If you are an adult child who’s spent even a little time searching for the right living arrangement for an elderly parent who needs a lot of extra care, it doesn’t take long to understand the terrain. You see lots of hallways, sometimes laid out in a hub, or in a square, or sometimes just going on and on. The residents’ rooms are often spare and hospital-like, even if filled with personal possessions, and frequently two people live together in one room. Surprisingly the noise level is uncomfortably high during the day. We visited a number of these facilities when my husband’s mother needed extra care, but we were able to make more homelike living arrangements for Mother.
Most striking, however, are the nursing stations. Rarely are these placed in out-of-the-way or discrete locations. Instead, the nursing area is often the most noticeable feature in the building, sometimes looking like the control room on Star Trek’s Enterprise. My first thoughts in so many of these places was, I don’t want to live here, and I don’t want my parents to live here either.
That’s why, when I looked at that floor plan for the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC) Green House Homes (click to enlarge), I felt I was suddenly breathing fresh air. A couple of years ago I heard from my mother, a VMRC resident, about Green House Homes, and she showed me pictures and took me on walk to the site where the houses are to be built. At about the same time I discovered Dr. Thomas’ book. Fresh air indeed.
My first thought was to wonder where the nurses would be stationed? But, of course, these are homes, not nursing facilities, so nurses come and go giving home care, but they are not a part of the home setting. I also noticed the single rooms and the space allotted to them. And finally I noticed the common space, the gardens, the large kitchen, the family style eating area.
So here it is — a picture of the floor plan, and it is grand (in many ways). Click on the image to get to a large version which has room measurements and a key to the different rooms. While this building is large, compared to a family home, it possesses all of the characteristics of a home with well-lit spaces and gardens.
When I look at this floor plan, I think I could live here, and that’s the idea.
To learn more please read these posts about Woodland Park Green House Homes, a new community at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.
- Woodland Park Green House Walls are Rising – April 28, 2012
- Green House Homes at Woodland Park (VMRC) Construction Update, April 8, 2012
- VMRC Construction Update: On Foundations Firmly Laid – April 3, 2012
- All About the VMRC Woodland Park Groundbreaking – January 5, 2012
- Green Houses for Older Elders
- Replacing a Nursing Community with Green House® Homes
- Nuts and Bolts of Green House Planning
- Building a Green House Home – The Inside
- To learn even more about Green House® Homes go to the web site and request the DVD and/or guide-book.
- To locate a community that features the Green House Project model, check out this handy map.