. The units will feature 12 private rooms with baths, a large communal living space and an open-area kitchen where all meals are prepared and eaten.”

Jane Lowe, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which has supported and championed The Green House Project over the last ten years, says that “Just because you are older, frail and need a lot of support doesn’t mean you need to live in a hospital-like setting.”  And this philosophy is taking Florida by storm, as more and more long-term care communities are focusing on patient-centered care.

For more on the John Knox Village Green House project, or to read the whole article, click here.

John B. Thompson, a resident of John Knox Village, and Harvard Graduate class of  ’59, wrote an essay for his 55th reunion about his experience at John Knox Village. Click here to read what he has to say to his classmates about the Green House® model.


Jewish Senior Life to build Green House homes in Rochester, New York

Via  Rochester Business Journal

A major $100 million dollar project is underway on the campus of Jewish Senior Life.  It will include a number of upgrades for the facility…but the focus of the construction will be 14 Green House homes.  Each will be complete with a private bedroom, open kitchen, large hearth and dining area.

Read more about the project and tell us what you think!

More than Pampering. More than Relaxation. Therapeutic Massage as Medicine?

Compassion. Empowerment. Well-Being. Comfort. Engagement. Those are some of the ideals that describe The Green House Project. These concepts also define what therapeutic massage can provide to aging adults.  It’s beautifully simple…therapeutic massage can enable older adults to extend the vitality and quality of their lives. At its core, massage gives the natural pleasure of a reassuring human touch, lowering the risk of anxiety and increasing feelings of comfort.

Massage can increase relaxation, improve circulation, relieve pain, accelerate healing from injury and illness, strengthen the immune system, and improve sleep quality.   In addition, when performed by appropriately trained and licensed massage therapists, it can provide symptomatic relief from many conditions that occur with age.

For example, the Arthritis Foundation reports that therapeutic massage can decrease joint and muscle soreness, reduce muscle pain and spasms, and improve grip strength.

Incorporating regular therapeutic massage into the treatment protocol for Parkinson’s Disease can have a positive cumulative effect on managing symptoms. In fact, the National Parkinson’s Foundation reports that massage can reduce rigidity and tremors, increase daily functioning and stamina, and increase feelings of relaxation.

How can you bring massage to your community?

Therapeutic massage for older adults is a growing niche industry. Increasing numbers of senior living community administrators are exploring ways to bring a therapeutic massage program to their residents. Increasing numbers of current and likely future senior living community residents are seeking this therapy.

Family and Nursing Care began offering therapeutic massage in 2011, as a complement to our home care services and to support our vision for wellness and whole-person care.  In one community we work with, interested residents sign-up each week for a short seated massage. On the day of the massage, the residents come to the massage area at their designated time.   In another community, management wants to show the health and wellness impact of the massage program. They asked for volunteers who wanted to receive a 30-minute massage session each week. Residents were selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Because we are working with the same residents each week and the massages are of a longer duration, this expanded program includes an initial intake, assessment and development of massage plan, goal setting, regular massage in accordance with the plan and goals, SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) Notes, follow-up assessments, consultations with the medical team as needed, and submission of progress reports to management.

These are only two possible options. There are many variations on what a program could look like. First, identify the nature of your interest in a massage program. What value do you want to bring for your residents and for your community?

After you have identified the foundation for the program, there are many other factors to consider:

  • What outcome would you need to consider the program a success?
  • How many of your residents would be interested in participating in a massage program?
  • Would your residents’ level of interest be enhanced by education about the benefits of massage? If so, how can education be provided?
  • Is your medical team knowledgeable about the benefits of therapeutic massage? Would they be willing to refer residents for massage?
  • Will your community make an investment in the success of the program? In our experience, the program will be most successful and reach the largest numbers of residents when the community foots the bill.
  • Does your community have a private room that could be dedicated to massage or would the residents get a massage in their own rooms?
  • Would it be important to you to have massage therapists who are trained specifically to work with older adults? Who can give your residents the option of staying fully- or partially-dressed during the massage? Who can give your residents unable to get on a massage table the option of getting their massage in a hospital bed, their regular bed, or even a wheelchair or even their scooter?
  • How many hours per week or month would massage be available?

These are only a few of the questions to take into account. Consider partnering with an experienced organization to help ensure the success of your massage program.


About Family & Nursing Care

Since 1968, Family & Nursing Care has specialized in helping older adults get the most out of life. Whether it is a caregiver to help with activities of daily living, a nurse to assist with more skilled needs, or a licensed massage therapist to ease aches and pains or the symptoms of an illness, Family & Nursing Care meets each client’s individual needs. Service is provided in Maryland (Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard and Frederick counties) and Washington, DC. Learn more at


Free Livestreaming of Select Sessions at The Green House Annual Meeting and Celebration

The Green House Annual Meeting and Celebration is a robust time where organizations who have adopted The Green House model can come together to learn, network and grow together.  Through livestreaming technology, we are opening up our community to everyone who would like to participate in cutting edge culture change sessions and discussions.

