Is a nursing home the only option for American seniors for whom assisted living is no longer affordable or suitable? The New York Times poses the question this week in a column by Jane Brody, who explores the rise of the Green House model of care as an alternative to traditional nursing homes.
The Green House project, co-founded by Dr. Bill Thomas in 2003, has risen of late in adoption across 39 organizations in 27 states. Resting on a home-like model where residents live in cottages with private rooms and private baths, but shared spaces such as kitchens and dining rooms, the model is now home to 1,735 people nationwide, the NY Times reports. Care is provided by nursing professionals, and others, who wear street clothes rather than uniforms.
Dr. Thomas participated in a new documentary, “Homes on the Range,” in which he describes the limited options available to people who require health care or daily assistance in their later years.
“Currently, 1.5 million Americans reside in nursing homes where they are often treated more like patients than residents,” the New York Times writes. “Despite the explosive expansion of nursing homes — to a current total of 16,100 — few older people want to live in one. And few family members would choose, if they had a choice, to place a beloved relative in one. The common belief is that nursing homes are depressing places where old people go to die.”
Participants such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are providing support for the project, NY Times writes, and many are seeing results.
“People who were in wheelchairs are walking again. People who weren’t eating real food are eating again. People who weren’t talking are talking again. People who were losing weight no matter what we did are gaining weight,” Green House co-founder Steve McAlilly of Mississippi Methodist Senior Service told the Times.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker