Patrick O’Brian lives with ALS at Leonard Florence Center for Living, a Green House Project in Chelsea, Massachusetts. His father, Mayor Kennedy O’Brian of Sayreville, NJ,was invited to the White House St. Patrick’s Day Reception, and he knew he had to find a way to bring his son. Patrick’s dad said that the team from Leonard Florence Center (LFCL) moved “heaven and earth” to get his son to the event. Patrick was able to shake the President’s hand and meet the Irish Prime Minister…It was certainly a once in a lifetime experience.
LFCL has a long history of connecting people to meaning and adventure. From trips to Cape Cod and Disney World, to sky diving, this organization believes that well-being is about a lot more than physical health.
Beyond this exciting event, Patrick O’Brian is a filmmaker. He was honored in 2015 at the Tribeca Film festival for, Transfatty Lives, a piece that he created with eye gaze technology, while living at LFCL.
We celebrate Green House homes who are pushing the envelope everyday to ensure people live full and meaningful lives, from simple pleasures like getting a cup of coffee just the right way, to traveling 12 hours with a full medical team and meeting the President. “I’m just a proud father and a grateful father,” Kennedy O’Brian said.
Policy makers have the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of elders and long term care providers. Recently, The Green House Project participated in the Briefing on Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS) Innovation and Technology. Some innovations were technical in nature and some were a result of old fashioned intuition and common sense. The Administration and government representatives were duly impressed with what they heard through these AJAS presentations.
Green House adopter, The New Jewish Home, in Manhattan, NY, discussed their career growth program that develops young people for success in working with elders. This opportunity to be in the hallowed walls of the White House, where so many important decisions are made, reminded us of the gravity of our work, and the impetus to create better places where we can age and work.
In a blog post earlier this month, Executive Director Nora Super began to outline the goals and events that will occur as a part of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA). The WHCOA happens only once every decade, so you don’t want to miss this opportunity to have your voice heard! The regional forums, announced this month, will provide a venue for the public to discuss issues in the aging field that are most important to them including: retirement security, healthy aging, long-term services and supports, Elder abuse and supporting caregivers.
More specific details of the forums are to follow but the locations and dates are the following:
Tampa, Florida (February 19th)
Phoenix, Arizona (March 31st)
Seattle, Washington (April 9th)
Cleveland, Ohio (April 27th)
Boston, Massachusetts (May 28th)
According to the WHCOA website, “The regional forums are co-sponsored by AARP and being planned in coordination with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, a coalition of more than 70 of the nation’s leading organizations serving older Americans. While participation is by invitation, all of the events will be live webcast to engage as many people as possible.”
We encourage all Green House adopters and culture change advocates to engage in the regional forums by watching the webcast and using social media during that day and the weeks leading up to the event. Stay tuned for details and ideas to assist you with that process! In addition, consider having an event at your Green House homes or in your community during the same time that a regional forum is occurring and invite local legislators and press to attend. The more Green House buzz near each regional forum, the more national attention we will receive as others recognize that now is the time to push for radical changes in aging and long-term care!
This month, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Older Americans Month, THE GREEN HOUSE® Project participated in the Healthy Aging Forum put on by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. We were joined by congressional representatives, leaders in the aging field and elder advocates, all of whom demonstrated their passion and dedication to serving older adults by discussing policy frameworks and strategies that result in robust aging services for all.
We must not lose the momentum gained from this event! A national discussion on relevant aging issues, policy strategies and effective care delivery is necessary. Recently, in an article from the National Academy of Social Insurance, Anne Montgomery provides a call to action in order to gain support for a proposed White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) for 2015. Included in her article is a Letter to the President, signed by 40+ organizations, which explains that now is a critical time for such a conference since, “…By 2015, twelve million baby boomers will have already turned 65 with sixty-six million more to follow.” If the proposal were to be supported, this would be “…the sixth White House Conference in history and the second of the 21st century.”
In order to ensure that core values such as meaningful life, real home, and empowered staff are a non-negotiable part of long-term services and supports, we need to participate in events like the Healthy Aging Forum and the proposed White House Conference on Aging.
Join us in Unleashing the Power of Age for Older Americans Month by reading the article in support of the 2015 WHCOA and by telling friends and colleagues why we need this national forum.