Green House Blog

Green House Leadership Featured at Association of Jewish Aging Services Conference

“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.” –Psalm 71:9

The Green House Project and Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) share many common values, and are proud partners in elder care innovation.  Recently, Green House leadership participated in the AJAS annual meeting to share insights and connect with organizations who share a similar mission to serve elders.

ajas2016_658Senior Director, Susan Ryan, was highlighted as a speaker for “AJAS Speaks”, a TED Talk style session, where thought leaders share their experiences and perspectives.  In her talk, “Living the Good Life”, Susan shares the path that has shaped her personal mission to see the people living with dementia as creative, resourceful and whole.

Innovation Roundtables are a feature of the conference where leaders of the field share insights in short, rotating sessions.  Green House Director of Outreach, Scott Brown, delivered a talk on the power of differentiation in our changing and dynamic health care landscape.

We appreciate the opportunity to partner with innovative organizations as we work to change the paradigm of aging, creating caring homes and meaningful lives.

Please watch for a blog series in the near future entitled “Living the Good Life” based on the stories shared by Susan at the AJAS conference.

Leonard Florence Center Opens Third Specialized Green House Home

When the decision was first made to build Green House homes, Barry Berman, CEO, Chelsea Jewish Foundation, said we knew the model was “extremely special, extremely unique and wondered what other vulnerable populations in addition to elders we could serve.  We challenged ourselves knowing that these individuals would probably be on Medicaid.”  As a mission driven organization they opened their 10 Green House homes with one dedicated to individuals living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, and one to individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis or MS.  An amazing achievement.

Today, they are excited to open another home for ALS individuals, the Dapper McDonald ALS Residence, thanks to a generous donation from the Dapper McDonald family as well as a group of individuals from New York who assisted in the process.

As Barry explained individuals with ALS are “transformed overnight” in the ALS Green House homes.  They gain “such profound independence”.  Below is the announcement of the new home.

We applaud all those who helped make the Dapper McDonald ALS Residence a reality!

lfclThe Dapper McDonald ALS Residence at the Leonard Florence Center for Living is now open! Due to an extremely generous donation of $3.5 million – and a commitment to raise $9 million in additional funds – the Chelsea Jewish Foundation was able to open a second home for individuals with ALS. The Center’s first home, the Steve Saling ALS Residence, opened in 2010 and has received world-wide acclaim; the Slifka MS Residence is devoted to residents living with MS.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer another residence to individuals with ALS,” states Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman. “There is such an incredible need for these homes, but the operating costs are extremely high. Thankfully, this donation has helped turn our dream of a second ALS home into reality.”

Richard “Dapper” McDonald was a New York businessman who was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. The news came as a shock to the entire family as it was something completely unfamiliar to them. Over the next seven months, the family took their lead from Dapper. He never slowed down or quit. He went to work every day and continued running his business despite the constant struggle. On July 15, 2009, nine months after his diagnosis, Dapper passed from ALS.

After touring the Center in an effort to replicate the home in New York, the family soon realized it was too difficult to develop the staff and technology that was already in place in Boston. As a result, a group of New York residents have donated a $3.5 million leadership gift and have committed to raising $12.5 million in total.

Welcome to all of our new Dapper McDonald residents! We are thrilled to have you join the Chelsea Jewish family.


For the last six years, Patrick O’Brien, has lived in the ALS residence.  Barry Berman describes him “as the most amazing individual I have ever met”.  Read below the story about Patrick’s movie and where to watch it.  The documentary is an amazing story and as Barry explained, Patrick “will always credit The Green House Project for giving him back his life”.

Leonard Florence Center Resident Living with ALS Directed and Produced an Award Winning Documentary!

The amazing documentary film, Transfatty Lives, directed and produced by Leonard Florence Center resident Patrick O’Brien, had its Boston premiere at the Revere Showcase Cinema in Revere on Sunday, April 3. The film won the 2015 Audience Award at the Tribeca and Milano Film Festivals, and is a featured selection in film festivals all across the world.patrick o'Brien

Transfatty Lives takes one on an emotional rollercoaster from Patrick’s wild, fun-loving days as a DJ and filmmaker into the heart of living with ALS. With the support of his friends and family, Patrick braves the unthinkable and turns his camera onto himself. He is able to capture all of the emotion, humor, and absurdity of real life – falling in love and fathering a child along the way.

