MAMARONECK, N.Y. – The way the world thinks about elderly care is changing, and the Sarah Neuman Center in Mamaroneck strives to be part of the innovative philosophies spearheaded by others.
For more than a decade, Sarah Neuman Board Chair Lisa Feiner has been finding ways to make living conditions at the center more home-like for residents. Instead of having food delivered on trays, residents can enjoy meals in a common dining room. An outdoor patio gives residents the opportunity to enjoy barbeques while overlooking the garden. Common areas allow residents to come together for mass, dinner parties and shows.
Now, Feiner is excited to announce that the Sarah Neuman Center is completely over-hauling its space to incorporate what is called a Green House model, in which the facilities are designed and operated as small, multi-person households with full kitchens, personal bathrooms, reading nooks and more home-like features.
“It’s really the newest and best idea going forward in creating houses and homes for the elderly,” said Feiner. “I’ve been to a Green House, and it’s so much more welcoming and homey.”
The current pavilion building will be transformed into five small “houses.” Each house will hold 12 to 13 residents sharing bedrooms, and will have a community living area, a full-kitchen and individual bathrooms. A brand new two-story Green House building will have two “houses” serving a total of 24 residents, 12 in each home. These residents will have their own private rooms and bathrooms.
“It’s a win-win for everyone. The residents are happier, the care givers are happier and even the visitors will enjoy spending more time here,” said Feiner.
Feiner and Jeanette Cohen, marketing manager and community liaison, believe the largest benefit of the Green House model is the autonomy it gives the residents and staff. The staff, which will be assigned to specific houses, will get to spend more time with their residents allowing them to form relationships and bonds with the elders in their care.
“This type of setting empowers the staff and allows them to make their own decisions where before they could not,” said Cohen.
Each residence will even have its own doorbell. No more hallways and hospital rooms. No more dreariness. This is a brand new layout has proven to be a successful in New Jersey, Massachusetts and 32 other states. Work is scheduled to start by the end of this month.