Green House Blog, Green House Innovative in Design and Model

The Green House Cottages of Carmel, Carmel, IN

An intentionally built environment is crucial to support the success a person-directed home.  ProBuilder Magazine highlights innovation in senior care with a focus on the comprehensive transformation of The Green House model.  Green House “has three core values,” says senior director Susan Frazier Ryan, “real homes, meaningful life (culture) and empowered staff (organizational change/human architecture, all of which help an elder live the best life.”

This article features innovative Green House homes, including St. John’s, the first

St. John's Penfield Green House homes in Rochester.  SWBR designed these homes in collaboration with the team from St. John's and The Green House Project
Penfield Green House homes of St. John’s, Rochester, NY

community integrated Green House homes as a model to influence future developers as they look to meet the needs of an aging population,”In 10 years, the first of the 77 million baby boomers will turn 80. That’s the age, say those involved in senior housing, where the intersection of the built environment and health is critical.”

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Maggie Calkins, Long Time Friend of The Green House Project, Named Executive Director of Mayer-Rothchild Foundation

The Green House Project would like to congratulate long time friend and collaborator, Maggie Calkins, on her recent appointment as Executive Director of the Mayer-Rothchild Foundation. Calkins has contributed greatly to the field of culture change in long term care, and brings more than 25 years of experience as a researcher, consultant, and educator to the foundation.

Maggie CalkinsOriginally established under the will of Hulda B. Rothschild as The Hulda B. & Maurice L. Rothschild Foundation, it was led by Dr. Rob Mayer for 35 years. The name was changed to honor Rob after his death last year, “We will continue to follow Rob’s inspiring approach and work to build networks of communities and organizations to collaborate in both creating incentives and identifying pragmatic solutions to the challenging issues that face our elders today, so that the elders of tomorrow will be able to live deep and meaningful lives” Calkins says.

For the past five years, the foundation has focused on codes, guidelines, regulations, and funding research that needed to be done in order to create better lives for elders and those working closest to them. The Green House Project’s pursuit of real home was furthered by their advocacy with CMS to update fire safety codes and allow for a more residential environment. We are grateful to the work of this foundation, and Maggie’s leadership to further person-centered practices.

Build This, Not That: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Green House Home Experience

Rob and Debbie speaking on this topic at The Pioneer Network Conference
Rob and Debbie speaking on this topic at The Pioneer Network Conference

Green House Project Guide Debbie Wiegand, LNHA and Rob Simonetti, Senior Associate with SWBR Architects highlight key Green House design lessons learned from over a decade of experience in the webinar “Build This, Not That: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Green House Home Experience.”  These lessons are supported by research, and have helped Green House adopters to partner with regulators to build residential homes that meet the highest level of skilled nursing licensing standards.

The core values of Real Home, Meaningful Life, and Empowered Staff represent the physical, philosophical, and organizational transformation that allows those working, living, and visiting Green House homes to “feel the difference” when they enter the front door. Design topics are addressed as they relate to The Green House experience, focusing on insight and value of design concepts that foster how the core values are lived and integrated in Green House Homes. Real home design elements are crucial in supporting elders and empowering staff to create a meaningful life within The Green House home. A strong evidence base of research around the core values provides insight into what makes the model unique and sustainable, and provides an opportunity for positive outcomes. These data driven practices are crucial solutions to share with providers, policy makers, and consumers when beginning the design process and overcoming regulatory hurdles.

“It’s all about relationships” when introducing this new, different model of care. In order to achieve this radical

St. John's Penfield Green House homes in Rochester, NY.  SWBR designed these homes in collaboration with the team from St. John's and The Green House Project
St. John’s Penfield Green House homes in Rochester, NY. SWBR designed these homes in collaboration with the team from St. John’s and The Green House Project

change in care, collaborating with state regulatory agencies is critical to develop strategies that create win-win outcomes for providers and regulators. Common goals are established through a formal meeting with the state regulatory agency to observe opportunities for insight on important topics and discuss strategies that honor the agency’s values while exceeding regulatory compliance through evidence based solutions. Green House has partnered with over 30 state agencies by creating opportunities to establish common ground and execute mutually shared goals through innovative strategies and model education. In the webinar, Debbie provides suggestions for adopters related to the top five regulatory hurdles that she has experienced; fireplaces, medication storage, elimination of the nurse’s station, open kitchens, and corridors. Green House adopters are encouraged to dialogue with regulators about ways to minimize potential harm while using evidence to support the impact the feature will have towards building quality of life.

