Parade magazine had a recent article on The Green House Project that has gained a lot of needed attention on elder housing trends. Innovations and changes to the way long-term care “facilities” look, feel and operate are long past due. Perhaps it’s the new wave of elders that’s promoting the change, their families, or savvy business owners looking for a marketing edge. Innovations are not limited to The Green House Project, but that project is largely the brainchild of Dr. Bill Thomas.
The intent here is to “de-institutionalize” long-term care settings. Don’t like regimented meal times? Don’t like the thought of CNAs and PCAs running around in uniform, racing through resident showers, and shuffling people to activities? Don’t like how some facilities feel a lot more like a hospital than a home? I don’t blame you. The Green House Project is promoting an alternative. Read from their web site:
The Green House model creates a small intentional community for a group of elders and staff. It is a place that focuses on life, and its heart is found in the relationships that flourish there. A radical departure from traditional skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities, The Green House model alters facility size, interior design, staffing patterns, and methods of delivering skilled professional services. Its primary purpose is to serve as a place where elders can receive assistance and support with activities of daily living and clinical care, without the assistance and care becoming the focus of their existence.
Those are lofty words that sound good, but what do they really mean? Let’s get a little more specific:
- Housing for 6-10 elders, not 60-100
- It looks like a home inside and out, not an institution or dormitory
- Meals are served when YOU are hungry, not when management determines meal time
- Each resident has a private bedroom and bath
- Lots of sunlight and access to outdoor spaces
Fortunately, I’ve seen a number of elder homes taking on these characteristics whether they’re classified as “green” or not. The bullets above are becoming incorporated in many facilities, because 1) it’s the right thing to do, 2) the next generation of elders will demand it, and 3) it makes good business sense.