December 19, 2018

Partners in Redefining Aging across Massachusetts

Partners in Redefining Aging

JGS Lifecare and Chelsea Jewish Lifecare

Beyond simply caring for our elders, JGS Lifecare has been on a journey to redefine aging by providing personalized care in settings that feel like homes not hospitals, by creating meaningful experiences for our residents and by maximizing elderhood. We are proud to now be affiliated with Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (CJL), an organization with the same commitment.

Barry Berman, chief executive officer, and his son, Adam Berman, president, share their thoughts about moving our combined organizations forward in achieving these goals.

A Sound Partnership

Barry: I had been running assisted living and nursing home complexes for nearly a quarter of a century before experiencing a truly eye-opening event that forever changed how I would think about senior care.

I saw my mother, a dynamic and outgoing woman, in our nursing home recuperating after experiencing a massive stroke and pneumonia, and I could barely recognize her. She suddenly looked old and lifeless, and the transformation shocked me.

I knew then that we needed to completely upend how we care for our elderly and reimagine the institutional setting. My team and I embraced the Green House model of care, with its small households and dedicated staff, and set about creating the first urban Green House in the United States, the Leonard Florence Center for Living, which opened in 2010.

We continue to reimagine what life can be like for the elderly throughout our organization and across the country. We next adopted the Green House model in our legacy nursing home, Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home. And, we got rid of the central kitchens and nursing stations and created households that look and feel like real homes.

We look forward to making the same changes at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home through Phase II of Project Transformation, sharing our experiences and lessons learned to help transform the delivery of care at JGS to this progressive model.

Adam: Our vision is a world where high-quality, service-enriched care for seniors is available in every community and to every person. To realize that vision, we are determined to serve as an example and role model for other organizations.

We found a great partner in JGS Lifecare. Like Chelsea, the leaders at JGS recognized the importance of changing the fundamental dynamic of how we, as a society, care for our elders. This is demonstrated most literally in the design and construction of the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation, which follows the Green House model, as does our Leonard Florence Center.

Change Not Easy, But Necessary

Barry: These changes are not easy to make. Nursing homes have been run the same way for decades and are subject to many complex government regulations in order to qualify for government payments such as Medicare and Medicaid.

It’s often not feasible to rebuild a nursing home following the Green House model, but it is possible to come close, which is what we did in the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home and what we are working toward for the Leavitt Family Jewish Home.

Adam: Beyond changing the way we deliver care, we are changing the way we think about aging itself. Aging is often talked about as a decline, with both physical and cognitive limitations. We don’t think that way. We believe individuals can have some of their most meaningful experiences as they age, if given the opportunity.

Through CJL, we provide a continuum of post-acute and long-term care options for seniors and the severely disabled. We have three nursing homes, two assisted living residences, independent living, an adult day health program, a home health agency and a hospice agency.

JGS Lifecare’s campus of care includes a nursing home, short-term rehabilitation home, an assisted living residence, independent living, an adult day health program and a home health and hospice agency. Combined, we are now among the largest senior living nonprofits in Massachusetts.

The common synergy between the organizations will be the key to a long and successful relationship whose ultimate beneficiary is our senior population. We’re focused on making our communities across the state feel like home, with all our facilities benefiting from the Green House movement.