Green House Blog

Washington County Nursing Home in Colorado Breaks Ground On New Homes

grnd brkg 075grnd brkg 113Congratulations to Washington County Nursing Home! They have recently broken ground on four new Green House homes. They took a moment to celebrate with a groundbreaking ceremony at the end of July.  These Green House homes will be a total replacement of the current county nursing home and provide long term care to residents in Washington County, Colorado.

Washington County celebrated this milestone with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the construction site followed by an outdoor barbecue at the current nursing home. This event brought together many of the supporters who are making these Green House homes a reality including county commissioners, board members, nursing home staff, elders and community members all celebrated together. You can read more about the festivities and the Washington County Nursing Home here.

TimeSlips: Forget Memory – Try Imagination!

Forget memory – try imagination!  That’s exactly what TimeSlips is asking of people living with dementia. According to  “The open, poetic language of improvisational storytelling invites people with memory loss to express themselves and connect with others.”  With TimeSlips, people living with dementia are invited to be creatively engage with others by telling stories about pictures that inspire the imagination.

The result? Improved communication, mood and affect among people with dementia. It also improves attitudes about dementia among staff, medical students and general college students. TimeSlips is an evidence based program started by Anne Bastings, a professor of theater at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  Anne created TimeSlips while volunteering at a nursing home. She has since conducted research with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and written three books that demonstrate the value of creative engagement through TimeSlips.

It’s time for TimeSlips to scale up and become more readily available to people living with dementia. You can learn more about how to support the expansion of TimeSlips here.

Click here to learn how TimeSlips is being used creatively at the Green House homes in Seward, Alaska.


The Wall Street Journal Exposes Common Myths of Aging

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal exposes many common myths of aging. Some of these myths have become so common, they could easily be mistaken for the truth. Have you ever heard someone say, “depression is a normal part of aging” or “cognitive impairment is inevitable with age”? This article clears the air for six big myths about aging.  You can read more here.

For many people, the myths of aging may have come from observing what Dr. Thomas calls the three plagues of long-term care: loneliness, helplessness, and boredom.  Fortunately, the culture change movement is showing us what aging is really all about – another stage of growth and development for all people.

New photos available from the first Green House Home at the Zablocki VA Medical Center

 Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin welcomed Elders into their first Green House home in November, 2014.  This is the first of three Green House homes planned for this VA medical center.

These Green House homes will serve Veterans in need of long-term skilled nursing care, including veterans living with cognitive impairment and mental illness.  The medical center looks forward to welcoming veterans into their next two Green House homes when they are completed in the spring of 2015.

The Green House Homes at Legacy Village Win Celebrate Arkansas Magazine Award

Congratulations to The Green House Homes at Legacy Village! Celebrate Arkansas Magazine has announced Legacy Village as their winner for “Very BEST Award for Retirement Living.”  This reader’s choice award speaks to the consumer driven demand for quality long term care that offers a real home to elders.  We are so proud to see Legacy Village recognized for the way they are changing elder living for the better, with real home, meaningful life and empowered staff.  You can look for the article announcing The Green House Homes at Legacy Village as the winner of the “Very BEST Award for Retirement Living” in the December issue of Celebrate Arkansas Magazine.

Tomah VA Medical Center Opens Two New Green House Homes

The Green House Project is proud to say that two new Green House homes have opened in Tomah, Wisconsin at The Tomah VA Medical Center. On August, 13th The Tomah VA celebrated their home openings with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

Mario V. DeSanctis, the Medical Director at Tomah VA Medical Center remarked, “This is the future of skilled nursing care and we are proud to join the Danville VA (Ill.), Lovell Federal Health Center (Ill.) and Milwaukee, Wis., in providing this new concept of care for Veterans.  We believe this transformation of care will dramatically enrich our Veterans lives and the lives of the next generation of Veterans.”

Tomah VA Medical Center has named their homes Patriots’ Place and Heroes’ House. These  two homes will serve veterans in need of skilled nursing care.  Veterans will move in during the month of September.  You can read more about the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Tomah VA Medical Center here.

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was also highlighted on WKBT News, you can see the news clip here.

Veterans Service Representatives Welcomed by The Green House Project and Stadium Place

As policy makers discuss improvements in how health care is provided for our nation’s Veterans, the need for greater option for long-term services and supports is greater than ever.  The aging of the Veterans population will require a new vision.   Many of our Veterans require 24-7 care skilled nursing care.   In 2013, nearly 36,000 veterans resided in skilled nursing care facilities on a long-term basis.  Another 4,000 Veterans received skilled nursing care on a short-term basis.   In response to this growing need, Green House Homes are becoming increasingly available to Veterans.

