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A new model for aged-care

A new study has concluded that, while it is not perfect, an American nursing home’s revolutionary approach to aged care has a number of health and lifestyle benefits.

Named Green House Homes, the residences now exist in several states in the US, and were founded by Dr. Bill Thomas.

Dr Thomas, a Harvard-educated geriatrician, found that loneliness and isolation were major problems in aged-care, and sought to improve the lives of senior citizens by introducing a more personal model.   

Each home houses just 10 residents, mitigating the complications that can arise in other homes where staff are overworked, more at risk of making mistakes and creating an environment where residents feel neglected and isolated. Furthermore, they foster close relationships between staff and residents, allowing carers to better anticipate the needs of residents and to detect health problems early on. 

The personal approach is present in every aspect of the homes, which do not operate according to a strict dining schedule, allowing residents to eat home cooked meals at their leisure.

Recently, a team of researchers conducted a longitudinal study, using nine years of data to see if the model translated into tangible benefits. The results were promising. “Compared to traditional nursing homes, no doubt about it,” head researcher, Dr Zimmerman told the New York Times. “It’s a preferable model of care.”