The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

Number 129

This issue:

The Green Revolution


Realize that with aging even the worst scenario can be better than you imagined.


I did some keynote speeches at the Fall Metropolitan Conference on Aging in Minneapolis last week. I received a note from Cathy Clairmont that she would pick me up at the airport. The stationery the note was on said English Rose Suites. I assumed that was the hotel. I learned, however, that the suites are a group of homes for seniors that need assistance--part of the smaller is better "green revolution" in services to seniors.

My mission is to help people live with purpose and live well into their hundreds. My role model is the Energizer Bunny, with alkaline batteries. He just keeps going and going. Alkaline batteries not only last longer, they maintain a constant energy level and then die quickly.

But I know that bad things happen to good people and some people develop diseases or disabilities that impair aging well. The prospect of spending years in a nursing home is very depressing.

In the 1970s I was busy with the "normalization" movement, getting people with mental retardation out of the institutions and living and working in the community. It was a wonderful, heady time seeing people with IQs of 50 set free from the institutions and living in group homes or supervised apartments and working in a wide variety of jobs. In the same era, similar good things were happening with institutionalized psychiatric patients.

Today there is a comparable revolution brewing for elderly people who have disabilities. The green revolution or Green House® projects provide an alternative to sterile nursing homes with their double occupancy rooms, bureaucracy, and unpalatable food. The vision comes from Dr. William Thomas and has start up funding from the Robert Woodcock Johnson Foundation. Dr. Thomas envisioned homes for 6-10 people with plants, pets, sunshine and even children. The staff, and when possible the residents, prepare the meals and all eat together. The movement isn't limited to Dr. Thomas' model. Home grown variations are popping up around the country. Online information includes:

Despite our population getting older and managed care sending many stroke and surgery patients to nursing homes for rehabilitation, the number of nursing home beds in the U.S. has not been growing nearly as fast as the aging population. Reasons include more people being healthier at older ages, assisted living and independent living alternatives, and in the future, the green revolution. The costs are roughly comparable to nursing home care. Besides helping seniors, the homes improve the morale of the staff. The movement received publicity from NPR, the October AARP Bulletin, and Congressional hearings.

My hope is that we all live very long, healthy, rewarding lives, and when we die we take a cue from the alkaline batteries. But if things don't work out that way, it's good to know there is an option of a good quality of life even with disabilities.


Creating a new old age will be the baby boomers' last act on the public stage.

~Green House visionary, Dr. William Thomas

Seniors who were in wheel chairs are walking, seniors who were not talking are talking, seniors who were not eating are eating....through something as simple as enabling Green House residents to smell the bacon cooking, the small pleasures of life are restored.

~Steve McAlilly, Director of the first Green House that was started in Tupelo, Kansas in 2003.

There's no place like home, There's no place like home, There's no place like home.

~Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz


A 99-year-old man went for his annual physical. A few days later his doctor saw him walking down the street with a gorgeous woman by his side. "You look like you're doing well," said the doctor. "I just followed your advice, "get a red hot mamma and be cheerful," said the gentleman. After a moment of silence the doctor said, "I said you have a heart murmur, be careful."

A man's home is his castle.

(In a manor of speaking.)

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"Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include:  Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips."

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