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
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 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.