Eden Alternative

The Eden Alternative is a fast-growing philosophy that seeks to change the culture and environment of today’s nursing homes and other long term care institutions.

Founded in 1991, by Dr. William Thomas, a Harvard-educated physician and Board Certified Geriatrician, the Eden Alternative now claims over 250 registered homes in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The staff and management of these homes continue to work towards meaningful cultural change through ongoing training and a continued dedication to making life better for those in their care.

Dr. Thomas, his wife Judy, 19 Regional Coordinators, 48 Mentors and more than 7,000 associates teach that places where Elders live must be habitats for human beings, not sterile medical institutions.

Our Motto: It Can Be Different

Our Mission: Improving the lives of Elders and Caregivers by transforming the communities in which they live and work

Our Vision: The elimination of Loneliness, Helplessness, and Boredom

Our Values: The Eden Alternative 10 Principles

  • The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our Elders.
  • An Elder-centered community commits to creating a Human Habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with plants, animals and children. 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. Elders deserve easy access to human and animal companionship.
  • An Elder-centered community creates opportunity to give as well as receive care. This is the antidote to helplessness.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Creating an Elder-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.

Visit the Eden Alternative website