Preaching to the Choir

April 10, 2015
Mel Coppola

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Like many of you, I spend a good deal of time reading our Eden blogs along with the blogs on Changing Aging and other platforms. Generally I am inspired and sometimes find a point or two that strikes me in a way I had not looked at an issue before.   And that is good. For all of us.

But who reads these blogs? Certainly, most people reading blogs from The Eden Alternative are members of our tribe, or are interested in becoming members.   Changing Aging, I imagine, has a much larger following. But again, my guess would be that at least 90 percent are Culture Change supporters. The blogs and articles that I read on LinkedIn are found in the groups I follow, like ChangingAging, Advocates for Person Centered Care, the Green House Project, Culture Change Conversations for Long-Term Care, The Elder Care Network, etc. I think you get my drift. We have a great message, but we’re preaching to the choir!

Dr. Bill Thomas is advocating for a stronger stance. It is time to push our movement forward and get out of our comfort zones. Yes, sharing our knowledge, experience and best practices with each other is wonderful and powerful and certainly helps move us forward. But we need to be “Evangelists for Culture Change”. (There is a great article/ blog from 2006 by Guy Kawasaki titled, “The Art of Evangelism” which talks about this secular type of evangelism). We need to take our message out into the streets; ok maybe not the streets just yet, but at least out into the larger community.

Certified Eden At Home Associate Training is a vehicle that can help us do that. The design of the training is such that Associates not only learn how to apply the ten principles and the Domains of Well-Being to home and community based organizations, but they leave empowered to share this knowledge with the greater community in the form of workshops.

Just as we have learned to reframe so many concepts through our educational offerings, we need to see Eden At Home as not only for home and community based services. What happens when these workshops are offered to people out in the community? Here are some examples from when I have held Eden At Home Care Partner Workshops:

  1. There was a woman who joined our workshop at a local hospital because her husband had recently had a stroke. When I asked the group to think about who was on their care partner team, she stated there was no team; it was just her and her husband. What a lonely place she must have been in. She shared that it was just the two of them at the question’s prompt. The amazing thing was the way the rest of the workshop participants responded. They piped up that “we” were ALL on her team! I could not have imagined nor directed this response.
  1. Similarly, a woman in that same workshop answered when asked how the workshop helped with her current care relationship, “Thankfully, I am not currently in a care relationship.” We (the workshop participants) prodded her that we are always engaged in care relationships once we understand that “care” is helping another to grow. I watched that light bulb go on over her head. And I see it still.
  1. And then there is the young lady, who when asked about her care relationship, said she had recently lost both her mother and grandmother, but was currently the single mother of 3 young children. Her tears, at relating what she was learning to the past couple years, were replaced with tears of understanding that her care relationships now were with her children. And she received all the information we had and looked at how she could use it to be a better, in fact the BEST, care partner to her children. She still inspires me!

This is the power of the Eden at Home Care Partner Workshops.

Since there are still very few home and community based organizations currently offering these workshops, it makes sense that some of our long-term care Registry members need to be out in the community spreading this message. If people are introduced to person-directed care when they are first beginning their care journey, they will stay within our network of organizations as their care needs increase. It’s a win-win for the public, the long-term care organization offering the training, and the culture change movement as a whole!

Eden At Home training is the vehicle everyone needs to bring the message to the consumer. When the public understands they have a choice, they will demand it. It is that simple.

No so coincidentally, there is an Eden At Home Training in St Petersburg, Florida on April 28-30. Check the calendar, and start taking the message out beyond the choir. Become a Culture Change Evangelist.

To learn more about the Certified Eden At Home Associate Training visit Here. 

3 Comments. Leave new

Well said, Mel. Having just complete EAH I have to say that this is a fabulous curriculum that will really open your mind to all the little nooks and crannies of our communities that need to hear this message. Eden At Home could also be called Eden On The Loose, or Eden At Large (though that sounds like a fugitive), Eden in Your Backyard. The opportunities are there!


Yes, Mel … to me your words are spot on!

I was one of the lucky ones who got to engage with Kim and Walter in Atlanta’s recent Eden at Home Training. It was fantastic to be with a room of “my people,” to learn Eden’s tools, to come home with so many resources, and to have this new shared platform.

This training will help me share what used to be what I thought was ‘my message’ but is in fact the message of a growing cohort. Together we are poised to add care partnering, surprises and deeper relating, meaning-making, and so much more to our lives and to those of families, employees, managers, owners, financial managers … everyone engaged in elder care.

I will continue to learn from the tools I brought home. This was an experience I will long treasure. And I am confident it will add value to the lives of the people with whom I share it.


Thanks for sharing and calling us all to action, Mel. It is so valuable to hear how the Eden Principles can be applied in different situations like you describe here. And you are right, we all need to take our message to the streets, and we need to do it now. It is no coincidence that our theme for our 2016 conference is “it’s about time!”


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