Globe Local


Chelsea center marks 10 years of caring for patients with ALS and multiple sclerosis

A Chelsea skilled nursing facility that includes specialized housing for people with ALS and multiple sclerosis recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

When it was founded in 2010, the Leonard Florence Center for Living was the nation’s first urban “Green House” skilled nursing residence serving people with ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – and multiple sclerosis.

The Green House model offers a homey environment free of the institutional features of a traditional nursing home. Today the center cares for more people with ALS than any facility in the world, according to Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, the nonprofit that operates the center.


The facility has 100 private rooms, 30 of them devoted to individuals living with ALS and MS. Residents and family members joined center staff and officials from Chelsea Jewish Lifecare at the recent celebration.

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“From the very beginning, our goal was to provide the best possible care to seniors and those living with debilitating conditions,” Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, said in a statement. “Living in a residence that offers all the amenities of a real home, supported by a caring and compassionate staff, greatly enhances one’s quality of life.”

The center features a kitchen, a dining room, and a living room with a fireplace for every 10 rooms. Residents have choices of what they eat – and when they eat it. Gathering spaces include a New York style deli, a salon, a spa, a chapel, a café, a bakery, a library, and a landscaped outdoor patio.

Through specialized technology, ALS and MS residents are given a measure of independence. With the help of a computer and a sensor that tracks their head and eye movements, they can control lights, turn on the television, call for the elevator, open doors, and raise window shades.

John Laidler can be reached at