The 2018 Eden Alternative Award Recipients

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The journey to person-directed care is long, rewarding, and sometimes challenging. Individuals and organizations committed to creating caring communities deserve to be honored for the difference they make.

The Eden Alternative presented the following awards at the conference welcoming session on Thursday, May 3, 2018:

The Eden Employee Care Partner Award Winners:

Recognizes the extraordinary efforts of an employee care partner in applying the Eden Alternative Philosophy to creating a life worth living.

Ryan Bahan
Eden Care Communities
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Ryan Bahan is the Manager of Intergenerational Care at Eden Care Communities. He constantly challenges care partners to support a life worth living.

Ryan passionately views all that we do through “Eden Eyes.” He educates on the Eden Alternative Principles and the Domains of Well-Being and participates in all the Eden Registry networking calls with energy and enthusiasm.

He embodies the Eden Alternative Ten Principles – lives, breathes, and models them is a way that is difficult to replicate. He believes in collaboration of whole communities as we can accomplish more together than apart.

Donna Lynn Walker
Brookshire House
Denver, Colorado

Donna Lynn Walker invigorates her home with love and life. She ensures that Elders stay connected with the community through local events and volunteer work. They have dedicated many days providing food, clothing, and pet food to those experiencing homelessness in the community.

Donna cares for Elders who live with dementia and ensures all their interests are explored by communicating with them in innovative ways. She and her family take the Elders on vacation and they party like there’s no tomorrow, and she takes Elders home for the holidays – to HER own home!

The Eden Elder Award Winners:

Recognizes the extraordinary efforts of an Elder care partner in applying the Eden Alternative Philosophy to creating a life worth living.

Robert Bowles
Atlanta, Georgia

Robert Bowles shares his own dementia journey with others, and helps those who live with dementia focus on finding and living their purpose in the midst of their journey.

He is a Certified Eden Associate and has gone through Dementia Beyond Drugs training. Robert brings the most important perspective to light – the perspective of someone who lives with dementia himself. Care partners who learn from him are forever changed by his wisdom and openness. Robert also serves on local, state, and national task groups and councils.

Mrs. Maria Tech
Elizabeth Knox Home
Auckland, New Zealand

Maria Tech is the first Elder to complete Certified Eden Associate Training in the southern hemisphere.  She teaches English to new migrants at the local church from her power chair. She is a valued member of the Eden Alternative education team – always sharing her wisdom and knowledge.

Maria feels that learning circles are vital for communication with and between care partners. She inspires people every day, and she is a wonderful example of Elderhood in all its glory.

The Nancy Fox Leadership Award Winner:

Recognizes an individual who embodies leadership in thought, word, and deed through the Eden Alternative Philosophy.

Sally Hopkins
Regional Coordinator for Eden in Oz/NZ & Southeast Asia

A few years ago, a deep frost fell over Eden in Australia/New Zealand.

Rather than stand by and watch as the nearly 15 years of building up Eden in Oz/NZ was lost, Sally worked with the US board of directors to address the situation. Sally engineered a smooth transition to a new board of directors for Eden in Oz. She re-assured customers to restore calm, she stabilized finances, and focused on renewed growth in Australia, New Zealand, and now into Southeast Asia.

Sally’s exceptional leadership not only saved Eden in Oz/NZ, it has set the stage for new growth and expansion for years to come. We are grateful that Sally also shares her passion and vision for the Eden Alternative as Vice Chair of the board of directors here in the U.S., reminding us always, that we truly are an international organization.

The Eden Seedling Award Winners:

Recognizes a care community or home and community-based service new to the Eden Alternative journey that has demonstrated a level of commitment and progressiveness that challenges others to grow.

Parker Homes
Parker at Monroe & Parker at Stonegate
Monroe Township
Highland Park, New Jersey

Parker at Monroe is a collection of small homes set up in neighborhoods to create a sense of community with a smaller number of elders. The employee care partners have blended roles and have training in other areas to support the home. They do not wear uniforms and the Elders and the employees care partner eat meals together. This structure has really allowed great relationships to be formed with the elders, employees, and the families. The needs of the elders are always first and the often spoken question is, would I do this in my home? The commitment to the person-centered journey also includes the 38 Certified Eden Associates, which include all leadership and many informal leaders in the homes. The connections that are formed are heartwarming and reminds you that even when days are hard, they are doing the right thing for tall care partners that live and work there.

