Green House Blog

The Visionary Leadership Behind the First PACE Green House homes

Green House homes are dynamic and able to impact innovation in many different settings.  The first Green House homes to be incorporated with a PACE community have opened as part of The Thome Rivertown Neighborhood in Detroit.  It is an honor to be able to open the doors of accessibility for low income elders through this partnership. 

PACE is the acronym of the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.  PACE programs are government-funded managed care health plans that also provide comprehensive health services for individuals age 55 and over who have health needs classified as “nursing home eligible” by their state’s Medicaid program.  The goal is to keep chronically ill elders independent for as long as possible –preventing avoidable  hospitalizations, emergency visits and stays in nursing homes.

Roger Myers is CEO of Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, and Mary Naber is President/CEO of PACE Southeast Michigan.  They are the leaders behind this innovation, and hold the belief in this partnership to evolve the healthcare system.  “This is the future.  Health is about more than medical care.  To meet the needs of elders, the focus must be holistic, accessible and home based,” Naber says.

The goal of PACE is to keep people as independent as possible and to avoid nursing home stays.  Despite that, nationally 7% of PACE participants still end up spending some time in long term care, according to Naber, “less because of a need for skilled care, and more because they are not safe to stay in their homes.”

“As we know, even the best traditional nursing home does not provide the greatest living experience, and now, for at least 21 people, The Rivertown Neighborhood is able to offer an alternative.  The Weinberg Green House homes meet their needs, support them to thrive and enable them to remain in the community,” says Naber.  “It’s very gratifying to be able to offer this option.  I wish I had 10 Green House homes for people!”

The Green House homes are licensed as Homes for the Aged, a distinction that provides flexibility and enables elders with a high level of need to live in the least restrictive environment possible.   As it happens, many of the people living in these homes have moved there from nursing homes.  The PACE program provides a “wrap-around” so that elders receive all the services they need, enabling The Green House home will be their home for life.

“The great thing about the co-location of the Weinberg Green House homes to the PACE center is that the elders receive all the same benefits as if they were living in their own homes, which they are- Green House homes.  Being right on the PACE campus will keep elders more mobile and socially engaged.  It will also help PACE clinicians stay in touch, and we know that frequent interactions can help prevent ER visits and other medical concerns.” explains Myers.

“Health is not just about medical care, especially when you’re dealing with chronic illness,” declares Naber.  By leveraging an interdisciplinary team rather than the typical doctor-driven model, the team at the Weinberg Green Houses are able to care for the WHOLE person: body, mind and spirit.

PACE Southeast Michigan is a 501c3 not-for profit government funded unique health plan and comprehensive care provider.   It is a jointly owned by Henry Ford Health System, one of the early PACE innovators, and Presbyterian Villages of Michigan.

The Thome Rivertown Neighborhood includes Independent Living, Assisted Living, the PACE Center and now The Green House homes.  Not everyone who lives on the campus is a part of PACE, but it is built as a continuum to enable low income and highly frail people to stay in their community as their health status changes.

Integrating residential living with PACE is proving to be an effective development that will hopefully spread throughout the country.  PVM led the development effort for this supportive neighborhood during the recession, and the idea was so compelling that they were able to achieve their goals.  A $2 million grant from the Baltimore-based Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation provided much of the support to make their vision to add Green House homes to the community a reality.



Highlighting Shahbaz, Darlene Scott at Porter Hills Green House homes

Empathy, compassion, honor and respect are just a few of the qualities required in those working with elders in THE GREEN HOUSE® homes. These qualities are extremely evident in Darlene Scott, a Shahbaz at the Porter Hills Green House homes in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

2Darlene has worked at Porter Hills since 1998 when she was hired as a certified nursing assistant in the Health and Rehab Center. After a short period of time, she was promoted to Unit Clerk and continued to prove she had the personality and skills needed to build strong and trusting relationships with residents. This ability to connect with those she served opened the door to a position as an activity coordinator.

While in this new role, Darlene took advantage of many educational opportunities to develop and hone her skills. This included becoming a Certified Eden Associate1

When Porter Hills decided to build two Green House® homes, Darlene was encouraged to consider working as a Shahbaz. “When I was presented with the opportunity to be a part of Green House® homes I thought, this is it, this is living out everything I have been trained to do. I had retained my CNA license which meant I qualified, so I decided to pursue this role that embodied my passion for elders.”

Darlene has worked as a Shahbaz since September of 2009 and enjoys the person-centered approach and the strong relationships developed. She has seen first-hand the impact that this unique approach to skilled care has on elders in the home.

