The January meeting for the Harisonburg Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Aging in Place Round Table was a little different from our typical meetings. Our meeting started with introductions around the room, and then Regina Schweitzer did her membership spotlight. She highlighted her 20 years of experience at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community and the services offered at their facility. She then handed the meeting off to Melissa Fortner who presented VMRC’s newest project – Woodland Park, a Green House Home project.
Green House is a 24 hour assisted care facility with an innovative approach that is changing the industry. This new approach comes out of a rejection of institutionalized long-term care. As you probably agree with, people want to live in their own home with private accommodations. This has been seen in the hospital industry as more and more rooms are now private. Adding to the need for this new model, 50% of all people 65 years and older will spend some of their remaining years in need of nursing care.
The Green House model is a national, proven model that brings together architecture, staff training, and best practices into a comfortable living environment. Started in early 2000, there are now 144 Green House Homes in 23 states. This unique delivery model focuses on relationships that empower the staff, patients, and family in a warm, smart, green environment. The homes have 10 private rooms with baths for the patients. There is the hearth room which includes a living room, open kitchen, and dining area. There many Universal Design features built into every aspect of the homes.
Research shows that elders living in this type of environment enjoy a greater sense of dignity, autonomy, and freedom. They have seen many examples of stronger relationships between residents and staff, more enjoyment of food, higher emotional well-being, more activity among residents, and lower prevalence of depression. The staff in these facilities feel empowered, have a greater rate of job satisfaction, are more likely to remain at the facility, and know their residents better. To families, these homes feel more like home making it easier to visit.
After our Education session, our groups had a chance to visit the homes and see first-hand the differences. These 10 resident facilities are beautifully done and clearly will be in high demand. Here are some pictures from our tour. More pics here.
The Harrisonburg Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Aging in Place Round Table meets monthly on the third Friday of the month from 9:00 am – 10:30 am. Our mission is to provide education about services that support our aging population, a forum for discussion, and an opportunity to form lasting relationships. The Aging in Place Roundtable is a place where care givers, care receivers and organizations serving senior citizens in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area can share information, collaborate, and enjoy fellowship and inspiration with each other. Meetings are free and open to everyone. If you would like to join our Rountable, please attend 3 meetings within 6 months, pay membership dues to the HR Chamber, and complete a member spotlight.Consumers over 55 not associated with a business or organization are always free to attend our meetings.