Aging Options

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Will nursing homes go the way of the Dodo?

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Living…and dying is about choices.  You can choose to have a family, finish school, take a new job and retire in Florida…or not.  If you’re dying you can choose artificial resuscitation or give an order to not resuscitate.  And you can choose where you live and die.

For a lot of people that choice comes down to if I’m healthy, and able-bodied I’ll stay at home, if I need some help, I’ll move to assisted living, if I need a lot of help I’ll move to a nursing home or some other skilled care facility.  But the last few choices aren’t much different from one place to the next when it comes down to how it looks and how it looks is like an institution complete with institutional schedules, meals and atmosphere.

But a project called The Green House Project is slowly offering an alternative.  Twenty-four states have this alternative non-profit nursing home option.  More than 140 homes have been built and are in use and another 150 are in development.  No more than 12 people live in each Green House Project.  They each have their own bathroom because having your own bathroom isn’t a luxury according to David Farrell, the director of the Green House Project nationwide; they are a safety feature that controls the spread of disease.  Dr. Bill Thomas came up with the idea for the Green House Project as an idea to abolish the nursing home.

Here’s an NPR story on The Green House Project and here’s a link to the Green House Project’s national organization.

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