Nursing Home? Be Prepared to Learn

Medicare publishes this document to assist people in checking the details and quality of care at any long term care community.

Medicare publishes this document to assist people in checking the details and quality of care at any long-term care community.

No one ever wants to think about the possibility of a nursing home. Yet long-term care may figure prominently in many of our lives.

The New York Times recently published two articles by Jane Brody about how to choose a nursing home community carefully. In part one, Nursing Home Unthinkable? Be Prepared in Case It’s Inevitable, she interviews people who point out how the biggest problem for most families is the timing — the necessity of choosing a nursing community with little time for discovery or preparation.

The piece presents a veritable checklist to help a family go about making a choice when true nursing care is required.

Best Quote in Part I

Nursing homes generally have had a bad reputation as smelly, indifferent places where people go to die. But “there are some homes that are better than being at home,” Ms. Leefer said in an interview. “And there are many more good facilities than bad ones.”

Continue reading

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

Green House Homes Featured on NPR

image

I chatted with Dr. Bill Thomas during the grand opening of the Green Houses in Virginia.

In case you missed it, listen to this terrific All Things Considered segment, Move Over Nursing Homes — There’s Something Different. The July 23, 2013 radio story describes a visit to a Green House community in Baltimore and features Dr. Bill Thomas, the geriatrician who created the concept of elder care communities that help  residents maintain as much independence as possible.

The reporter also interviews staff members and residents who describe their daily lives the Baltimore community.

Interesting Points in the NPR Story Continue reading

Will Adult Children Be Liable for Parents’ Nursing Home Bills?

From a posting on Facebook by A Bittersweet Season author, Jane Gross. A bit scary, I think.

Son Liable for Mom’s $93,000 Nursing Home Bill Under ‘Filial Responsibility’ Law

Some 29 states currently have laws making adult children responsible for their parents if their parents can’t afford to take care of themselves.  These “filial responsibility” laws have rarely been enforced, but six years ago when federal rules made it more difficult to qualify for Medicaid long-term care coverage, some elder law attorneys predicted that nursing homes would start using the laws as a way to get care paid for.

Read the whole article.

Helping Parents Stay Out of a Nursing Home?

The Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times recently published an instructive article explaining in detail what adult children can do to help our parents stay out of nursing homes.

Written by Karen Ravn, the article suggests focusing on nine specific issues that make an enormous difference in the safety and security of a senior parent’s home environment — where most elders want to live as long as they can.

Best Quote in the Article

According to Dr. David Reuben, Geriatrics Chief at UCLA’s Department of Medicine, “… there’s always a tension between autonomy and safety. Children may want to err on the side of safety, but parents may want to err on the side of autonomy.”

One of the reasons that I am so excited about the  Green House® Homes construction at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC), where my parents live, is the added option that these new dwellings will provide for my family, should one of my parents be unable to continue living at home. While their goal (and mine) is for them to continue living at home, we do not know what may happen to alter our plans, so it’s wonderful to have a care option that is not a nursing home. Moreover, one of the many advantages of Green House® Homes is that a key part of the mission is to help elders maintain their autonomy.

These four As Our Parents Age posts describe the process at VMRC. Watch for more that describe the construction. Continue reading

Pictures from 2012 VMRC Green House Groundbreaking

January 5, 2012

Click on each thumbnail to see a larger image.

Each shovel featured a bright green bow.

My parents check out the Green House model.

Each participant took a stone to help build a model foundation.

A birds-eye view of the Green House model.

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