Would you like to live in Eden? A place where you were able to grow and harvest your own food. A place where you could play with exotic birds. A place where children’s’ laughter fills the air. Eden may be closer than your think.
Eden Alternative, is part of new group of facilities where focus is more on providing an elder-centered community than an warehouse for the frail and sick. Of course care needs to be the priority at all facilities, but putting a premium on quality of life makes for a far more enjoyable experience for residents.
Dr. William Thomas, the author of ‘Life Worth Living: How Someone You Love Can Still Enjoy Life in a Nursing Home,’ is the founder of Eden Alternative. In 1991 Dr. Thomas opened his first facility in New Berlin, New York. Right away it was obvious that Eden Alternative was different. Children, plants and animals were part of daily life for the residents.
Eden Alternative principals include:
- Loneliness, helplessness and boredom are plagues and account for most of the suffering among elders.
- An elder-centered community is committed to a human habitat where life revolves around contact with plants, animals and children.
- Loving companions are the antidote to loneliness.
- An elder-centered community creates opportunity to give and receive.
- The community creates an environment where the unexpected can happen; it is an antidote to boredom.
- The opportunity to find something meaningful is essential to human health.
- Medical treatment should be the servant, not the master, of human caring.
- The community honors its elders by de-emphasizing top-down bureaucratic authority, placing decision-making with the elders or those closest to them.
- Creating an elder-centered community is a process, not a program.
- Wise leadership is the lifeblood against the plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom.
Eden Alternative works. Evaluations of the Eden Alternative residents compared with residents of traditional nursing homes revealed that residents needed significantly fewer drugs, lived longer, and staff turnover was less. Read more about Eden Alternative here.
Dr. Thomas’s newest concept is the Green House, a radically new approach to long-term care.