Reimagining the Experience of Aging with the Eden Alternative®
The Eden Alternative® is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making life better for older adults in retirement living communities and beyond.
The Eden Alternative® maintains that Elders should have autonomy over their daily lives and what they need, want, and deserve. The philosophy also teaches us to see the communities where they live as habitats for human beings rather than facilities for the frail.
It explores the benefits of alternative types of medicine, such as providing residents with the opportunity to give meaningful care to other living things, like plants and animals. The Eden Alternative® is not an accreditation but a philosophy and a public commitment to practicing resident-directed care.
Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being®
The 10 Principles of Eden Alternative®
- The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among older adults.
- A resident-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.
- Loving companionship is the antidote to loneliness. Residents deserve easy access to human and animal companionship.
- A resident-centered community creates opportunity to give as well as receive care. This is the antidote to helplessness.
- A resident-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.
- Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opportunity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health.
- Medical treatment should be the servant of genuine human caring, never its master.
- A resident-centered community honors its residents by de-emphasizing top-down, bureaucratic authority, seeking instead to place the maximum possible decision-making authority into the hands of the residents or into the hands of those closest to them.
- Creating a resident-centered community is a never-ending process. Human growth must never be separated from human life.
- Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any struggle against the three plagues. For it, there can be no substitute.