View Livestreamed sessions in the video player above or visit our Ustream Channel to watch live and chat with other viewers:

Livestream Schedule:
  • 8:30-10:00a Welcome and 10 Years Strong, The Origin Story
  • 10:45-11:45  Short Term Rehabilitation in The Green House home
  • 1:30 – 2:15 pm Elders Rule Panel Discussion
  • 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm QAPI, 5 Star Ratings and Understanding Quality: Using the Team in the Home to Drive Process Improvement
  • 8:30-10:00a Dr Al Power: The Person Comes First , Best Practices around Serving People Living with Dementia
  • 10:15-11:45a Chris Perna, CEO of The Eden Alternative: Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Well-being
  • 3:00-4:00p Nancy Fox, Leadership: Dealing in Hope

Tools to Operationalize the New Dining Practice Standards

On December 5th, Carmen Bowman will be presenting a webinar on Tools to Operationalize the New Dining Practice Standards. The New Dining Practice Standards were released in August 2011 and thanks to the generous support from the Hilda B. and Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation, Pioneer Network convened a Task Force to develop the Dining Standards Toolkit. To register for this webinar, click here.


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This webinar will: 1) summarize the new dining practice standards and how they support residents to eat the food they want to eat, 2) explain how the standards are backed by research, and 3) describe the tools that will be available to help operationalize the new standards.

Carmen Bowmen is the owner of Edu-Catering: Catering Education for Compliance and Culture Change. For 9 years, Carmen was a Colorado surveyor and a policy analyst with CMS Central Office where she taught the national Basic Surveyor Course. Carmen also co-developed the Artifacts of Culture Change tool and facilitated both CMS/Pioneer Network Creating Home national symposium, Culture Change and the Physical Environment Requirements and Culture Change and the Food and Dining Requirements, among many other accomplishments.

For more information on the New Dining Practice Standards or the Pioneer Network, head over to their website.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards Third Major Grant to THE GREEN HOUSE® Project

On November 1, 2013, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced a third, three-year grant to NCB Capital Impact to fund The Green House Project.  This $2.75 million grant is designed to build on the successes of the first and second grants’ activities and those of our pioneering provider partners. Thirty-five organizations have already adopted the evidence-based Green House model and built 153 homes across the country.  The new grant will aim to significantly expand those adoption numbers, with the goal of making Green House homes an affordable long-term care option in every community.

In a recently published collection of testimonials about The Green House Project for our 10th anniversary, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said, “Ten years ago, the idea that we could redesign nursing homes to create the experience of living in a real home was radical.  Today, The Green House model is the benchmark of quality and patient satisfaction for affordable, community-based skilled care nationwide.  As a catalyst for change in long-term care, The Green House Project inspires us to support a culture of health and well-being for older adults across the nation.”

The previous two grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have resulted in huge strides forward in replicating The Green House model.  The second grant catalyzed the spread of the model across the United States fueled by the excellent regulatory, clinical and quality of life outcomes achieved by the early adopters. Terry Simonette, president and CEO of NCB Capital Impact, which serves as the national replication and technical assistance center for the initiative said, “[The Green House Project] demonstrates that it is possible to provide the best care to the people who need it most, at the same cost as a traditional nursing home.”

This new grant will enable NCB Capital Impact and the Green House team to spread the model nationwide, expand financing opportunities for new projects, spread policy gains across states, pilot the model with new populations, and continue to strengthen the Green House brand nationally.  “The signal achievement of the Green House is it shows the world that the institutional model of care is obsolete,” said Green House Founder Dr. Bill Thomas.

Please contact The Green House Project with any questions at 703-647-2311 or


Happy Veteran's Day, With Respect, The Green House Project

We are thankful for our freedom, and we are humbled by the cost. Today we honor those who protected all that was fought for and the men and women who gave it all. Thank you veterans, you are our true patriots! Hug them, thank them, teach your children of their sacrifices….today and all the days to come.

We are honored to work with Green House homes, including those specifically serving Veterans, who create meaningful lives for our nation’s heroes at every stage of life. Cheryl Kennedy is a daughter whose father, Paul, lives at Liberty House at VA Illiana in Danville, IL.  When asked about the impact of living in a Green House home for a veteran, she says:

“ The more I learn about The Green House project, the more I am awed by what it offers veterans like my father – a beautiful, real home environment with access to VA facilities and services and, most important, care 24/7. Important for my father, was the privacy of his own room and the comfort level of his natural connection with the other veterans. For him, sitting at the table with these men was similar to his experience of sitting at the table with his Friday night crew at the American Legion. Dad readily shares how lucky he is to call the Liberty House his home!”

