Green House Design for Eldercare

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Design considerations in implementing the Green House concept in eldercare for continuing care retirement communities.


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Green House

The U.S. population is aging. In 2050, Americans aged 65 will number 83.7 million, almost double the elderly population in 2012. The baby boomer generation seeks a more dignified and affirming experience for its later years. The institutional feel of the “nursing home” our parents or grandparents may have spent time in is no longer considered acceptable. To respond to this aging population, the design for eldercare facilities must become increasingly compelling. Various eldercare design concepts have emerged over the past fifteen years, all providing an alternative to the institutional-type residential care setting for those seeking them, either by convenience or necessity.
The Green House is one promising concept. Founder Dr. Bill Thomas revolutionized the care of elders with the Eden Alternative, a non-profit network of communities dedicated to quality of life for seniors, from which the Green House Project evolved. The Green House is a “home-like residential care facility comprised of 10 to 12 single occupied units with full baths and all common areas to accommodate residents in a comfortable, homelike environment.”
The Green House is a home-like residential care facility comprised of 10 to 12 single occupied units with full baths and all common areas to accommodate residents in a comfortable, homelike environment.
The Green House small-house model of long-term care emphasizes the vitality, autonomy and dignity of elderly residents. Its founders and proponents believe this new model must be accompanied by cultural change which supports the privacy and security of the residents, gives them meaningful activities and allows them to function to the best of their ability.
The Green House concept works for a wide range of patients including those requiring special geriatric care, memory care and severe head trauma care. It is an especially effective environment for individuals with cognitive impairment. Persons with dementia or cognitive disabilities are better served in this very personal and open medical home model. The flexibility and tolerance of this model accommodates an assisted living population with diverse needs.

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