Never Outgrow Growth

August 08, 2013
Virgil Thomas,
Thanks to –

We at The Eden Alternative have spent nearly twenty years thinking about how a life is well lived. The Eden Alternative Domains of Well Being were developed to try to capture the essence of a good life. Identity, Growth, Autonomy, Security, Connectedness, Meaning, and Joy all represent unique facets of well being.

Each is irreplaceable and important in its own right, but I would like to take a few minutes to reflect on the concept of growth.

As a child or a youth the concept of growth is a visible part of life. The first twenty years represent rampant, almost daily physical growth, a developing mental and emotional state, and an almost constant state of learning. Unfortunately, that definition of growth is unfairly applied to adulthood and beyond. Physicality shrinks as our youth begins to fade. Learning slows as we fall into routines and comfort zones.

The institutional paradigm pigeon holds old age as a time when the body shrinks rather than grows and experiencing new things becomes impossible, so old age has become a time when, by this definition, growth is impossible.

By the time a person reaches Elderhood the system is set up to stem the hemorrhaging of growth, by trying to keep the body and mind from declining any further.

The Eden Alternative rejects this youth-centered premise of growth. Instead we define growth as engaging in a care partnership with others. Though the body may be frail, a care partnership provides the opportunity for spiritual growth and connectedness.

We are curious to know the numerous ways you help promote growth in the lives of  Elders as well as your own. Please share your stories.

11 Comments. Leave new

@edenalt Resend link, can’t wait to see why


Why growth can never be seperated from human life #wellbeing


“@edenalt: Why growth can never be seperated from human life #wellbeing” Lovely & what it’s all about @evermore1st


RT @SaraMcKeeFRSA: “@edenalt: Why growth can never be seperated from human life #wellbeing” Lovely & what it’s all a…

Louise Morman
August 9, 2013 2:02 am

Louise Morman liked this on Facebook.

Barbara L. Smullen,
August 9, 2013 3:23 pm

Oh, my goodness, I really gulped when I read “experiencing new things is impossible”! I am so glad Eden rrefutes that definition of growth! I am an Elder, 70 years old, and an Eden Associate. I have experienced MANY new things in the over 7 years I have lived in an Eden Home…new things physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually! Just a few examples of that growth would be – physically: grown (intentionally) thinner…(was quite obese) , and grown to adjust to the fistula and dialysis experience; mentally: I have learned so much abouit Eden that I have even presented programs on Eden to community groups, and I have read probably 100 books in those years, all of which taught me new things; emotionally – I have learned to deal much better with my bipolar disorder, in ways that have made much healthier emotionally; spiritually: I grown in reflecting on my faith n deep ways, leading to a major significant change in my worship community of choice…
In order to grow in these ways as a senior, we must feel safe and respected and valuable – safe in our environment, and safe in who we are. Eden provides that safety! LIFE is GROWTH at an Eden Home!


Leave a Reply