In the news

New York Times

The Green House Effect: Homes for the Elderly to Thrive

By Jane E. Brody, The New York Times

For those who lack financial resources to pay for round-the-clock professional care at home, is the sterile, hospital-like environment of a nursing home the only option left?

Not if you ask Dr. Bill Thomas, a Harvard-educated geriatrician who helped create the Green House project, a new model for long-term care, its name suggesting a nurturing environment where elders and the frail can thrive. Read more here.



It’s Time to Leave Our Hyper Adulthood Behind

by Donna Sapolin, Next Avenue

I recently spoke with Dr. Bill Thomas, renowned geriatrician, author and mastermind of the Green House Project long-term care model (a more humane alternative to traditional nursing homes). His new book is Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life.

Read more here.

Stadium Place Green Houses in Baltimore

Move Over Nursing Homes — There’s Something Different

By Ina Jaffe, NPR

One thing just about everyone dreads as they age is the possibility of ending up in a nursing home. We all think we know what that’s like: sharing a room with strangers, sitting slumped in a wheelchair all day, rigid schedules, bad smells. And for more than 1 million Americans, this is home. But there’s an effort to change all that, and it’s known as The Green House Project.

Read more here.


Wall Street Journal

Rising Challenger Takes on Elder-Care System

By Lucette Lagnado, Wall Street Journal

PRINCTEON, N.J. — In the spring of 2001, Bill Thomas, dressed in his usual sweat shirt and Birkenstock sandals, entered the buttoned-down halls of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His message: Nursing homes need to be taken out of business. “It’s time to turn out the lights,” he declared.

Click here to download the full Wall Street Journal article exploring The Green House Project.

Dr. Bill Thomas

‘Superstar’ on aging

By Tanika White, The Baltimore Sun,

When it comes to aging issues, he has been called a visionary, a culture-changer and a prophet. And last week, he became simply Professor Thomas.

On Thursday, Thomas began teaching “Aging 100: You Say You Want a Revolution,” for freshmen at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Erickson School on Aging, Management and Policy.

Continue Reading

William Thomas is a leader in the online Changing Aging movement

Time to change nursing home model

By Patty Henetz, The Salt Lake Tribune,

With their roots in Dickensian workhouses and modeled on hospitals, nursing homes in many ways have earned the dread of old people, especially those who can still remember the stigma of America’s poorhouses and county homes.
“The terror people feel is real,” said geriatrician Bill Thomas, in Salt Lake City on Thursday to boost a new type of long-term care called the Eden Alternative.

Continue Reading

Harold Richards, 81, at the senior emergency room at Saint Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

Emergency Rooms Built With the Elderly in Mind

By Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian, The New York Times,

The drive to build senior E.R.’s is motivated in part by hospitals’ desire to find an edge in the increasingly competitive health care marketplace.
“When you talk about marketing hospitals, there’s a saying that kind of everybody knows, which is, ‘The emergency room is your hospital’s front door,’ ” said Dr. Bill Thomas, a geriatrician who helped open the first senior emergency room in the country. “Among the most vocal users of that front door, and the people who sometimes have the strongest opinions of that front door, are elders.”

Continue Reading

William Thomas | physician, farmer
William Thomas | physician, farmer

The Greening of Aging

William Thomas | physician, farmer

By Caroline Hsu, U.S. News and World Report

It’s summer in upstate New York, the sun is shining, and it’s time to make hay. Bill Thomas, medical doctor, gentleman farmer, and deep thinker, heads out to take the year’s first cutting. His is a “mixed power” farm, which means that the tractor shares the load with a pair of massive 1-ton workhorses. Thomas takes the reins, clucks his tongue, and sets out across the field.

Continue Reading

Brenda Rayner with her mother, Barbara Rayner, at Holy Cross Hospital.

Serenity In Emergencies

By Beth Baker, The Washington Post,

“They’re actually structuring acute emergency services around the needs of the people they’re taking care of, rather than forcing older people to conform to the operations of the hospital,” said geriatrician William H. Thomas, a professor of aging studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Erickson School who helped the hospital design the new area.

Continue Reading

Dr. James Del Vecchio is medical director of the emergency department at Holy Cross Hospital

An Emergency Room Built Specially For Seniors

By Joseph Shapiro, NPR Morning Edition,

Only infants go to the emergency department at a higher rate than people 75 and older, according to a recent federal government survey. For years, many hospitals have set up separate emergency rooms just for kids. Now, Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., has set up an ER specifically for patients 65 and older.

Continue Reading

Cohoes, N.Y. Green House
Cohoes, N.Y. Green House

Where To Live As We Age

By Susan Fine, Parade Magazine,

Geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas, a professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, created The Green House Project with the hope of revolutionizing eldercare. In 2001, he wandered into the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wearing a sweatshirt and Birkenstocks and shared his vision. The foundation was so impressed by his ideas it agreed to support a pilot program.

Continue Reading

AARP’s Guide to Pills

The Early Show on CBS

Geriatrician Dr. William Thomas discusses the “AARP Guide To Pills,” which is a new reference book to help educate seniors on hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Dr. Bill Thomas
Dr. Bill Thomas

New age of enlightenment

By Mark Gould, The Guardian,

Bill Thomas, the charismatic head of a global organisation dedicated to transforming care homes, tells Mark Gould what set him on his mission to eliminate the loneliness, helplessness and boredom that so often blights later life.

Continue Reading


Mark, a "shahbaz," or caretaker, and elder Kent
Mark, a “shahbaz,” or caretaker, and elder Kent

Green House Projects Let Elders Age In Homes

Talk of the Nation with Neal Conan, April 2, 2009

· In the first program of our ‘What Works’ series, we take a look at nursing homes.

Dr. Bill Thomas spent some time in traditional, institutional nursing homes, and he didn’t like what he saw. In an interview with NPR’s Joe Shapiro in 2005, he remarked, “I believe that in the nursing home every year, thousands and thousands of people die of a broken heart. They die not so much because their organs fail, but because their grip on life has failed.”

Continue Reading

Green House
A place to call home

‘Green House’ Nursing Homes Expand as Communities Reinvent Elder Care

By Susan Dentzer, PBS News Hour

Susan Dentzer reports on the “green houses” project, which seeks to reinvent traditional nursing home care and create close-knit communities of patients and caregivers.

Streaming Video