About Our Specialized Residences

The First Urban Green House® Skilled Nursing Facility in the Country

Overlooking scenic Boston Harbor, the Leonard Florence Center consists of ten 7,000-square-foot condo-style “homes” on six floors. What’s so unique about this residence is its innovative technology, caring and compassionate staff, and the first-class amenities of a five-star resort. Residents who are completely immobilized are able to control the lights, turn on the TV, call for the elevator, open doors and raise window shades – with small movements of their eyes -- or, for some, using brain waves. They have the ability to move freely around the center or the outdoor areas whenever they want, socializing and living life as independently as possible.

The Green House Difference
Each Green House home is designed from the bottom up to look and feel like a real home with spacious private rooms/bathrooms, kitchens on every floor, spa, café and deli. Residents set their own daily routines: getting up when they choose, eating meals where and when they want, participating in lectures, classes and recreational activities.

Residents live together in a home like setting, with their own private room. They are cared for by nursing staffers known as “shahbazim.” A Shahbaz is a certified nurse assistant who receives additional education and training to support the residents. These individuals also provide light housekeeping, personal laundry, and meal preparation in the home. In the context of a skilled nursing residence, “green” in this case means living in a natural world, with an abundance of sunlight, greenery and outdoor access. The Leonard Florence Center reflects this innovative model. The Green House environment, a truly revolutionary concept in nursing home care, fosters a wonderful sense of community and family within the home. There are no nurse’s stations or medical carts; the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. With shahbazim preparing food much of the day, the homes are filled with the delicious aromas of freshly prepared foods. Coffee, tea and snacks are provided at each resident’s preferred times throughout the day. Residents rise when they want, eat when they want and plan their own schedules. It’s just like living at home except here you are also getting the very best care, stimulating social and recreational activities and a staff who will quickly seem like family.

A Vision Comes True

In the spring of 2007, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare embarked upon a new project that would improve the lives of individuals and families not just in the greater Boston area but across the nation as well. The story is one of inspiration, vision – and fate.

Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, became interested in the theory and implementation of the Green House® model concept for long-term care. Such facilities had only been built in the Midwest, where large stretches of flat land were in greater supply than in cities. Believing in his organization’s mission and confident that such a model could be built in Chelsea, Berman researched the concept and met with experts in the Green House model concept to determine if it a Green House model facility could actually be created in an urban setting.

Through a purely chance meeting, Barry Berman met Steve Saling, a landscape architect from Atlanta, at an ALS conference. Saling had recently been diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative motor neuron disease. The two conversed about the disease and the urgency for more research and improved care. From this fortuitous meeting, Berman was inspired to create the nation’s first urban model Green House that would include the nation’s first specialized ALS residence. Steve Saling was the driving force in its design as well as well integrating the technology into the building. Since it’s opening in 2010, the Center has been widely recognized throughout the world as an innovative model of care for seniors and people with disabilities.