By Ina Hoffman, Director of Admissions, Leonard Florence Center
Since the Leonard Florence Center for Living opened more than five years ago, there have been hundreds of inquiries, many asking “What is a Green House®?” Contrary to sounding environmental, the Green House® Project is actually a philosophy that encourages emotional growth. It includes:
- Creating small homes
- Honoring autonomy and choice
- Providing privacy
- Promoting maximal functional independence
- Facilitating physical comfort
In order to be certified as a Green House®, there are certain requirements that have to be met. These include:
- A new building
- All private rooms including private bathrooms
- Large homes (approximately 7,000 square feet)
- An outdoor space in each home (screened-in porches)
- Self-managed work teams
In keeping with the philosophy, the Leonard Florence Center builds intentional communities. The residents and staff form a bond that resembles a family unit. This is encouraged through meals together in what is referred to as “convivium”. The residents also share the common area of the home, have access to a communal gathering space on the lobby level and enjoy the comfort of their own private rooms.
Each morning when residents awake, breakfast is made for them right in their home. In keeping with the lingo of the Green House® philosophy, a certified nursing assistant is called a shahbaz (plural shahbazim). It is a Persian word meaning “royal falcon”. These staff members provide care to our residents as well as perform housekeeping, laundry and cooking tasks.
The Leonard Florence Center has the distinction of being the first urban model Green House® in the country. Since there was not adequate space for single-family homes, the Leonard Florence Center was built upwards, consisting of five floors; two homes on each floor. With 10 residents in each home, there are a total of 100 residents living in the Green House®. The Leonard Florence Center continues to be a role model for the mission of the Green House® philosophy, and most importantly, this environment allows our residents to thrive. It is a win-win for everyone!