The first is called The Greenhouse Project. It's an international movement in humanising eldercare, but it was a small project in Wyoming that caught my eye. Green House Living for Sheridan (Wyoming) is about as far from a traditional nursing home as you could imagine, and the residents of Sheridan like it that way.
From the Green House Living for Sheridan website:We envision homes in every community where elders and others enjoy excellent quality of life and quality of care; where they, their families, and the staff engage in meaningful relationships built on equality, empowerment, and mutual respect; where people want to live and work; and where all are protected, sustained, and nurtured without regard to the ability to pay.
(Typical day: based on elders – eg. When people wake up, they can wake up whenever they want. They can have breakfast at 10am and choose whatever they want. They sit at a long table like a family.)
The second model of care I want to tell you about today is from the UK. U-SHED is a cooperative, a bit like AARP - each member pays the small amount of 4 Great Britain pounds to join and that money forms a fund to help seniors top up old age pensions and pay for basics that they need. It's a model based on seniors helping seniors.
From the website:
Stan Stearman is the founder/creator of U-SHED and he told me that UK municipal governments have begun to take a real interest in the project and are supporting it. The fund is already helping seniors become more connected to their communities while staying in their homes longer.
As family caregivers, we want our loved ones to have a good life. We want to support them, but we cannot do it alone, especially when their needs increase over time. Knowing that some communities are creatively rising to the challenge of helping families keep their senior loved ones safe, secure and happy is 'chicken soup for our caregiver souls'.
My book, The Caregivers' Living Room: Lessons I've Learned From a Life of Caregiving is available in Canada and the USA from all major booksellers.