Green House Blog

Despite the Weather…Ground is Broken for the First Skilled Nursing Green House homes in Minnesota

We all know how crazy the weather has been this past winter…but who would have thought snowflakes would fall on a May 1st groundbreaking ceremony? Well, that’s exactly what greeted the guests for the Episcopal Homes of Minnesota ceremony to launch the construction of six Green House homes on their campus.

The $45 million project will provide a variety of living options for Elders including the skilled nursing services in the Green House homes which will be called “Episcopal Church Home – The Gardens”.  Episcopal Homes has been providing house and care for Elder for more than 100 years in St. Paul, Minnesota. The homes are slated to be open in late 2014.

We all know how important nature is to all of us, especially our Elders in Green House homes…so our friends at Episcopal Homes plan to do something special with the ground flung into that wheelbarrow. It will be saved and used in the future greenspace and two-story indoor garden. Such a wonderful and thoughtful idea!

Read more  about the project. Then tell us what you think!

The Great Personal Alarm Toss…Minnesota Nursing Home has a goal to eliminate all personal alarms creating a better home for Elders

We’re all looking for better ways to impact the quality of life for our Elders and one home in Minnesota has decided to do something about environmental noise—more specifically personal alarms.

About 20% of Episcopal Church Home’s Elders in St. Paul, Minnesota have a personal alarm.  Like many of us, those alarms are usually in place because the Elder is a “high fall risk”.  However, when the staff began to do some research on alarms they learned that by having them it really doesn’t mean that there will be a decrease in the number of falls.  In fact, the alarms at their home increased the amount of noise, fear and confusion for the Elder and those around them. 

So, the team at Episcopal Church Homes has taken the bold innovative step to eliminate all personal alarms!  Read more about their research, decision and steps moving forward…then tell us what you think!

A Special Position in Green House Homes: The Sage

“The Sage occupies a honored place in a Green House home,” that is how Dr. Bill Thomas, the founder of The Green House Project®, describes the importance of this volunteer position in each home.  

According to Dr. Thomas they occupy such an honored place in the home because the Sage is concerned that everyone in the house have the best possible life.  “The Sage is an advocate for the well-being of the house”.  The Green House model depends on the Sage to be “a person of influence” says Dr. Thomas.  He is quick to point out that this volunteer is not someone that possesses technical expertise, but someone who can help others get along.   The Sage will see, hear, touch and be thinking about the life of the house, the rhythm of the home for the elders and the staff.

What person would possess such abilities?  Dr. Thomas explains that you are “looking for people who have had a lifetime of experience helping small groups of people work effectively”. He says it could be an elementary teacher, a small business leader, or a retired minister.

A Sage from St. Martin’s in the Pines in Birmingham, Alabama thoroughly enjoys this volunteer position.  She cautions though that it does take time to build relationships with the elders, Shahbazim, and other staff members.  “It takes time to learn and listen”.  “I try to be influential”.

The success of the Sage is critical to the success of the Green House home according to Dr. Thomas.  While he explains that you can operate without one, you will prefer to operate with one, “It’s the cherry on the top, it’s the secret sauce”.

What do you think about the role of the Sage?  Let us know!