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2011-10-07 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


October 7, 2011  RSS feed
Senior Living

Text: T T T

The Green House Movement

By Jack M. Rosenkranz, J.D.

A new model of aging is emerging in elder care: the green house. Inspired by European models of elder care, green houses are described as self-contained large houses with private rooms and bathrooms for aging elders. The goal was to transform nursing homes into smaller settings of care. There are 12 or fewer residents in each house and most of the work is done in a non medical model of care. Residents get home-cooked meals, have communal spaces and access to a full kitchen. While nurses are still on staff in consulting and visiting capacities, the majority of care given is not medical in nature. A recent article in the Journal of Applied Gerontology found that elders living in green houses had higher levels of satisfaction than those living in traditional skilled nursing facilities. Furthermore, the caregiver working in the green houses experienced high levels of job satisfaction and lower turnover, both of which increase quality of care.

With 79 green houses, in 14 states, in the U.S. and 132 being constructed, this new way of aging is taking off. Dignity, personalization and custodial care become the center of care. These characteristics are why green houses have become so popular. However, until green houses become more popular, elders and their loved ones will need to learn how to put together what these houses are offering on their own. But, through health care advocacy they can learn. Elders and their families can create their own green house environments in their homes or they can seek them out in their communities. There are a number of options available, but they need to be able to navigate the market.

The Informed Elder Institute, Inc. encourages families to take more personal responsibility for their health care needs, in a system that may not be currently designed to meet all of their needs.

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