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Book may influence style of new Livingston nursing home

Book may influence style of new Livingston nursing home

County board reads 'Life Worth Living'

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PONTIAC ­ A 208-page book may give an inside look into a new style of nursing home officials are considering building in Livingston County.

"Life Worth Living" by William H. Thomas details how to enhance life in a nursing home and how to eliminate problems with loneliness and boredom among residents.

All the members of the county board received a copy of the book at the request of board member Frank Deninger. He said the book helped him to get a better idea of what "green houses," an alternative style of nursing home, are like.

Officials had hoped to tour an existing green nursing home in Tupelo, Miss., but it is dealing with hurricane damage and had relocated patients.

While most nursing homes are like hospitals, the Green House Project in Tupelo creates a home-like environment to care for people needing long-term and other types of care. Instead of one large building, eight to 10 residents live in a house with private rooms and bathrooms and a common living room and kitchen.

The green house style is also known as the Eden Alternative.

The county is planning to replace the existing, 120-bed Livingston Manor nursing home, which dates to the 1950s. A new location has yet to be decided.

Deninger said he learned a lot about the green house facilities by reading the book.

"After reading this book, we (the county board) can all be on the same wave length," he said. "We can all be better informed and have more answers and questions."

Richard Bracken, Livingston Manor administrator, said he is working on having employees from the Tupelo facility come to Livingston County to talk about what the green houses are like.

He said the meetings will be open to the public, and hopes county residents hear the presentation.

"It's a whole new concept that makes life more relaxing," Bracken said. "Residents can do what they want to do without dictation."

If the county builds a green house, it would be the only nursing home of its kind in Illinois. The facility has not been formally endorsed by the county or board.

Thomas, the book's author, came to the county earlier this year. His book talks about the lifestyle, animals in the facilities and administrator and employee roles.

Officials say the green house style of elderly care is a growing trend.


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