HISTORY OF CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH ELDER CARE
Calvary Baptist Church’s ministry to seniors grew out of an aging population within our fellowship. In 1974 the median age of the congregation of Calvary Baptist Church was 62 years old. As we charted a new course for the ministry that included a school, one of the major commitments made was to not neglect our older adults. Rather, we would develop a plan that would meet the full spectrum of needs.
In 1989 Calvary Community opened its first fifty units of affordable housing to those who were 62 or older or mobility impaired. This was accomplished by receiving HUD Section 8 202 financing. In 1992 fifty eight additional units were added. This complex has had 100% occupancy since its opening and has touched hundreds of lives over these years.
As we ministered to and loved the elders, the aging in place process of their needs was ever increasing. The Gardens at Calvary became the answer to this need. The complex was opened in October 2000. The Gardens is an assisted living facility licensed by the State of Georgia for 100 residents. It has 77 units with six apartment options. In 2007 The Gardens received the prestitious five-star rating from the Department of Human Resources. The full range of needs is provided to assist our elders whose level of care has increased beyond the ability to live independently. While many of the elders are active and vibrant individuals, there are some with needs we are able to meet and assist them to enhance this season of life.
Again as we cared for these elders, we saw an ever increasing need to care for those diagnosed with dementia and early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. In April 2007 we opened a revolutionary style of housing for memory care – The Green House®at Calvary. The Green House grew out of the Eden Alternative founded by Dr. Bill Thomas. He recognized that the current system of care for the elderly that was a medical model, by its very nature could not provide a home-like environment. As a result of his research, an entirely new approach to elder care was developed called The Green House Project®.
The Green House is a HOME for 10 elders. Each one has a private bedroom and bathroom. There is a common living area, kitchen and dining room. Every effort is made to insure no “medical model” or “institutional style” of care creeps into this house. Each employee is a universal worker who provides all the care of the elder. They are a self-directed team led by a Guide – or Director. There is always a one-to-five ratio in the house –two Caritas (caregivers) for ten elders. Elders are encouraged to participate as they are able to meet the needs of the home. This could mean being involved in meal planning and preparation or folding laundry. The Caritas, rather than being at the bottom of the organizational ladder, are elevated to a position of dignity and professionalism. Each Caritas has over 120 hours of specialized training to equp them in the Green House philosophy.
As we saw such an increasing need for specific memory care in our area, with 20 elders on our Green House waiting list, we decided to build a second memory care home. We broke ground in the fall of 2010 and opened June 2011. Within six weeks, The Green House at Calvary II reached 100% occupancy.
The Green House model de-institutionalizes long-term care by restoring individuals to a home in the community. Green House projects support the most positive elder-hood and work life possible while providing opportunities for meaningful engagements and relationships.
The Green House concept has spread to over 100 Green House homes operating on 43 campuses in 27 states. Managed by NCB Capital Impact, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Green House Project is helping organizations to replicate The Green House model in even more states. Green House homes can vary in size, physical design, amenities, and operational structure but all follow The Green House principals of creating intentional communities with high levels of care.
The Essence of The Green House at Calvary
The Green House at Calvary is a special intimate community designed to be “home.” There are just 10 private bedrooms, each with a full bathroom. The common area is centered around the hearth and is easily accessible from each bedroom. The kitchen adjoins the hearth and dining area further enhancing the concept of “home.” Just off of the common area is a gated attractive outdoor area affording the elders the opportunity to enjoy the privilege of God’s nature. All areas are visible from the hearth and kitchen areas providing protective oversight of all elders.
The Green House has been developed exclusively for those elders experiencing memory impairment and is staffed by specially trained universal workers who provide a wide range of assistance including personal care, activities, meal preparation and service, light housekeeping and laundry. A self-managed work team structure is used with the caregivers coached by and answerable to the Guide (administrator). Our caregivers are called Caritas – an empowering name given to them meaning to cherish, to appreciate, to give special attention to.
Anyone who is looking for a home for their loved one is invited to visit and experience the unique- ness of this place. Ring the door bell. One of our friendly Caritas will welcome you in.