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The Eden Alternative Cheat Sheet by

Creating quality of life for Elders and their care partners
alternative     snf     healthcare     eden


The Eden Altern­ative® is an intern­ati­onal, non-profit 501(c)3 organi­zation dedicated to creating quality of life for Elders and their care partners, wherever they may live.

Miss­ion­:To improve the well-being of Elders and their care partners by transf­orming the commun­ities in which they live and work.
Visi­on: To eliminate loneli­ness, helple­ssness, and boredom.
Valu­es:­I­nno­vation, Integrity, Community, Empowe­rment, and Passion

Eden Principles

1. The three plagues of loneli­ness, helple­ssness, and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our Elders.
2. An Elder-­cen­tered community commits to creating a Human Habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with people of all ages and abilities, as well as plants and animals. It is these relati­onships that provide the young and old alike with a pathway to a life worth living.
3. Loving compan­ionship is the antidote to loneli­ness. Elders deserve easy access to human and animal compan­ion­ship.
4. An Elder-­cen­tered community creates opport­unity to give as well as receive care. This is the antidote to helple­ssness.
5. An Elder-­cen­tered community imbues daily life with variety and sponta­neity by creating an enviro­nment in which unexpected and unpred­ictable intera­ctions and happenings can take place. This is the antidote to boredom.
6. Meanin­gless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opport­unity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health.
7. Medical treatment should be the servant of genuine human caring, never its master.
8. An Elder-­cen­tered community honors its Elders by de-emp­has­izing top-down, bureau­cratic authority, seeking instead to place the maximum possible decisi­on-­making authority into the hands of the Elders or into the hands of those closest to them.
9. Creating an Elder-­cen­tered community is a never-­ending process. Human growth must never be separated from human life.
10. Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any struggle against the three plagues. For it, there can be no substi­tute.

Eden Altern­ative

Eden Altern­ative Philosophy

In a culture that typically views aging as a period of decline, the Eden Altern­ative philosophy asserts that no matter how old we are or what challenges we live with, life is about continuing to grow. Building on this new paradigm, it affirms that care is not a one-way street, but rather a collab­orative partne­rship. All caregivers and care receivers are described as “care partners,” each an active partic­ipant in the balance of giving and receiving. Together, care partner teams strive to enhance well-being by elimin­ating the three plagues of loneli­ness, helple­ssness, and boredom.

Focused on changing the culture of care since the early 1990’s, this approach to person­-di­rected care initially came to life in nursing homes and has since expanded its reach to all care settings, including home care and reside­ntial care for people living with different abilities. The Eden Altern­ative firmly believes that culture change unfolds one relati­onship at a time, and that deep change can only take root when the entire continuum of care is involved. Through education, consul­tation, and outreach, it currently offers three applic­ations of its principles and practices to support the unique needs of various living enviro­nments, ranging from the nursing home to the neighb­orhood street.

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