Options for the elderly who can’t live alone but can’t afford assisted living are few. Either expensive around-the-clock care at home or a nursing home are about it.
However, Bill Thomas, a Harvard-educated geriatrician, has helped create the Green House Project, a new model for long term care. Its name suggests a nurturing environment where elders can do well.
Founded in 2003, the Green House Project has spread to 27 states, says a story in the New York Times.
Residents, whose care is financed by Medicaid, Medicare or private funds, live in cottages with private rooms and baths. They are involved in food preparation and communal eating. They can eat when they want.
There are 167 Green House homes up and running, housing 1,735 residents. Another 108 homes are being developed.
“No one wants to live in a nursing home,” Dr. Thomas says in a new documentary, “Homes on the Range.”
Still, 1.5 million Americans now live in nursing homes. Thomas said he got the idea after he worked part-time in a nursing home in his 30s and thought that there had to be better way. He said he was struck by the tremendous loneliness of the residents in the home.
Elderly persons who have declined in many ways at nursing homes often come back to thrive when they move into Green Houses, the story says.