Green House Blog

Ms. Geneva Troxell Adds New Recipes To My Thanksgiving Dinner

Gathering at Thanksgiving always reminds me of the importance of convivium.  It is an opportunity to share memories and a meal with family and friends, individuals you may see regularly or others whose arrival comes with great anticipation.  Moreover, it is the time when those coveted recipes appear once a year, like my grandma’s sweet potato casserole and my aunt’s famous pumpkin pie. 

This year, instead of going home for Thanksgiving, I will be preparing a feast on my own for a couple close friends.  Although my family has been sending me recipes over the past few weeks, I was still missing one crucial element: corn casserole.  Thankfully, Ms. Geneva Troxell, an elder from St. Martin’s in the Pines, has come to my rescue.  I believe her corn casserole will be a hit this Thanksgiving, and her turkey casserole will be an even greater success when a creative solution is needed for all that left-over turkey.  Thank you again, Ms. Troxell, for your amazing recipes!

Corn Casserole

1 egg                                                                                                   ½ tsp. salt
½ C. melted butter                                                                          1 can whole corn
1 C. sour cream                                                                                 1 can cream style corn
1 T. sugar                                                                                           1 pkg. Jiffy corn bread mix

Mix all ingredients together and put in 2-quart greased casserole at 350o for 45 minutes or until done. 

 Easy Turkey Casserole

2 C. uncooked macaroni                                                                4 hard-boiled eggs, cut up
2 C. mushroom soup                                                                      1 chopped medium onion
2 C. milk                                                                                           Salt to taste
2 C. chopped turkey                                                                       ½ lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed

Mix and place in greased 9×13” baking dish.  Refrigerate overnight, covered.  Remove and bring to room temperature 1 hour before baking.  Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or more at 350o.

 Please share with us what you will be making this Thanksgiving, especially if it is one of Ms. Troxell’s recipes!

The Green House Project Photo Contest

THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project’s photography contest was a huge success.  From planting flowers in a garden to whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, photographs illustrated how individuals living and working in Green House homes celebrate life.  Over the course of the summer, photographs and stories poured in exemplifying the core principles of the Green House model from meaningful engagement to the art of convivium. 

It was difficult to select just one winner.  However, the submission from THE GREEN HOUSE ® Homes at Green Hill in New Jersey truly captured how lives are not only celebrated, but changed in Green House homes. 

“This photo is of one of our elders that has lived at Green Hill for many years.  The young lady next to her is Maggie Frank.  Maggie has been the Activity Director at Green Hill for many years, leaving briefly to work at another community, then returning “home” to Green Hill.  She has recently stepped into the role of “Guide” for our second Green House Home that just opened a few weeks ago.  You really need to know Liz to fully appreciate this picture and how special it is to see Liz engaged in looking at that book.  Maggie recently went to Ohio to visit family.  Knowing that Liz was a native from Ohio, Maggie went to a local bookstore while out there and purchased a book about Ohio and the specific area that Liz was from.  Upon Maggie’s return,  she sat with Liz and went through the book.  It was so touching to hear that Liz remembered visiting the farms pictured in the book as a child.  Liz shared with Maggie many stories about her childhood and growing up in Ohio that were simply  triggered by familiar pictures in that book.  

I think this photo not only shows our elder during a special moment, but it’s a tribute to all the wonderful, exceptional,  caring people that work at Green Hill.  We ( the staff) at Green Hill are all drawn here out of our love for being part of  an intergenerational setting.  For many of us, it gives us our purpose in life.  What we get in return from being a part of Green Hill and from our elders  – is priceless.”  -Stephanie Roselle, Director of Admissions at Green Hill, Inc.

All the stories and photographs were shared at The 4th Annual Green House Project Meeting on September 8-9th.  Take a moment and explore all the wonderful things happening in Green House homes across the country!

Institutional Creep – Fighting the Language Dragon

The dragon is too big to swallow in one mouthful.  If we really commit to understanding the depth associated with institutional creep, it is important to start small with dragons that are manageable.  One such deeply rooted institutional practice includes language; what we say and how we say it makes a significant impact on those with whom we work, and those for whom we hope to create a life worth living.  Since words have the power to make or break someone’s day, it is imperative to explore their impact on transformational success.

The Green House Project is certainly not the first, nor will it be the last, to challenge the language of long-term care.  In her article entitled, “Mayday: The Language of Culture Change,” Karen Schoeneman, Deputy Director at Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s Division of Nursing Homes, explored the barriers hidden in words commonly used in nursing homes.  “Part of transforming long-term care practice is finding new words to describe staff, programs, parts of the building, and the ‘industry’ itself.”  Person-centered language allows us to do just that, as its goal is to acknowledge and respect residents (elders) as individuals.  Sometimes, as Karen states, it is “as simple as reversing common phrases to put the person first and the characteristic second.”  In one such example, “a feeder” becomes “someone who needs assistance with dining.”

So, what can you do today in your organization to combat traditional language?  First, work as a team to discuss and understand the power of language.  There is magic in synergy, and teamwork produces an overall better result than if each person is working at the same goal individually.  Next, continue sharing ideas and tools to help direct conversation.  (One decision making tool we embrace is the learning circle, as it provides everyone with an equal voice.)  Lastly, ask questions to really challenge the reasoning behind the words we use.  Examples include, but are not limited to, “What do the elders say they want?” and “How does this drive the standard forward?”

This post is part of a series addressing issues of Institutional Creep. Please let us know of issues you have encountered or opportunities you have had in combating institutional behaviors or ideas that are often lurking.