One question that is always asked when someone new comes to The Village is “What in the world is a Shahbaz?“ The story is long so I will try and summarize, but it is definitely one of my favorite things to explain. The Green House Project founder, Dr. Bill Thomas, penned the legend in his book What are old people for? Which explains about a king and his falcon named Shahbaz.
There once was a king who tried to rule the kingdom like his father before him, being a ruler of the people. The king, sadly, became less of that man and lost his way. The king spent his time scheming with his ministers, staying up all night partying, and neglecting his flock. Shahbaz, his trusty falcon, saw this behavior and became disappointed. Every night the king would take Shahbaz out to hunt game for their nightly feast. One evening Shahbaz noticed that one of the king’s people had gotten far off the path after being chased by thieves. Shahbaz’s heart swelled with compassion for the man. She protected the man from a mountain lion that was on the hunt, as well. After a fight with the mountain lion Shahbaz was weary and tired, returning without her nightly catch. The king was furious and tried again the following evening. Shahbaz, being the caring creature she was, flew back to the area she had found the man previously and noticed he had gotten himself even more lost. Shahbaz again beamed with compassion for the man. She gave him water, captured food for him, and with her beak started a fire. She did what she could to protect, sustain, and nurture the man. She returned to the king once more empty handed. Again the king was furious and did not feed her dinner. After this Shahbaz thought enough was enough and with anger and disappointment fueling her, she found the will to speak and told the king just how lost he had become. After hearing what the creature he trusted so much had to say, the king decided to change his way and became a Royal Falcon Trainer. He had many falcons that would fly over his kingdom to watch over his loyal flock of commoners. The foul were named after the original: Shahbaz.
The main goal and purpose of these birds were to Protect, Sustain, and Nurture the people of his kingdom. That is the goal of our Shahbazim here in our kingdom that we call The Village. They aren’t just here to make sure your loved one has help up if they fall in the dark of night. They are here to help your loved one flourish through the trying times of aging. Sadly, most facilities function on such a high staff to Elder ratio that the opportunity to have one on one time is rare. In The Village we pride ourselves on the ability to give our Elders the care needed, not just clinically, but mentally and emotionally, to sustain the quality of life they would have had in their home. Furthermore, speaking as someone who has spent their whole adult life working in the health care field of NW Arkansas, we are VERY blessed with a team of Shahbazim that go above and beyond to care for Elders on every level possible. You would be hard pressed to walk into one of our homes and not feel the over pouring amounts of love, compassion, and respect that our Shahbaz have for our Elders. I have never been so proud to be a part of a team as I am here at Legacy.
So, THANK YOU! to all of our team. Thank you for all you do, thank you for who you are, and thank you for all you make The Village. We could not be here or do the things we do without you.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining our great team, you can find a downloadable version of our application by clicking on the "about page" of our website or you can stop by our office to pick one up.
I am sure there are many of us who know the story of The Green House Project® and how Dr. Bill Thomas had a vision for creating communities that gave our Elders meaningful life, our Shahbazim the ability to be empowered as staff, and making the health care environment a real home instead of institutional. While Legacy Village Assisted Living might have times of transition, I do believe we are making great strides to norming in the general vicinity of the original vision Dr. Thomas had.
Growing up I was always told that caring for someone took a village. Whether it was raising a child or caring for the Elderly in the family. It took a village to make sure all the needs of someone who could not care for themselves, were met. Miraculously, I feel that Legacy Village has that to offer, just as our name states; we are a village. I have had many conversations with family members that had reservations about moving their loved one from their home to a care facility; to which my reply is always: We are not a care facility. We are a home, a community, and a family. We are their home. Our Shahbazim and other staff are here to care for your loved one in their own environment. This concept and mind set is what helps our Elders average a longer stay in our community. Legacy Village Assisted Living Green House Homes (say that 5 times fast!) opened its doors in 2009 and some of our original Elders who were first to move in, are still here in 2016! In seven years, some of our Elders maintained a physical and mental status that allowed them to remain in assisted living level 2, to remain in their homes! The national average, according to the American Senior Housing Association, is 2.9 years.
We would love for our Elders to live out their lives here and we hope that we could provide them with end of life care, which is not always possible. However, we strive to care for someone absolutely as long as we can within the scope of Assisted Living Level 2 care will allow us to. So while I may be completely biased, my heart swells with admiration when I get to introduce someone to The Village and the concept behind The Green House Project. I tell them how each of our houses has its own personality, how our Shahbazim are some of the best caregivers in NW Arkansas, our Elders and their families typically fall in love with the smaller and intentional communities. I could go on and on about all the things that makes Legacy Village Assisted Living great to me, but it’s better when you see it for yourself.
To schedule a tour call or email Rodney today: (479) 271-2387 or Rodney@LegacyVillageArkansas.org