Help Decide the Future of Aging. Join the White House’s Live Stream Today From Seattle. Learn more



Introducing RealPad

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

Celebrate Black Life, History, and Culture!



You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation



Renew for 3 and attend Life at 50+ for free



Life at 50+ - Discover. Engage. Enjoy.





Life at 50+ - Register for the Digital Experience



Happy African American couple







AARP Auto Buying Program



AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy






Military and Veterans Discount




New Book

Dating After 50: How to get back in the game

Dating After 50 For Dummies

Contests and

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules


Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.


Home & Community Webinars

Family & Caregiving Webinars

Popular Articles



AARP Games - Play Now!

Poll: Are You a Real Techie?


Non-Traditional Nursing Homes

State policy changes could create more

Sharla Lee plays the piano at the Sagecrest Alzheimer’s Care Center in San Angelo.

Sharla Lee, 87, plays the piano at the Sagecrest Alzheimer’s Care Center in San Angelo. AARP Texas wants state officials to offer developers incentives to construct more Green House Project facilities. — Photo by Brandon Thibodeaux

Sharla Lee, 87, plays Debussy by heart. No one would guess that she has dementia as she performs "Clair de Lune" for the residents of the Sagecrest Alzheimer's Care Center in San Angelo.

Lee, a former professional pianist, brought her piano with her when she moved in four years ago. She gives impromptu concerts daily in the living room and can usually manage requests if someone hums a bar.

See also: Assessing housing options.

Part of the Sagecrest complex includes two homes with 10 residents apiece, private rooms and around-the-clock certified nursing assistants who receive additional training in areas such as culinary arts and activity planning. Each house has two nursing assistants per shift; a nurse is on-site and available 24 hours a day.

The open-concept kitchen where residents share meals and the framed photos of each of them on the fireplace mantel evoke a condo clubhouse rather than a nursing ward for people with dementia.

"If she were in a traditional nursing home, I'd be beside myself," said Lee's sister, Shirley Alford, 82, of San Angelo. "You just breathe a sigh of relief when you leave there. The level of care is unbelievable."

The two Sagecrest homes are part of the Green House Project, an innovative model for long-term care with open or planned facilities in 27 states.

AARP, other advocates for older people and health care researchers say the Green House Project approach to nursing home care provides more attention for residents; results in less depression; leads to fewer hospitalizations and bed sores; and is a factor in less staff turnover than traditional nursing homes.

"At a [typical] nursing home there is rushing," said Lupe Hernandez, a nursing assistant at Sagecrest. "Here you have a more personal relationship with the elders. You have more time to talk."

Next: Problems handled before they escalate. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Personalization Universe Member Benefits Discounts

Members can save 20% on customized gifts at Personalization Universe.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.


This program is supported by a generous grant from Toyota to AARP Foundation.

*Upon completion, you may be eligible to receive an auto insurance discount. Other restrictions apply.

Consult your agent for details.