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By Allen Power, MD, Eden Mentor at St. John’s Home in Rochester, NY
It has not been a smooth road for St. John’s in our efforts to build Green Houses® out in communities around Rochester. There has been a lot of resistance from Federal regulators who can’t imagine how we can keep 20 elders safe when living 10 miles from the main campus, or how the houses might be effectively surveyed along with the rest of the organization.
This is a case of “not seeing the forest for the trees”. Even though our first two houses are several months away from completion, we are already being shown the real reasons why we are doing this.
You see, the first two Green Houses will be in the center of a new townhouse community called Arbor Ridge, in the suburb of Penfield. It’s a multi-generational community, but the majority of people who have purchased townhouses so far are over 55. And even though the Green Houses are just being framed, several different members of the community have already called to inquire if living at Arbor Ridge will raise the likelihood that they or their family members could receive consideration to move into our Green Houses in the future! Far from the “Not in my backyard” syndrome, people in the community are excited by this new approach to elder care.
Community Green Houses do more than provide high quality care and well-being. They are already creating aging in community, as even during construction their neighbors are seeing them as a viable place for meaningful life and continued engagement, should their needs increase.