TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – 9-year old Emma Reid is handing out cards her Girl Scout troop made to residents of the Simerson House.
“It feels good to see them to be happy when they see my face,” Reid said.
The Simerson House is one of 10 Green House Homes in the Traceway Retirement Community. In the spring of 2003, Methodist Senior Services constructed the first Green House on this campus. The concept is meant to institutionalize nursing home life and provide an environment where residents can enjoy meaningful activities.
Each home accommodates 10 to 12 residents, or elders, with a private room and bath for each. A specially trained caregiver, who is also a Certified Nursing Assistant provides support and leadership .
“We’re serving older adults in the spirit of Christian love,” said Tarlyn Gates, Green House guide.
Tarlyn Gates has been serving at the Green Houses since it opened a decade ago. She believes the concept is successful because of its focus on relationship, honor and respect.
“This actually puts the home on the forefront. There is a clinical aspect, but it is not the forefront of what we do, we want this to feel like people’s homes, not just for elders, but for our staff also,” Gates said.
Martha Dove has lived at the Simerson House for four years and says the Green House concept offers much more than a traditional nursing home.
“We can entertain out here in the lobby or go back to our room, watch TV, or take a nap or go outside , I wouldn’t have it no other way. Sometimes we go bowling, go out to eat, to movies, they keep us busy,” Dove said.
Ten years ago this was a grand experiment, unchartered waters, now the Traceway Green Houses have inspired many across the country. There are 146 Green Houses nationwide, experts say it’s helping change the way people age in longterm care in America.