Dr. Bill Thomas, the visionary who created The Green House model after realizing that his Harvard medical education didn’t give him the tools to treat loneliness, helplessness and boredom, has spent his life trying to answer the question, “What comes next?” With more than 1 million Americans living in nursing homes that were built in the 1960s and 1970s the time is ripe to consider a “shift from large institutional nursing homes to small and more friendly [homes]”.
This summer, NPR reporter, Ina Jaffe (@InaJaffeNPR), spent some time at The Green House Residences of Stadium Place, the first Green House project in Maryland, which serves predominantly low income elders. During her visit, Ms. Jaffe observed that, “You can hear the sounds and smell the aromas coming from an open kitchen that looks like it belongs in a big suburban house”.
Mealtime in a Green House home is a special time, where you can really feel the deep relationships between the versatile direct care workers and the elders. It is a time to come together as a community. “We cook for them. We do daily activities with them. We spend a lot of quality time with our elders.” says Tumarka Wilson, one of the direct care team members in the home. Ms. Wilson has a base education as a certified nursing assistant and received 128 hours of additional education from The Green House Project to gain the skills she needs to manage The Green House home.
The Green House Project is currently open and operating in 24 states around the country. This fall, when Green House homes open in Florida, half of the country will have an option to bring their elders meaningful life and real home while receiving long term care in a Green House Home. With cost neutral operations, this model has the potential to spread quickly, and will eventually be an option in every community.
The Green House Project is a program of NCB Captital Impact and receives funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Listen to the full NPR radio segment >>
Learn more about The Green House Model >>
As the World Series is getting underway you may not be aware that the new Green House homes in Baltimore have a special connection to both baseball and football!
Read more about this special project and how the YMCA built new baseball playing fields directly on top of where the old playing field was located AND how Elders at their dining table overlook home plate!
“We used to have home plate,” Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke told the crowd at Thursday’s opening ceremonies of The Green House Residences of Stadium Place . “Now we have home sweet home.”
The Grand Opening of Stadium Place, built on the site of Memorial Stadium, had all the festivities of opening day at the ballpark, complete with hot dogs, and a ceremonial first pitch thrown out by Dr. Bill Thomas and elder, Shirley Dickens. It was a wonderful culmination to a long and winding journey with strong partners. The Green House Project is built on relationships, and this project, the first in Maryland, highlighted that core value. GEDCO’s steadfast vision partnered with NCBCI and RWJF’s creative and innovative financing to create a home where Catholic Charities, with a long history of compassionate care, could create real home, in the community, for the community!
In addition to the Oriole Bird, the media were present to document this moment that propels Baltimore to the forefront of providing cutting edge services for low income elders. The Baltimore Sun covered the Stadium Place grand opening with a great story about the elders and background on the project. A couple TV stations attended the festivities and WBAL Channel 11 broadcast this excellent story featuring Stadium Place’s administrator Nate Sweeney GEDCO Executive Director, Mitch Posner and others. A blogger from Kaiser Health News also attended the gala and wrote a post touting the research proving The Green House Project model. WYPR 88.1 FM’s Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast interviewd Dr. Bill Thomas about the urgent need to provide long term care to underserved populations he was joined by Brown University assistant professor Zhanlian Feng, who has led ground-breaking research about the changing ethnic and racial make-up of nursing home residents.
This event was one of those beautiful days, where everyone in attendance is filled with hope, and happiness.