All proceeds benefit the Patrick O’Brien Foundation. If you missed the premiere, you can still get Transfatty Lives on demand:  Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo

Link to Boston Globe article about Patrick

JGS Lifecare Holds ‘Topping Off’ Ceremony for New Green House Rehabilitation Homes

For immediate release April 13, 2016

JGS lifecare logo

LONGMEADOW, MA— JGS Lifecare celebrated a major milestone today in the construction of the new Sosin Center for Rehabilitation with the ceremonial “Topping Off” of the steel structure. Construction workers, employees, residents, physicians, community members, elected officials, members of the Board of Directors, donors, and veterans gathered April 13 as the beam was hoisted atop the roof-line of the new rehab center, which is located next to the Leavitt Family Jewish Home at 770 Converse Street.

“JGS Lifecare is transforming the patient experience by delivering leading edge patient-centered care in innovative new facilities,” said Marty Baicker, FACHE, president and CEO, JGS Lifecare. “Partnering with The GREEN HOUSE PROJECT, we will implement the small house model of care in the Sosin Center, replacing hospital-like environments with real homes and greater engagement with those we serve.”

Research shows that a real home environment has significant benefits such as reduced medication use and re-hospitalizations, greater socialization and interaction with care givers, which can lead to faster recovery.

The ‘Topping Off’ ceremony is a long-standing tradition in construction, held when the highest beam of steel is placed atop a structure during construction. A small fir tree was also affixed; symbolizing the building will be everlasting. The American flag that was given to JGS Lifecare as a keepsake of the building’s benefactor, George Sosin, was attached to the beam and ceremoniously raised by officers of the Longmeadow Police. Sosin was a dedicated JGS Lifecare volunteer and supporter until his passing in 2013. His gift of $3 million represents the largest contribution in the 103 year history of JGS Lifecare. The building is named in Sosin’s honor as a testament to his unmatched philanthropic commitment.

Designed by Perkins Eastman, an industry leader in the planning and design of elder care facilities and short term rehabilitation programs, the two-story 24,000 square foot Sosin Center will contain two self-contained homes for up to 24 people. A dedicated team of staff will provide care and make the decisions that are important to daily life. Everything in this environment is designed to prepare patients to go home, because it feels like home, featuring private rooms and bathrooms, an open kitchen and family-style dining areas. Michael’s Café will connect the Sosin Center to the Leavitt Family Jewish Home, bridging old to new and honoring the late Michael Frankel, a former Chair of the JGS Lifecare Board of Directors, and ardent supporter of Project Transformation – A New World of Care.

“Evidence shows that people recover faster in a smaller community where they have direct opportunities for engagement with their physical therapist, with their physician, with their direct care givers, said Anne M. Thomas, vice president residential health, JGS Lifecare. “Because they are in a rehab setting, because they’re getting their rehabilitative services needs met in a small community, they actually encourage each other to get better.”

The eight-foot long ceremonial beam that was raised was placed in the lobby of the Leavitt Family Jewish Home March 16, 2016. Hundreds of people, including residents, patients, physicians, visitors, employees, board of directors, community and committee members, signed the beam and made their mark on history. This morning, several more honored guests added their signatures, including Springfield Mayor Domenic R. Sarno, Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane and Longmeadow Select Board Chairman Richard Foster. In his remarks, Mayor Sarno spoke of his warm regards for the lifecare services we’ve provided his family, and praised JGS Lifecare for efforts to transform the care we provide.

“People are excited. They’re enthusiastic. They can really see the opportunities that Green House will bring to how we care for our elders, and they want to be part of it,” said Susan Kimball Halpern, vice president of philanthropy, JGS Lifecare. “We are creating innovative and important programs that will change outcomes for our residents and patients for generations to come. It’s something the community can be very proud to be part of.”

Construction of the $11m+ Sosin Center project, part of the $20m Project Transformation projects, is supported in part by a $9m Project Transformation Capital Campaign. Project Transformation will introduce the Green House/small house model of care in the Sosin Center, followed by renovations in this model of two sub-acute units in the nursing home. Future plans will carry the model throughout the nursing home. The Sosin Center will be the only Green House certified facility in western Massachusetts. Construction is expected to be complete in late summer, opening in September 2016.


About JGS Lifecare: JGS Lifecare is a leading health care system serving seniors and their families. JGS Lifecare services include nursing home care, home health and hospice care, assisted living, adult day health care, rehabilitation services, palliative care, music therapy and subsidized independent living.


About the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation: Now under construction, the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation will bring the Green House model of care, a more homelike setting for people undergoing rehabilitative care, to JGS Lifecare. The 24-bed short term care/rehabilitation building will be connected to our existing nursing home by a promenade that will include Michael’s Café, a new kosher coffee shop and cafeteria. The Sosin Center is scheduled to open in September 2016.


About THE GREEN HOUSE® Project: The Green House Project is a radically new national model for skilled nursing care that returns control, dignity and a sense of well-being to elders, their families and direct care staff. In the Green House model, residents receive care in small, self- contained homes organized to deliver individualized care and meaningful relationships between residents and care staff.