Green House Blog

Creating A Safe Place For Older Adults Who Are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

Kate Waldo and Debbie Wiegand, Project Guides at The Green House Project

It is hard to believe there is a group of older adults who are less likely to use health services, visit their local senior center and be open about their lifestyle when living in a nursing home or assisted living facility.  However, this is the reality for most older adults who are  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT). 

Kate Waldo, Project Guide at THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project discussed this issue at The Pioneer Network 12th National Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.  She talked about ways aging providers can improve services and support for LGBT older adults.  To say support for this population is inadequate would be an understatement.  So why is this happening? There has been a long history of discrimination, stigmatization and persecution of this population.  The LGBT older adults we are currently serving have lived through heinous treatment, from electric shock therapy as the standard “treatment for homosexuality” to losing their jobs and children for being gay.  It is no wonder many individuals have waited until late life to come out or continue to hide it.    

As health care providers, we cannot be satisfied with services that are not meeting the needs of one of the most vulnerable populations.  To learn more, contact the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

Person-Centered Regulations Discussed at Pioneer Network’s 2012 National Conference

The Pioneer Network’s National Conference in Jacksonville, FL, challenged participants to build a bridge to a new culture of aging. Skip Gregory, retired Bureau Chief at the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) in Florida, is building that bridge with patience and regulatory resourcefulness.
Nearly every new neighborhood, small house and Green House home is impacted by codes. Building codes, fire codes, and design codes alike, “exist to provide minimum protection,” said Gregory. The August 6th all-day intensive Defining the future of long term care included a discussion on how regulations are “transforming to better support person-centered care.”
The 2012 NFPA Fire Code now allows for furniture in a nursing home’s eight foot corridor. And, gas fireplaces are OK in sleeping areas (though not in bedrooms). Alternate Methods Section 104.11 of the International Building Code (IBC) supports creative approaches to design and equipment. ADA code section 2.2 affords “wiggle room” that includes smarter bathroom design for Elders and their care-partners.

Green House adopters should connect with their Project Guide and architect to learn more about how new codes support their vision for real home. For more information on The Green House Project and its regulatory successes, please visit www.thegreenhouseproject.org.

A New Definition for Dementia explored at Pioneer Network's 2012 National Conference

To many, a person with dementia is a complex and misunderstood being, and currently the only way most people treat them is with medication.  Dr. Al Power, M.D., a board certified internist and geriatrician and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester, New York couldn’t disagree more.  In fact, he told conference attendees today that the lessons learned with the culture change movement taking place in skilled nursing facilities could offer insight into dementia care.

Power told the group instead of looking inside the box…we need to get rid of the box!  He offered a new definition for the disease:  “Dementia is a shift in the way a person experiences the world around her/him.”

“Care should be individualized, putting the person before the disease,” explained Power, “We need a paradigm shift, to a person-directed, relationship-based model of care.”   The challenge is on us, the care partner according to Power to find a better way to communicate with those with dementia.  “We put them in places where they can’t succeed.  We need to go where they CAN succeed.”

Part of the approach would include an Experiential Audit, using “Well-being Domains”, i.e. Identity (Is my story known and understood by my care partners?), Autonomy (Do I have opportunities for choice and control throughout the day?), Security (Do I feel safe in my surroundings and do I trust those who provide my care?).

Power believes a physical, operational and personal transformation is needed for facilities and care partners working with those with dementia.  “You feel that when you walk into our Green House homes.”  Power serves as Eden Mentor at St. John’s Home, which opened two Green House homes earlier this year.

For more information about dementia and Dr. Al Power, you can contact him at:  apower@st.johnsliving.org or at his website http://www.alpower.net/

A New Definition for Dementia explored at Pioneer Network’s 2012 National Conference

To many, a person with dementia is a complex and misunderstood being, and currently the only way most people treat them is with medication.  Dr. Al Power, M.D., a board certified internist and geriatrician and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester, New York couldn’t disagree more.  In fact, he told conference attendees today that the lessons learned with the culture change movement taking place in skilled nursing facilities could offer insight into dementia care.

Power told the group instead of looking inside the box…we need to get rid of the box!  He offered a new definition for the disease:  “Dementia is a shift in the way a person experiences the world around her/him.”

“Care should be individualized, putting the person before the disease,” explained Power, “We need a paradigm shift, to a person-directed, relationship-based model of care.”   The challenge is on us, the care partner according to Power to find a better way to communicate with those with dementia.  “We put them in places where they can’t succeed.  We need to go where they CAN succeed.”

Part of the approach would include an Experiential Audit, using “Well-being Domains”, i.e. Identity (Is my story known and understood by my care partners?), Autonomy (Do I have opportunities for choice and control throughout the day?), Security (Do I feel safe in my surroundings and do I trust those who provide my care?).

Power believes a physical, operational and personal transformation is needed for facilities and care partners working with those with dementia.  “You feel that when you walk into our Green House homes.”  Power serves as Eden Mentor at St. John’s Home, which opened two Green House homes earlier this year.

For more information about dementia and Dr. Al Power, you can contact him at:  apower@st.johnsliving.org or at his website http://www.alpower.net/

Pioneer Network Conference Convenes Many Culture Change Leaders

The Pioneer Network is a group that calls for a radical change in the culture of aging so that when our grandparents, parents — and ultimately ourselves — go to a nursing home or other community-based setting it is to thrive, not to decline. They serve as a convener for those people in the field of aging, who embrace flexibility and self-determination. Together we create a strong voice for Culture Change in the field of aging.

Next week The Green House Project will travel to Jacksonville, Florida to participate in their 12th annual national conference! The majority of the team will be in attendence, as the purpose of the Pioneer Network at the very core of The Green House Project.  It will be a stimulating exhange of ideas, and a time to build strong relationships. 

There will be many opportunities to connect with The Green House Project throughout the conference. The team will lead conference intensives on Workforce, Meaningful Engagement, and Aging in the LGBT community. There will be also be a session focused on The Green House model where a panel of Green House adopters from Porter Hills in Grand Rapids, MI will share their experience of life in this model.

In addition to the sessions, as a conference sponsor, the exhibit booth will feature exciting new tools and research from The Green House Project including, consumer research showing that, 95 percent of caregivers who learn about the Green House favor it significantly over any other option, including in-home care. Our latest development is The Business Case for THE GREEN HOUSE® Project which is built to articulate how this model improves lives and bottom lines

To learn more about The Green House model, visit our website, “Like” us on Facebook, and download our app for Ipad by searching “GHP” in the app store.