Green House Blog

Embracing Late-Life Development

Last month, The Washington Post  published an article which revealed that many Americans are in denial when it comes to thinking about the long-term care services and supports they will need as they age. The Post reports that according to a recent poll, two thirds of people over the age of 40 have done little if any planning for elderhood. In fact, 3 in 10 adults in this age group prefer not to think about aging at all.

Despite widespread denial, the facts remain clear; we will all age and advanced planning for long-term care needs are necessary. The article confirms this stating, “Government figures show nearly 7 in 10 Americans will need long-term care at some point after they reach age 65, whether it’s from a relative, a home health aide, assisted living or a nursing home. On average, they’ll need that care for three years.”

In a society where traditional models of long-term care can feel more like impersonal hospitals than real homes, it is understandable that Americans reject the need to think about the care they will need as they age.

Luckily, new models of long-term care like THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, encourage acceptance of aging as a stage of late-life development that is characterized by growth, autonomy and purposeful living. Based on the three core values of Meaningful Life, Empowered Staff and Real Home, Green House homes are designed as a sanctuary where elders thrive and find meaning in late life.

Unlike a traditional nursing home model, 10-12 elders live in a Green House home and they enjoy the aspects of a real home including, private rooms, home-cooked meals and an easy to navigate design. The direct care staff, known as Shahbazim, are empowered as a self-managed work team, providing care in a flattened organizational hierarchy. Finally, meaningful life is considered every person’s right in the Green House home and choice, control, autonomy and close relationships are just some of the ways that this is achieved.

There are 146 Green House homes open in 23 states with an additional 123 in development. Click here to find a Green House home near you!

Fighting the Plague of Lonliness is a matter of Life and Death

According to the Washington Post, a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that actual social isolation can increase the liklihood of death among elders by 26%.

The Green House model is designed to combat the plagues of lonliness, boredom and helplessness.  In The Green House model, the reorganization of the workforce model shifts power into the home and creates 4 times more meaningful interaction with elders than in traditional long term care.  Additionally, because of the small size and consistent staffing, all people in the home are deeply known as creative, resourceful and whole beings.

Much more than reported lonliness, “Social isolation has practical as well as emotional aspects,” says Andrew Steptoe, one of the study’s authors. “People with few social contacts may not have people around them who can give them advice, recommend that they go to a doctor with symptoms, ensure that they maintain healthy lifestyles, or perhaps they don’t have anyone around when they experience acute symptoms.”

We all have this need to be known, to feel safe, and that we have people around us who care.  In Green House homes, this need for connectedness is intentionally built into every aspect of the model, and can be seen in the positive outcomes that come from real home.