The world of senior care is changing. Older adults are more involved than ever in making demands on how they want to spend their golden years. For most, this means living at home for as long as possible. But sometimes that level of independence isn’t possible. Chronic conditions, mobility issues and injuries force seniors to face the unthinkable - leaving their home for an institution.

Or so they think.

The traditional nursing home brings up images of cold, linoleum floors, dining rooms with dozens of wheelchairs, unpleasant odors and up to three residents per room with only a hospital hung sheet to divide their living spaces. It indeed is an institution and in my opinion, not the environment where those who built and defended our country should live at the end of their life.

So, I say “goodbye” to the nursing home and “hello” to re-definition. At Tabitha, we were the first in Nebraska and the 2nd in the nation to pioneer a revolution in senior living by opening a Green House Home. Green Houses step away from institution. (Learn how) They are real homes, ours are in real neighborhoods, even. They feature front porches, common dining rooms, a family kitchen and a hearth area. One resident per room here. There are no schedules, residents can get up when they want and choose how they want to spend their days.

In this environment, caregivers provide the same level of skilled care as in a traditional nursing home, but they also help fold laundry, prepare meals, have conversations and engage in activities. Home is the goal here and it’s working. Residents in these residential-style communities can see increased cognition and mobility. Overall, residents are happier and healthier than in an institution.

Since 2006, Tabitha has opened four Green House Homes then replicated the model for two residential-style end-of-life communities, another skilled nursing residential community and are in the process of building additional homes in Crete, Neb. All are homes to less than 20 residents (compared to dozens in a traditional nursing home) who live life on their own terms.

In any organization, thinking outside the box is key to success. Never has that been more true in serving the nation’s aging population. But are residential-style nursing homes really thinking outside the box or is it just common sense? At Tabitha, we believe in upholding the dignity and independence of older adults. Simply, we believe that the aging population should be able to choose how they want to live. Residential homes are the future and are becoming more and more affordable for those who are aging.

There’s no reason we ever have to leave home. Learn more about residential-style living communities