The Eden Alternative is a small not-for-profit organization making a big difference in the world. Based on the core belief that aging should be a continued stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline.
Remake the Experience of Aging
The Eden Alternative is seeking to remake the experience of aging around the world. The bulk of our work to date has been in de-institutionalizing the culture and environment of today’s nursing homes and other long-term care institutions. Click here for a fact sheet
People Making the Changes
Founded in 1991 by Dr. William Thomas, a Harvard-educated physician and board-certified geriatrician, The Eden Alternative has trained over 17,000 Eden Associates and now claims over 300 registered homes, in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. The staff and management of these homes continue to work towards meaningful culture change through ongoing training and a continued dedication to creating a life worth living for those in their care.
Eliminating the Plagues of Loneliness, Helpless and Boredom
The core concept of The Eden Alternative is strikingly simple. Dr. William Thomas, his wife Judy, the Eden home office staff, 50 Eden Educators, 60 mentors and more than 15,000 associates teach that where elders live must be habitats for human beings, not sterile medical institutions. They are dedicated to eliminating the plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom that make life intolerable in most of today’s long-term care facilities.
Creating Homes Where Life is Worth Living
The Eden Alternative shows how companionship, the opportunity to give meaningful care to other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment, can succeed where pills and therapies often fail. Places that have adopted the Eden Alternative typically are filled with plants, animals, and are regularly visited by children
The Eden Alternative is also about changing the culture of long-term care organizations. The departmentalized, task-orientation of the current institutional model has created a culture that is characterized by pessimism, cynicism and stinginess. By moving away from the top-down bureaucratic approach to management and moving decision making closer to the Elders, Edenizing organizations are helping to support a meaningful life for their Elders. Organizations that are integrating the Eden Alternative Principles can become well-known to others by joining the Eden Registry. Learn more about the benefits of Eden Registry membership through our overview brochure.
Studies show that implementation of The Eden Alternative is a powerful tool for improving quality of life and quality of care for those living in nursing homes. Also, in homes that have adopted Eden as an organizational-wide philosophy, there is often improved staff satisfaction and retention and significant decreases in the overuse of medications and restraints. Most importantly, Elders, supported by their caregivers, can once again direct their own daily lives. Click here to view the Research and Data
The Eden Alternative is now poised to bring the principles and practices that are transforming long-term care to the larger community of Elders and their care partners living outside of institutions. For even a home can feel like an institution when an Elder requires assistance with daily living and the entire focus is placed upon the needs of the human body, and not the human spirit. With this in mind, the Eden Alternative now has a new initiative called Eden At Home, designed to touch the lives of Elders living at home and their care partners. Eden at Home aspires to transform the culture of care in our larger communities. Click here to go the Eden at Home page.
Eden Alternative Introductory Presentation Introducing stakeholders to the Eden Alternative is an important first step in the journey. We have written out a one-hour presentation that covers all Ten Principles and some important concepts of the Eden Alternative Philosophy. It is all scripted out for the presenter. Just add in some personal stories that demonstrate the Principles in action and you should be good to go. Share the value of the Eden Alternative with others. It will help improve the lives of Elders everywhere!