Parker at Stonegate is an Assisted Living like no other. They have always been focused on the individuals they serve and going above and beyond to meet their needs and expectations. They recognize how important each member’s role is and how it impacts the independence of the Elders. The programs offered are directly from the Elders choices and input, which often focuses on community service, such as, making sandwiches for the local shelter or crocheting blankest for babies in a hospital. The biggest advocates and protectors of the resident’s rights are the Stonegate employee care partners who are the first to support the residents’ choices and figuring out how to support it. Also, the residents participate in Quality Action teams to help improve services and areas identified for growth. The true warmth and energy comes from those that live there and employee care partners that support them.

The Eden Champion Award Winners:

Recognizes the efforts of an individual and/or organization that champions the ongoing growth of the Eden Alternative Philosophy, bringing it to life for those closest to them.

Angie McAllister & Signature Healthcare
Louisville, KY

Over the past 5 years, Signature HealthCare has added 50 communities across 4 states to the Eden Registry, and they now represent an incredible one out of every four Registry members! This monumental effort has been championed by Angie McAllister and her team of dedicated care partners. Not one to rest on her laurels, Angie continues to push Signature homes forward on their journey and now has seventeen Milestone 2 homes and several approaching Milestone 3 with more to come. It has been Angie McAllister’s tireless efforts and the support of her corporate leadership, Chris Cox in particular, that have produced these amazing results.

Not only is Angie the Eden Champion within Signature, her influence is also felt across the culture change movement as an Eden Alternative board member, a presenter at industry conferences, a frequent contributor to McKnight’s Long Term Care magazine, and as a published researcher. Angie is also well known for her Facebook posts capturing Elders from Signature homes on vacations all around the country. She helps to plan, organize, and accompanies all of the Elder trips.

Angie continually shows her boundless energy as she travels from state to state and home to home driven by a desire to create a life worth living for all of the Elders and her fellow Signature care partners. Visit any Signature Registry member and you will see and hear all of the Eden Principles coming to life every day.

The Master Gardener Award Winners:

Recognizes the unwavering commitment of a care community or community-based service to bring the Eden Alternative Principles to life in daily practice.

Sherbrooke Community Centre
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Sherbrooke Community Centre supports each person to live a full and abundant life, creating a diverse habitat where children, plants, and animals are a natural part of everyday life. They support quality of life and growth of each individual, and the community as a whole. They strive to provide each Elder with companionship, opportunities to give and receive care, and a diverse environment rich with spontaneity and variety.

Sherbrooke is a shining example of true community. They exude excellence in living the Eden Alternative Ten Principles and creating well-being for all that live and work there. They Have been on the Eden Registry for 19 years, and they were the first Registry Member in the Galaxy to achieve all 4 Milestones!

New award in 2018

The Bill & Jude Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award Winner:

The Bill & Jude Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a very special individual who has dedicated his/her life to living and teaching the Eden Alternative Philosophy… for doing so with joy and enthusiasm, determination, and with overwhelming heart and soul. 

Susan Berta
Rochester, NY

Susan Berta learned about The Eden Alternative at a presentation by Rose Marie Fagan in Rochester NY in 1995, where she met Dr. Bill Thomas. She was the first person to bring the Eden Alternative Philosophy to Dr. Al Power, and taught Certified Eden Associate Training to Suellen Beatty and Cheryl George of Sherbrooke Community Centre Canada, which is the first home to reach Milestone 4. Susan would be so proud.

Susan was one of the first Certified Eden Associates, Eden Educators, and the Regional Coordinator for the Northeast US. Sadly, Susan passed away last year.

Jude Thomas says, “I have never met a person with more dedication and belief in the Eden Principles. Her enthusiasm and dedication was contagious.”

From Bill Thomas, “Susan Berta was a light in this world. Her spirit radiated joy and possibility. Jude and I felt that joy, and experienced the possibility of growth and change every day we worked with Susan. The Eden Alternative we know and love today was built in large part by her passion, energy and commitment to her work. We will be forever grateful.”


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