Green House Blog

A Memorable Welcoming Ritual Creates Warm Feelings for Elders and Staff

 

Jemi Mansfield is the Guide for The Green House homes at Cedar Sinai Park, and the Director of Spiritual Life for the organization. Cedar Sinai Park opened their first Green House home in July 2016, and the self managed work team created a beautiful welcoming ritual to make sure that the elders felt special and loved as they moved into their new home.  The below story is an account of what can happen when a team is empowered to make decisions that bring value to their role, their home and those whose lives they touch.  

Right from the start, the self managed work team (called shahbazim) in our Green House home knew they wanted to have a small gift waiting in the bedrooms as the elders moved in – something special and personalized to really make it feel like home. Jane, a shahbaz,  recalled that when she and her husband went away for their 40th anniversary the hotel surprised them not only with champagne and

The Infamous Dollar Tree shopping trip

chocolates in their room but also a banner hanging in the lobby. “It was unexpected and so touching,” she said. That and similar experiences shared by others laid the foundation for a gift bag filled with goodies awaiting residents. A list of personal care items was compiled: shampoo, lotion, toothbrush and paste, shaving gear for the gents, etc. – and the Shahbazim took off on an impromptu shopping trip to Dollar Tree, which was a highlight for Carol during the practicum weeks. “I liked that we worked together to plan the list and then shop,” she said. “Nothing went into the basket that we didn’t all agree upon – a real team effort.” They also bought welcome cards, which were personalized for each resident and signed by the entire team. On July 25th, move-in day, each gift bag was festooned with a cheery balloon and placed in a prominent spot alongside an African Violet plant for each resident: a reminder of the roots of the Eden Alternative to bring living things into each home.

Everyone knew that the goodie bags were going to be a hit, but the star of the welcome gifts is really the blanket. Jane had hit upon the idea during a brainstorming session – that each resident should be given something uniquely theirs to keep and enjoy in the house. She suggested a crocheted lap blanket, made by volunteers. The group jumped on the notion immediately but acknowledged that, at less than two weeks to opening, they faced a lack of time to pull together a project of this size. Nicole, a member of the self managed team,  mentioned that her son, who has autism and touch sensitivity, has a favorite type of blanket that she buys at Costco. “It’s beyond soft,” she explained. “It offers him comfort and warmth, and that’s what we want our residents to experience.” She brought in a sample the next day, and the group of Shahbazim were sold: it truly was the softest blanket in the world.

Edith with her personalized blanket The finishing touch was to personalize the gift. Each resident’s blanket was embroidered with his or her first name and the date of move in: July 25, 2016. The blankets were presented to the elders by the Shahbazim at the first dinner, as they enjoyed “convivium” (good food with good company) around the big table where meals are served together. Tony, a shahbaz,  created a lively atmosphere as he led all in a boisterous round of the “Name Game”, welcoming each elder to their new home.

lively atmosphere at the dinner tableAs new residents eventually move in, they will receive their own blanket, emblazoned with their name and move-in date to denote their place in the household. As Alisa, another shahbaz, pointed out, “This is a fresh start for our residents. A new setting, a new chapter, a new home. It’s right that they should start this chapter with something new and truly theirs.”

In the days that followed, we received a sweet note from Maureen, whose sister is among the first residents (the Alpha House Twelve, we lovingly call them). The note reads, “To all you dear people who gave Pam such a wonderful welcome to her new home. Last Monday, July 25, was a red letter day which we will always remember when we look at her beautiful new blanket and all the lovely bag of presents, card, balloon and flowers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for Pam. You are truly wonderful!”

Learn more about Cedar Sinai Park>>

 

Time to Celebrate In Akron, Colorado!

Washington County Nursing Home celebrated the grand opening of their four Green House homes on September 13th.  This new development represents a complete replacement for the former county nursing home and was a project that had been on the drawing board for many years.

ribbon-cutting_wash-county-sept-13 Nursing Home Administrator Brenda Rhea was most pleased to cut the ribbon on the project, and warmly thanked county residents for their support in helping it come to fruition.

County Commissioner Lea Ann Laybourn echoed those feelings, “We are so delighted to have so many people and distinguished guests share our celebration of this day. This has been a seven year dream brought to a reality. When we started the project of building the homes, we were met with many obstacles. wash-county-grand-opening-exterior-homeBut with perseverance and prayer, the homes became a reality, thanks to the talented, determined and energetic enthusiasm generated by many persons involved in this project.”

Shown above left to right are: Jason Weber, Lantz-Boggio Arichtects; Jeff Shera, Director Senior Care Studio of Lantz-Boggio Arichtects; and Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project.
Left to right: Jason Weber, Lantz-Boggio Arichtects; Jeff Shera, Director Senior Care Studio of Lantz-Boggio Arichtects; and Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project.

 

 

Senior Director of The Green House Project, Susan Ryan told those attending, “This is a chance to practice life a new way in the new homes.  It is a chance to allow the residents to live, grow and thrive.  I challenge the residents of Washington County to go into this with a full heart and with dedication, as the best is yet to come.  This is a great opportunity for Washington County and for the residents of the county.”

music-at-washin-county-grand-opening-sept-13-2016The day long festivities included tours of the homes as well as entertainment from local musicians.

Read more about the events that day in this story provided by the Akron News-Reporter.

A Special Ground Blessing Ceremony for Additional Green House Homes in Bartlett, Tennessee

ave-mari-60th-logo_croppedIt was a beautiful day on September 11th for a special ground blessing at the Ave Maria Home where they are building an additional five Green House homes.

Deacon David Dierkes, Bishop Emeritus J. Terry Steib, Deacon Jack Chitwood
Deacon David Dierkes, Bishop Emeritus J. Terry Steib, Deacon Jack Chitwood

Over the past three and half years they have been raising funds to build the homes which will cost approximately $10 million.

Maureen Conley, family member of one of the Ave Maria residents.
Maureen Conley, family member of one of the Ave Maria residents.

The new homes will be built on their existing property and across the street from their existing four Green House homes.   Senior Director of The Green House Project, Susan Ryan, told those attending the event that she was so pleased to share in the joy of the celebration and expressed how grateful she was for leaders like Ave Maria Executive Director, Frank Gattuso, who embraced the idea that life can be different and became part of the national Green House movement.

Pictured at the Ground Blessing from left to right are: Frank Gattuso, James Gattas, John Zoccola
Pictured at the Ground Blessing from left to right are:
Frank Gattuso, James Gattas, John Zoccola

The goal is to break ground in July 2017 for these homes. We wish Ave Maria the best in this new development!

To hear more of Susan’s comments at the ceremony, play the video clip below:

 

Indiana Celebrates the Grand Opening of the Green House Cottages in Carmel!

While Elders have been enjoying living the Green House Cottages of Carmel for several months—the official Grand Opening ceremonies took place on August 25th img_2361

In May the first Elders in Indiana moved into the Green House homes…three are now open and when all six cottages are complete they will be home to 72 Elders.

The cottages are dedicated to care in three different areas: long-term, memory care and short term rehabilitation.  We welcome our new members to the Green House family of adopters and wish them much success!

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