January 2014

In This Issue
Chinese Delegation Learns from The Green House Model
Generations Journal focuses on Person-Centered Care for People Living with Dementia
Green House homes as an Innovation for Short-Term Rehabilitation
Senior Housing Forum - An Interview with Sally Abrahms
California Health Report: "This Green House Grows Humans"
National Handwriting Day
Highlighting THE GREEN HOUSE® Project Team: Tara Cugelman-McMahon, Sr. Operations Coordinator
Caring Homes for Meaningful Lives


On January 5, 2012, groundbreaking ceremonies took place at the Virginia Mennonite Retirement community in Harrisonburg, VA. They broke ground for the first three of ten homes at their community.
Also in January 2012, the nation's first grassroots organized Green House homes in Sheridan, WY opened their doors to Elders. They now have four homes.

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A delegation from China recently visited The Green House Residences of Stadium Place.  The translator of the group relayed, "The purpose of this trip is to learn about the infrastructure (of such facilities), so they can implement it (in China)  as a successful business model."   This visit, hosted by the Maryland Department of Aging and the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD), represents an opportunity to highlight innovative models as a solution for the challenges and opportunities of global aging. Stephanie Hull, acting deputy secretary for the Department of aging, said to the delegation: "Like you, we have a large aging population.  When they need help, our goal is to try to help them get that in their homes, or in places like Green House [homes]," so they can age" with dignity and independence."

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More than 5 million people in America currently have some form of dementia, a number expected to rise to 13.8 million by 2050."   As Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging, US Department of Health and Human Services, says, "The numbers capture our attention.  But it's the number one that captures our hearts. To most of us, dementia is about a loved one."  

While a large part of the work to date on dementia has been to find a cure, however there is a larger story to explore- one of improving the lives of those who have dementia and the people caring for them.  Generations, the quarterly journal of the American Society on Aging, devoted their Fall 2013 issue is devoted entirely to Person-Centered Care for people with dementia. 

By focusing this publication on Person-Centered Care, the importance of a holistic approach to dementia is highlighted. 


In the December print version of Long Term Living, an article by the Director of THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, David Farrell explores the new customer for Short Term Rehab and how The Green House model can meet their needs.


The customer for short-term rehabilitation is changing, and as the baby boomers continue to age, providers must adapt to meet the needs and desires of this influential demographic.  Long Term Living Magazine highlights one of these innovations, by demonstrating how rehabilitation thrives in a Green House setting.

This new patient is more empowered, more likely to question care decisions and seek alternate opinions, and generally be a more active participant in his or her care. The Boomer also expects to remain active, stimulated and social during recovery-not isolated and treated as frail. Given this significant shift in their consumer base, nursing homes must rethink their approach to short-term rehab (and long-term care, for that matter). Boomers will be seeking-and expecting-a lot of it in the coming years.

Director of The Green House Project, David Farrell, writes about this changing customer and the success of The Green House model to meet their needs by highlighting Leonard Florence Center for Living

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Sally Abrahms, an award winning writer on aging and baby boomers, sat down for an interview with Steve Moran of the Senior Housing Forum to discuss senior housing options. She lends her thoughts on the needs of the aging boomers and the desired housing communities (including Green House!) of the generation that is not "going to take aging lying down."


They refuse to accept today's traditional nursing homes. Rather than grow old in isolation, the Me Generation (which should be retitled the "We" Generation!) plans to do it together. That could mean aging in place with community support and services, sharing housing or moving into a Green House family-style nursing home.

When asked about the perfect senior housing community, she describes her dream home; "A good balance of privacy and social interaction, fabulous exercise facilities, first-rate medical care, a warm and responsive staff, and the ability to call the shots as much as possible." 

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When the Green House homes opened in California last fall, there were a number of people who were very happy to see that day come to fruition.  One person who was very pleased to see those doors open was Yolie Zepeda.


Yolie vividly recalls the words of her uncle after he was placed in a state funded nursing home after suffering from a number of health issues.  Her uncle told her that he felt so worthless at the facility, explaining that he could be sitting alone for endless hours in a soiled diaper.  He told her "they actually treat you worse than I'd ever treat a dog."



When was the last time you sent a handwritten letter? January 23rd marks National Handwriting Day. Appropriately, this is also the birthday of John Hancock.  This nationally recognized day began in 1977 to acknowledge the significance of handwriting throughout history.  The embrace of penmanship as a subject in schools has changed significantly since computers have become common in the classroom.


So what makes the art of handwriting so noteworthy today?

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"I deeply care about people and I like to work for causes that I believe in."  That's 

how Tara describes herself and working at The Green House Project allows her to do both.


She pursued a degree in International Affairs because she has a strong interest in international human rights work.  However, Tara recognizes that we have our own set of challenges within this country and is quick to identify the importance of deep, transformational change in the skilled nursing industry.  The Green House model provides the right environment for Elders, and she understands that the voice of Elder is central to a meaningful life.

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Mary Hopfner-Thomas
Rachel Scher McLean

Tara Cugelman-McMahon

Published monthly to share information with providers, elders and others about THE GREEN HOUSE® Project, a new and innovative approach to long-term, skilled nursing care. To learn more, visit www.thegreenhouseproject.org.

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Working in a Green House home or organization? Join the Green House Forum! For more information visit our Web site or email greenhouse@ncbcapitalimpact.org.