Green House Homes Groundbreaking at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community

Late yesterday afternoon, January 5, 2012, I attended a groundbreaking event at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC). Several hundred residents, family members, VMRC staff, board members, and friends celebrated the beginning of construction on three new Green House® Homes — the first residences in a new community to be called Woodland Park.

While most of the event was held inside an auditorium, the shoveling itself was outside. To ensure the widest participation on a cool January day, VMRC event organizers double-staged the outdoor festivities via a video feed, enabling residents to remain inside and still take an active part.

The philosophy behind Green House® projects is revolutionary, seeking no less than the complete transformation of long-term care for seniors who need 24-hour nursing support (check out some of my other posts below). New Green House® Homes around the country banish the medical model and demonstrate how it’s possible for elderly seniors to thrive while receiving the medical care they need, all the while living in a home that supports their freedom, dignity, and personal preferences. Green House® communities may look different from one another because they are expressly designed to blend in with the rest of a city, town or neighborhood, looking like any other homes in the area.

Workers install a new sign announcing Woodland Park construction.

About halfway through the groundbreaking, a few people went outside to use the the shovels, each shovel festively wrapped in a bright green bow. Other activities included presentations, spirited hymn-singing, a litany prayer filled with VMRC historical information, and recognition of the many people who are helping to ensure the success of the new Woodland Park community. And a lot of people working on this — VMRC staff, residents, board members, and even residents of  VMRC’s current nursing community, Oak Lea (several who are planning to be some of the first residents in the new community).

But the best part of the activities was how we all built a symbolic foundation on a model of a Woodland Park house. Each of us took a stone up to the 5-foot by 5-foot model and placed it anywhere along the foundation — by the end resident had added hundreds of stones. If there was a theme, it was surely “On foundations firmly laid.”

If you are an adult child, take note. Whether or not you have an aging parent who is requiring extra care and support, you should learn as much as possible about Green House® Projects. Long term care will be a fact of life for many of our parents — and also in the future for lots of us — so it’s an option we want to understand and support. Yesterday I sent in a contribution to  the Woodland Park capital campaign at VMRC. Whether or not my parents end up living in Woodland Park, it’s a choice I want to be there for them and others.

Other blog posts on the new Green House® Homes at VMRC

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