Cheryl’s dad, Paul, a 91 year old veteran who lives in a Green House home

Highlighting THE GREEN HOUSE® Project Team: Meaghan McMahon, Peer Network Project Manager

Some of Meaghan’s warmest childhood memories involve time spent visiting both sets of her grandparents in her hometown of Buffalo, New York.  It is truly where her journey in aging services begins.  She thoroughly enjoyed the time she shared with them and the events they attended together.  In fact, today when Meaghan walks in to an art gallery…she immediately thinks of her grandmother, a teacher, who often took her and her siblings to experience art and other cultural events.

Needless to say Meaghan was most comfortable with Elders and chose to do her high school volunteer work at a nursing home.  It was a very traditional skilled nursing home, and she saw a number of Elders that were not engaged, many were lonely and bored.  She knew they deserved a better environment.  .

It was in Ithaca, New York, as an undergrad  at Cornell University, where Meaghan first heard Dr. Bill Thomas talk about THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, and as they say the “rest is history”.  Meaghan loved the concept and knew she could see herself working to achieve that mission.

After graduating from Cornell, Meaghan entered the Geriatric Scholar program at the University of Michigan, School of Social Work and studied aging in families and society with a focus on public policy and evaluation. While there she interned with The Village of Redford Green House homes in Michigan and Generations United in Washington DC.  Upon receiving her MSW, Meaghan worked for a year as a Policy Analyst for the National PACE Association in Alexandria, VA.

Meaghan is now sharing her skills and knowledge about Elders and culture change in THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project as a Peer Network Project Manager.  In addition to assisting Peer Network members on the website, providing critical resources and assisting with ongoing education and evaluation efforts, Meaghan is the Co-Chair of the newly formed Peer Network Government Relations Committee.

In her leisure time, Meaghan thoroughly enjoys travelling, cooking and baking and spending time with the newest addition to her family- a terrier/basenji mix pup named Lyla.

Leading Age 2013, a Gathering of Innovators

Recently, Green House Project team members had the stimuating opportunity to attend Leading Age’s 2013 Annual Meeting.  At this gathering of innovative organizations, leaders and vendors from around the country, The Green House model was highlighted on numerous occasions as setting the standard for the future of long term care.

Audrey Weiner, Green House adopter and exiting board chair for Leading Age, opened the conference in full style with bright red boots and a message of hope for the innovative leaders in the room.  The health care landscape is changing, and Ms. Weiner challenged the group to be the providers and organizations that will lead the charge to meet the needs of the field through innovation, strong data and compassion.  She quoted Dr. Bill Thomas, “There is a new old age waiting to be born and the culture change movement will be called upon to attend its birth.”

Throughout the conference, all of the hot topics were explored, from meeting the needs of people living with dementia, to health care reform and improving metrics such as decreasing rehospitalization.  Barry Berman, a wise leader of The Green House movement, and CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, received the Award of Honor, the highest award that Leading Age bestows upon its members.  Barry has made a difference to so many people through his years of service.  The elders, the staff and the people living with ALS and MS for whom he has created a world where life is worth living, created this video to share their gratitude.

The environment where elders live is very important to their well-being, especially for people who are living with dementia.  Person-Centered Design has come a long way over the last 10 years, from the medicalized institutions of yesterday, to small house models and beyond.  Dr. Bill Thomas was awarded the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Ten Year Award for the innovations and contributions that he has made to the field. In true visionary fashion, upon accepting the award, Dr. Thomas thanked everyone for the work that has been done, but challenged the crowd to think about, What’s next?

White Oaks Cottages at Fox Hill Village also won an AIA award for cutting edge design to serve people living with dementia.


It was a wonderful week in Dallas.  The energy was palpable with a feeling that the providers in those hallways are the ones that will change the world, and that there must be a strong shift to person-centered living in order to meet the needs of the changing demographic of elders.  The Green House model is a strong and proven force for innovation and quality.

Click here to view photos from the reception that we hosted with other culture change leaders.  It is through the providers and leaders of this movement that we will be one of the solutions that will take us into the future.


First Green House homes open in Florida!

It’s hard to believe half the country now has a Green House home in their state!  In late October Florida became the 25th state when The Green House Residences opened in Jacksonville.

The homes are part of Brooks Rehabilitation and their Bartram Lakes development.

The opening of the two 12-Elder assisted living homes was kicked off with a “Celebrate Aging” event.  The founder of THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, Dr. Bill Thomas was the keynote speaker.  He is pictured below with Shahbaz Tracey Crawford.



Click here to learn more about the homes and the celebration in a story from The Florida Times Union.  Then tell us what you think!

The Idea that Spurred the Movement: 10 Years of The Green House Project

It is hard to believe that it has only been 10 years since the first Green House homes opened in Tupelo, MS. It all began when Green House founder,  Dr. Bill Thomas, had a radical idea that people should age in real homes, rather than institutions.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation agreed, and this model has served as a catalyst for significant social change.  To date, 1579 elders, veterans and people with disabilities live as full and meaningful lives in Green House homes, and gaining momentum to bring this model to a community near you.

Be sure to watch the below video to see the impact that this model made on long term care, and what the future holds.

Visit the Support the Movement Page on our website to learn how you can bring America home.