Boomer Authority™

Culture Change in Nursing Homes - Where's the Buzz???

So many of us boomers have been, are, or soon will be caregivers. In a few decades we will want assurance that nursing homes have evolved into places we would want to live. That evolution has begun, and it's being promoted by the Feds. How come most of us don't know about it? Here's some of the good news about it.

This movement is afoot in most states, bringing culture change to long-term care facilities. 26 states already have nursing homes constructed according to the Eden Alternative model, known as Green Houses. The movement comes under the banner of The Eden Alternative, The Greenhouse Project, Pioneer Network, or it comes as a grassroots movement happening in thousands of nursing homes in small and large ways. Ever heard of it? Here in New Hampshire, where I live, it is a quietly spreading grassroots conversation. Is that true in your state? We have only just started our NH Coalition for Culture Change. Does your state have a coalition?

This movement is happening across the country and in Europe. It improves the health of residents. (Residents with walkers have been known to give up their walkers. Some who have stopped speaking, begin to speak.) Ultimately, this brand of culture change increases the happiness and retention of staff, and costs less. But where's the buzz???

Despite our having so much at stake, there is relatively little concerted conversation happening. There's a conversation beginning on LinkedIn at the ChangingAging group, there's Dr. Bill Thomas' blog at, there are YouTube videos that will really warm your heart (search for Dr. Bill Thomas), and there's a gripping downloadable article "Culture Change Goes Mainstream" that gives data on the successes and cost effectiveness of culture change in nursing homes, at

Pass on the word. Let's get talking. Conversation creates change. If you have access to a nursing home, ask them about it. If they don't know about it, ask Why not? If you have friends who are caregivers, tell them about it. We all have an investment in this, as do our children and subsequent generations, doncha think?

Holly Whiteside
Caregivers Coach & Advocate
Author of "The Caregivers Compass"

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