Re: Greenhouse and Eden Alternative
From: Fred-List manager (
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 05:10:40 -0800 (PST)
Beth Baker <bethbaker [at]>
To: cohousing-l [at]
Re: [C-L]_ Greenhouse and Eden Alternative
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
after deleting several quoted messages and combining two posts
(the ferts sent prematurely).

Please delete quoted material not speciically needed for contest,
particularly when the quote has a quote of previoouse message
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--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
I've been following the various threads relating to aging with great
interest.  As a journalist who has covered aging issues for 20+ years,
I'm really pleased to see cohousing exploring all this. My earlier
book, Old Age in a New Age looked at the movement to re-create nursing
homes, including the Green House.  My more recent book, With a Little
Help from Our Friends, looks at grassroots alternatives to traditional
retirement communities or to living alone, and I include a chapter on
co-housing, of course.

The Green House is more than just a small, homey setting--it involves
radically changing the hierarchal staff structure in a nursing home.
In the Green House, specially-trained aides run the home on behalf of
the elders, with nurses, docs and therapists bringing their services
to the home.  The aide's goal is transformed from a checklist of tasks
(so many baths, so many meals) to essentially challenging themselves
to make each elder's life as pleasant and meaningful as possible.
It's a wonderful model and the research on it is very promising.  A
key thing to be aware of is that Green Houses were created as a way to
serve everyone, including those who aren't wealthy, i.e. they take
people on Medicaid.  Which is great, except that also means that Green
Houses must meet all the regulations of a regular nursing home.  For
that reason, almost all of them are operated by nonprofit retirement
communities as add-ons to their campus.  To my knowledge, only
Sheridan, Wyoming, has a community-owned, unaffiliated nursing home
(which is documented in the 2015 film Homes on the Range).

To the best of my knowledge, ... [send hit by mistake, continued:]

Sorry to be so long-winded.  I just want to conclude by saying an
alternative would be to create a small-house assisted living model
that would offer many similar services, but not require the same
degree of regulation.  A lot of it depends on the income level of your
members.  If you don't want to be covered by Medicaid, it will likely
be very expensive for folks to live there. But there may also be
creative ways to re-invent all this.  I'd be happy to continue
discussing this at any time.


Beth Baker
12 Sherman Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301)270-8969 (office)
(301)537-1597 (cell)
bethbaker [at]

Author, With a Little Help from Our Friends--Creating Community as We
Grow Older (Vanderbilt University Press, May 2014)

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