“We had an elder who moved in with late stage dementia. She was high acuity, didn’t walk or talk, and was total care. Her son brought her here and told us that the doctor had said she had 6 months to a year left to live. The son wanted his mom to have the best care possible and he knew that it would be through the Green House® homes at Porter Hills. His mother had already been receiving care but he wanted her to have the ‘best of the best’. She moved in and initially didn’t talk and needed to be coaxed to eat. One day, I was leading a time of discussion and questions and asked about favorite colors. As we were going around the room hearing each elders’ answer, she raised her head and said, ‘my favorite color is yellow’. After that day she began to feed herself again and communicate. To me that signified living because with a lot of elderly people, eating is the last thing they have control of. Not eating can be their way of saying ‘I’m done’. For her to show that she was going to feed herself and was going to live again was a defining moment for me. I realized in that moment, that the concept of the Green House homes was not just a theory. This works, this is where people want to come to continue living no matter what stage of life they are at.”

3Darlene’s primary role in the home is to protect, sustain, and nurture the elders living there by providing assistance with activities of daily living and meeting other needs as required. “We are given the time and atmosphere to develop relationships with the elders and their families. It’s a wonderful place to work. This is a great community and Porter Hills is a great organization. Having The Green House homes and supporting them as a business, Porter Hills shows that we are here for elders, we are here for the geriatric population, and we are here to provide them with the best services and the best life that they can live.”

The rewards are not only felt by the elders in the community. “When you walk out of the door, despite the ups and downs, you know that you have made a difference. These elders could be living anywhere and not getting the care and relationships that they have here. But, they are HERE and we can give them that. It’s very rewarding.”

Celebrating the service of WWII Nurse, June Rolinson!

June Rolinson, WWII Nurse living at The Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, Redford Campus.

During the month of July when we celebrate our nation’s independence, it’s also a time to honor those who have served in our military preserving our freedom over the years.  92 year old June Rolison, a WWII Army Nurse, is one of those individuals.  “I just wanted to take care of people”, that’s how June described her decision to become a nurse.  June currently resides in the “Redford House”, a Green House home on the Presbyterian Villages of Michigan Redford Campus.

June had hoped to be stationed overseas, but she spent her time in Army hospitals in Virginia working with wounded soldiers.  “The servicemen were great.  They tried so hard to get around. In many cases their lives were ruined, but they didn’t let that stop them.  They gave their lives for us.”  While June said it was so tough to see the young men wounded, being an Army Nurse was “very fulfilling”.  For June, the fourth of July is a time for people to think about their freedom.  She says the servicemen were very thankful for all of the assistance provided to them, and she says she is thankful for the service they provided the country.  We couldn’t agree more!  Thank you June for your service and to all of our past and current military personnel!

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Visits The Village of Redford

10/26/11 Detroit, MI

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) board visited their grantee’s in Detroit this week. An important stop for them was The Village of Redford, a Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM) campus where two Green House homes are located.

The RWJF board and staff were excited with what they saw in the homes and all the successes they heard from PVM staff and elders. For many board members and staff, this was their first time to visit an operating Green House home – although they said they have all seen the video and cried. Roger Myers, Melinda Callahan, Karl Schillinger, Angie Evans, Emma Williams, and a lovely elder named Kay,  led the PVM delegation on site and at dinner. PVM, as always, was a gracious and generous host. Their homes, now 4 years old (PVM opened the first Green House homes in Michigan and the third site in the country), have become even warmer and richer with the passage of time.

To return PVM’s favor, RWJF invited a big contingent of PVM folks to their board dinner. All had the opportunity meet RWJF’s board chair Governor Keane and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF’s CEO and President.

As Angie and Emma were getting ready to leave, they corralled Robert for a photo. As the three were trying to figure out how get everyone into one photo, Risa walked by and offered to help out. After an excellent photo by Risa, the threesome corralled Risa (and Karl for good measure) !!STAY TUNED FOR THE PHOTO!!.

The Green House Project would like to thank Risa, RWJF, Angie, Emma, and PVM for their mission to serve those most in need as well as their unflagging support and friendship.

The Village of Redford

Redford, MI

Operating: 2
In development: 0
Square Feet per Home: 6998

The Village of Redford offers a unique concept in senior living providing cottage apartments, assisted living, Alzheimer’s/memory care services, Medicare rehabilitation sub-acute services and 24-hour skilled nursing care all on one campus. Located on a 33-acre campus on Six Mile Road between Beech Daly and Telegraph, and just steps from the new Redford Township District Library, The Village of Redford is conveniently located near shopping, banking, restaurants, a golf course, healthcare facilities, and other services.

Continue reading “The Village of Redford”

Porter Hills

Grand Rapids, MI

Operating: 2
In Development: 0
Square Feet per Home: 0

Porter Hills will be the first in the country to receive LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), enhancing the lives of those living and working in The Green House homes.

Continue reading “Porter Hills”

Pine Grove and Cedar Grove

Powers, MI

Operating: 2
In Development: 0
Square Feet per Home: 0

Pine Grove and Cedar Grove, sponsored by Pinecrest Medical Care Facility, are homes to ten elders each. Ten private rooms and private bathrooms center on the hearth and kitchen area of each home. It is a special place that looks and feels like home. The primary purpose of our Green House home is to serve as a place where elders can receive assistance and support with activities of daily living, skilled nursing care and therapy, without their healthcare becoming the focus of their existence. Continue reading “Pine Grove and Cedar Grove”