European Aging Delegation Visits US To Study Eden Alternative

October 13, 2011
Kavan Peterson, Editor, ChangingAging.org

Europe and the United States have much to share and learn from each other when it comes to caring for and improving the quality of life for our rapidly growing aging populations.

Eden Alternative International has long been a bridge connecting culture change advocates around the globe and next week we’re honored to host a delegation of aging services providers from Europe traveling to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore to participate in a study tour exploring the Eden Alternative.

The tour group will meet with Eden Alternative founder Dr. Bill Thomas and leading culture change advocates at UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging in Baltimore on Friday, Oct. 21. The group will then tour Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center in Baltimore, Maryland’s first Eden registered home.

Sponsored by the European Ageing Network, the tour will be held in conjunction with the IAHSA Global Ageing Conference & LeadingAge Annual Meeting. The tour will be lead by Eden Europe Director Christa Monkhouse, director of Eden Europe. The theme “discover the Eden Alternative” will give participants a first-hand look at Eden Alternative concepts and practices at work.

A growing number of European countries has adopted the Eden Alternative model, including Switzerland, Austria, England, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Island and Germany.

The goal of the Eden Alternative is to eliminate loneliness, helplessness and boredom from the daily lives of elders receiving skilled nursing care. At Levindale, they do this by infusing an excitement about life into the center by providing companionship, empowerment and spontaneity.

Among the commitments Levindale has made on behalf of their elders:

  • Arranging regular contact with children through partnerships with schools and building a playground.
  • Caring for live-in and visiting pets- including dogs, cats and birds.
  • Building a greenhouse and providing a horticulture therapy program so residents can plant flowers and vegetables.
  • Developing “kibbutzim,” small groups, to create a family atmosphere, so members can become better acquainted and help each other with the challenges of daily living.

Levindale also implemented The Neighborhood Model as their next step in the culture change journey starting in 2006. The model works with the Eden Alternative philosophy to turn rigid nursing homes into places where residents’ desires are the priority.

For more information:

Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center

Eden Alternative Europe

European Ageing Network

LeadingAge

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