Surplus Safety: When Can Safety Harm Us?

November 29, 2014
Laura Beck, The Eden Alternative

In long term care, there is no accounting for Upside Risk. There would never be a newspaper headline stating in shocked tones, “PEOPLE PREVENTED FROM GROWING!”, and yet, this is what happens every day in a system focused entirely on diminishing downside risk. To take away all risk and chances to make mistakes is to take away the right to be human. While safety is important, there is a range of risk tolerance. The goal should be to create a life where we each have just the right balance of autonomy and safety – an environment optimal for our continued growth and development.  Join Dr. Judah Ronch and Dr. Bill Thomas for this powerful discussion of how we prevent good things from happening, when we focus too much on what can go wrong.


  • Participants will be able to name three benefits of upside risk.
  • Participants will be able to identify one negative outcome of too much environmental press.
  • Participants will be able to identify one negative outcome of too little environmental press.

Dr. William H. Thomas, M.D.,is an award-winning international authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare. A graduate of Harvard Medical School (1986) he went on to graduate medical training in the Highland Hospital/University of Rochester Family Medicine Residency. While he planned on a career in Emergency Medicine, a part-time position as the medical director of a small rural nursing home turned into a full-time and life long passion for improving the well-being of older people. He has authored several books and publications, among them “What Are Old People For: How Elders Will Save the World” and “A Life Worth Living.” Dr. Thomas is also the co-founder of the Eden Alternative and creator of the Green House Model.

Dr. Judah Ronch, Ph.D., is Professor of Practice and Interim Dean of the Erickson School at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Prior to coming to the Erickson School, he was Vice President of Resident Life, Mental Health and Wellness for Erickson Retirement Communities, where he was responsible for developing person-centered, strength-based approaches to best serve the mental wellness needs of Erickson’s over 20,000 residents on 18 campuses. His numerous publications include contributions in psychotherapy and counseling with the aged, care of persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders, caregiver issues, staff training and service delivery issues in geriatric care.

The live event for this webinar took place on February 2, 2011.

Click here to purchase this on-demand webinar.