When designing Green House homes, Rob encourages listeners to “think beyond the front door”, emphasizing that the experience of getting to the home should be integrated within the neighborhood and connect individuals back to their experiences and culture of that community through the location, regional architecture, and shared amenities of the home. Rob identifies lessons learned in various aspects of the home as the model has evolved over the past decade including home design, size, room layout, lighting, appliances, and furniture, highlighting responses of what works and what doesn’t from a recent survey of Green House adopter’s design experience.

Interested in learning more about Green House design? Listen to the webinar and learn more about the design process>>


Residences at VA Danville, utilize The Green House Prototype Design Package

By Melissa Urbieta

Chicago, IL (March 1, 2012)

The Chicago office of top design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman joins with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) in celebrating the completion of the country’s first Community Living Center (CLC) to utilize THE GREEN HOUSE® Prototype Design Package at the VA Illiana Health Care System campus in Danville, Illinois.

The CLC at Danville consists of two 7,500 sf buildings—aptly named Freedom House and Liberty House—containing ten private bedrooms with direct views to common areas, communal living areas and kitchens, and ample outdoor space, all with an aim to restore maximum function and independence while providing veteran-centered care. “Perkins Eastman has been truly honored to work with the Veterans’ Administration to design thoughtful living environments for our veterans,” says Principal Jerry Walleck AIA. “Our goal was to ensure that the CLC at Danville provides a state-of-the-art environment that supports the VA’s mission to improve the health of the men and women who have served our nation.”

The VA Illiana Health Care System CLC is the first of several VA communities either planned or under construction that utilizes THE GREEN HOUSE® Prototype Design Package, a new approach for seniors needing skilled nursing care that emphasizes de-institutionalization. The prototype was designed in 2011 by Perkins Eastman in concert with THE GREEN HOUSE® Project and NCB Capital Impact to provide a turnkey design for senior living communities at a reduced schedule and with reduced costs.

The overall goal of design is to empower more providers across the country to create communities where seniors can experience quality care in a de-institutionalized environment. A transformation in the way veteran care is delivered, Freedom House and Liberty House address the spectrum of health—physical, emotional, psychological—in their design. In adopting this community-based model of care, Freedom House and Liberty House at VA Illiana provide greater assurances of privacy and personalized environments for veterans in ways more traditional models cannot.

‘Tis the Season to be Warm, Smart, and Green

During the holidays and always, Green House homes embody warm, smart, and green principles. As discussed in Bill Thomas’ What Are Old People For?, warm organizations are rich in optimism and trust, and exude the spirit of generosity. Doing good deeds without the expectation of return is the most effective approach to warming people and organizations. Smart homes embrace technology that serves to foster the well-being of Elders and those who work with them. Green organizations provide an environment where Elders have close and continuing contact with the living world. Any sanctuary for Elderhood should demonstrate a true concern for safe and sustainable use of natural resources.
‘Tis the season to go green by reducing waste, saving energy, and renewing your commitment to green living. Here are some easy ways in which you can be warm, smart, and green this holiday season:
• Save paper by wrapping gifts with children’s artwork, maps, calendars, newspaper, a scarf, or fabric remnants. According to the Sierra Club, if every family wrapped just three gifts with reusable materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
• Consider green gifts constructed from recycled materials, a homemade gift of photos or pottery, or even an experience like tickets to a show or sporting event. Order online and save gas – and patience!
• Receive a new computer, TV, or phone? Recycle old electronics or donate to a local non-profit and extend the life of valuable products.
• Install low flow aerators on sinks and low flow showerheads in the bathroom. You can reduce 40% of water used just by upgrading 2.5 gallon per minute (gpm) to 1.5 gpm fixtures.
• Support local farmers and add healthy produce to your holiday meal.
• Purchase energy-saving LED holiday lights and use 90% less energy than conventional lights. Light timers will also help conserve energy.