Hopes plan will be model - Catholic Courier

Hopes plan will be model

To the editor:

The October issue of “AARP Bulletin” describes a new concept in elder care. The Green House Project is an effort to replace traditional nursing homes with family-sized homes of 10 residents or fewer, each with private bedrooms, that center on the idea of healthy human development. Staff members blend the roles of caregiver, homemaker and friend.

The Green House in Tupelo, Mississippi is a single-story residence, painted cream with blue shutters. A tall picket fence encloses a tidy yard with wind chimes and beds of tomato plants and flowers. The living room has a fireplace, easy chairs and a sofa. Family photos decorate the bookshelves and the walls. A long wooden table in the dining area can seat a large family gathering. Residents join staff members on frequent outings to yard sales or to the mall.

Contrast all this with the typical nursing home, where residents slump in wheelchairs around a nurse’s station, and where meals are hectic affairs. These sterile institutions need to be infused with more intimate environments, where plants, pets and school children are also welcome.

Because Green Houses — with private rooms and direct care staff-to-resident ratios double that of traditional nursing homes — streamline jobs and shift resources, operating costs are similar to traditional nursing homes.

Twenty facilities around the country plan to build Green Houses. Hopefully, the Green House concept will become popular throughout New York state.

Mary J. Caruso

Wilson Street


(Ms. Caruso serves on the nursing home staffing committee of the Long Term Care Community Coalition.)

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