The Green House Project was thrilled to host representatives from Veteran’s Service Organizations for a home visit at The Green House Residences at Stadium Place on July 14th.   Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Central Office, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., The American Legion and Disabled American Veterans came together to learn more about how The Green House model  can serve our veterans with an innovative alternative for long-term care.

A Green House home is a self-contained, skilled nursing home where autonomy and choice are honored, quality care is a priority and people have more satisfying and meaningful lives, work and relationships.  Ten to twelve veterans live in each home.

The people who live and work in a Green House home collaborate to create a flexible living environment where each resident enjoys choice and independence.

Green House homes provide all the same services of a traditional nursing home, delivering an exceptionally high quality of care while keeping the emphasis on the comfort and well-being of the Elder.

The daily operating cost for Green House homes are the same as traditional nursing homes.  And the quality of care improves health outcomes, yielding real savings on healthcare costs.

This summer the Tomah VA Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin will become the fourth VAMC to open Green House Homes.  Later this year, the Green House homes at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will open.  Click here to learn more about The Green House Project for Veterans.

The Second Wind Tour: Act III Begins

When we heard that Bill Thomas was working on a “non-fiction theatrical experience” we knew this would be a once in a lifetime chance to join a national conversation about what it means to age in today’s culture. From March 31st to June 6th we have visited 25 cities with Bill Thomas’ Second Wind Tour.  It has been such an experience to be on the road touring with visionaries in elder care. But even more exciting were the discussions we had with attendees who want to change how we think about the aging process.

In two acts, the performance used a blend of the spoken word, innovative set design, film and music to stimulate a new conversation about aging, and to re-frame “life after adulthood” as an exciting stage of human growth and development.

The third act, as Bill Thomas told us, is up to us.  That means it’s up to all of us to continue the national conversation the Second Wind Tour started.  With the help of the people who participated in the tour, and all the others who know there’s need for change, we can change the misconception of what it means to age.

We are so thankful for the local support and the positive energy that came from the audience at every performance and every event.  We can see now, more than ever, our country is ready for a new way to care for elders.  We are thrilled to be a part of this journey.

If you couldn’t join us, you can get a glimpse of the show with this video.

Louisville Business First Highlights Rick Marshall of Christian Care Communities

This year, Christian Care Communities broke ground on the first Green House homes in Kentucky.  Rick Marshall, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Christian Care Communities, was recently featured in Louisville Business First, a business journal.  In this personal highlight, Rick says beginning construction on the future Green House homes at The Homeplace at Midway was the highlight of his year.

Rick also describes his 25 year career in health care and the importance of a wellness approach to health care.  Click here to read more about Rick’s career in healthcare.

National Handwriting Day

When was the last time you sent a handwritten letter? January 23rd marks National Handwriting Day. Appropriately, this is also the birthday of John Hancock.  This nationally recognized day began in 1977 to acknowledge the significance of handwriting throughout history.  The embrace of penmanship as a subject in schools has changed significantly since computers have become common in the classroom.

So what makes the art of handwriting so noteworthy today? For many people, there are mementos in the form of handwritten notes, letters, and announcements that mark special times in their lives.  The Meaningful Life and Engagement modules, a training resource for staff in Green House Homes, highlights one woman’s experience with letters she saved from friends at camp when she was a young girl.  Click here to watch her story, The Story of Sadie.

Summer Fun 2013

This summer, Elders across the country in Green House homes took advantage of all that summer time has to offer.  There were old fashioned picnics, gardening, barbecues, concerts, car shows, and quality time spent relaxing on the porch in good company and good music. Elders in the Green House homes did it all.   Summer might be over, but you can still get a glimpse into the fun through the Summer Fun 2013 photo album.

Tell us about what you did this summer!



Raising Awareness about Elder Abuse

June 15th was  World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  Elder abuse is described by the Administration on Aging as any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.  This can take the form of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or exploitation.

In a recent studies, 7.6%-10% of elders reported abuse in the prior year.  Only about 1 in 14 cases actually reaching the attention of authorities.  This means that the number of known elder abuse incidents is just the tip of the iceberg.  Abuse can also affect elders living in nursing homes.  In a study that interviewed 2,000 nursing home residents 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.

Elder abuse can affect any elder, so it is up to everyone to raise awareness about elder abuse and reach out to elders who may be abused.  You can be a part of the solution.  Learn more about how to identify abuse here and how to report suspected abuse here.

In my experience as an Elder Abuse Caseworker, I saw first-hand how difficult it can be for an elder to leave an abusive situation and regain control of their life.  Elders are most commonly abused by those closest to them, their family and caregivers at home or in long-term care.  When an elder feels isolated, this can be even more difficult.  Often, the abuser is the only social support in an elder’s life.  The Green House model creates deep knowing relationships among elders, shahbazim and staff.  For many elders, the promise of a real home without abuse could be the first step away from abuse.