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A Look at Tomorrow’s Older America

Published on: Jan 13 2017

Politico.com has an interesting package of articles on the aging of America. Unlike other reports, it doesn’t spend a lot of time on the statistics showing the average age of the population is getting older and that is going to increase in coming decades. Instead, it has articles on several innovations for helping older people that might catch one. There’s an article on different ways technology might help, such as monitoring whether there is movement in the living unit of an older person living alone. There’s another on an innovative type of nursing home, and another on ways to change Medicare so older people spend less time in hospitals. Plus other articles.

You probably have a picture of a nursing home in your head: It’s a hospital-like institution, maybe a little smelly, with long hallways, old people slumped around a large nurse’s station, harried staff and a set schedule that residents — perhaps 200 or more — must abide by. The Green House is designed specifically to blow up that model, starting with the number of people who live in it: 10.

Resident choice and autonomy, a homey environment, and well-trained and invested staff are hallmarks of the Green House and similar models that are slowly and fundamentally changing long-term care for Americans who otherwise could be forced into traditional nursing homes. Thomas, a maverick geriatrician, tried for years to improve nursing homes. He finally determined the institutions were so broken that it was better to start from scratch. The Green House is the result.

 

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