Great Green House Homes Article in Mass General Hospital Publication

Green House Homer MGHAn in-depth article about the Green House Home model appeared in the Fall 2013 edition of Proto Magazine, a publication of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. The article, The New Nursing Home, by Cathryn Delude, describes the Green House model at the  Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, MA. The report also goes into considerable detail about the Green House Homes model, quoting Dr. Bill Thomas who came up with the concept in 2003.

The MGH Proto article also includes facts about the cost of building a completely new Green House community and provides an overview of the elder care culture change that is happening in other parts of the country. Author Delude points out that widespread success in culture change may depend on the staffing issues in elder care communities. Factors such as the huge turnover of elder care staff, their low pay, and the way that for-profit facilities maintain a staff that is about a third below the number of people that a non-profit nursing community hires.

Most Interesting Quote from the Article                  Continue reading

Core Values of Green Houses

20130125-101414.jpgCheck out the post Exploring Green House Core Values: Real Home over at the Changing Aging blog.

Rachel Scher of The Green House Project describes how Green House movement founder, Dr. Bill Thomas, envisions homes where residents create a community together — supported by staff members (shabazz) who are trained not only to provide care but also to provide and encourage the home-creating process.

In her post Scher makes the distinction between creating “home-like homes”versus making real homes.At the end of the post watch a great video that celebrates ten years of the Green House Movement.

In this picture Dr. Bill Thomas speaks at the dedication of the new Woodland Park Green House Homes at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community early in January 2013.

The Green Houses are Here — at VMRC!

Hutch 2 010

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time or even occasionally, you know that I’ve been keeping track of the new Green House Homes at Woodland Park with descriptions, pictures from the groundbreaking, and many construction images. The new neighborhood in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will be a special community that enables elders who have traditionally needed support in a nursing home, to live in a home setting while continuing to maintain much independence. Check out all of my posts about Woodland Park below.

The good news is that the these three beautiful homes at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community are almost finished. The grand opening weekend is January 5th and 6th. After that, move-in begins, with each home welcoming residents and establishing itself over a two-week period (6 weeks total).

I toured one of the Woodland Park homes recently. Finishing details were in progress, but already the house was filled with light and space, a private room for each resident, a kitchen that anyone can use, and lots of common areas, including a great (and grand) fireplace. The houses are constructed to be accessible — but almost nothing looks institutional. The goal of these homes is to provide a place where elders can live and “maintain self-care abilities longer, experience less depression, and receive timelier intervention as health conditions change.” (VMRC website). Basically, these beautiful buildings look like — well homes.

Continue reading

VMRC Green House Homes Update – September 22, 2012

See larger pictures below.

I get to Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC) to visit my parents about every two weeks. Each time I drop by the Woodland Park construction site to see how the Green House Homes are coming along.

The hope is for new residents to move into at least some of the homes in January.  As I’ve chatted with a few of the residents who may be the initial community members, I detect a sense of excitement, reticence, nervousness, and just a bit of awe — feelings that just about everyone has when moving is a possibility.  And the homes continue to rise.

Continue reading

Woodland Park Green Houses: On the Inside, June 11, 2012

The VMRC Green Houses at Woodland Park are beginning to look like real houses with roofs, windows, and doors. Now much of the construction has moved indoors. This time when I visited, Mr. Marvin Nisely, who supervises the construction at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, took me on an inside tour of one of the homes.

Expand this post to see descriptions of the photos.

Continue reading

Woodland Park Green Houses Have Roofs! June 3, 2012

Last weekend I spent the day with my parents at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.  On a beautiful Shenandoah Valley late spring day, we walked around near the construction site and shot these pictures of the Green Houses slowly turning into Green Homes. Two buildings have walls and roofs and the third has its foundation. So much to see!

I’ll be spending several days with my parents next week, and I hope to get permission to shoot a few pictures from inside the the buildings. More later.

To learn more please read these posts about Woodland Park Green House Homes, a new community at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. Continue reading