The Green House Cottages of Walnut Ridge began a long-awaited, multi-phase opening this month as 12 elders were transferred smoothly and successfully to the new Green House community. A second cottage opened later in March, and a third cottage opening is planned for April.
Administrator Suzann Wilson hopes the cottages will improve morale and help with depression. She said the biggest challenge of the highly anticipated transition has been breaking the mindset people have of the traditional nursing home. Still, the community has persisted. As the opening neared, staff at the community individually assisted elders to move into their new homes. Snacks and cake were served so that elders could eat and visit, she said.
The look on elders’ faces as they settled into their new home has been especially satisfying, Wilson said. They commented on the beauty of the cottage and kept telling staff how much they love their new surroundings. Later, they sat together on the front porch laughing and talking.
Wilson says she is proud she has been able to provide a high quality of life for the elders in her care. The smile on elders’ faces and their excitement about their new home is proof positive that the long transition has been worth it.
One elder’s reaction to her new home is especially heart-warming and validating. Previously, this elder didn’t often come out of her room much. Wilson said she now comes to sit by the fireplace and enjoys curling up on the recliner.
The Green House Project feels a lot of naches for Walnut Ridge. Naches is a Yiddish word that means feeling joy, pride, or satisfaction in something. Change is hard, but the staff and management of Walnut Ridge have persevered through it all and are now slowly realizing the fruit of their labors. They deserve to be recognized — and emulated. Let’s take a page out of the Walnut Ridge book and strive to make needed changes so that more elders and caregivers can experience the delight of a charming, safe, and genial home.