Community Spotlight: The Eden Alternative


The Eden Alternative isn’t so much a specific community as it is a way of organizing a community to create something new for residents as they age. What the Eden Alternative provides is a way for any type of community to implement their philosophy to completely change the level of care, interaction, and engagement of residents. I think this is worth exploring.

The Women For Living in Community network was created to provide tools to establish our own communities as we age. There are many possible levels of community including the system designed by the Eden Alternative. Depending on the level of care or the desires of the residents and care takers, a community of this type may be a good solution.

What is The Eden Alternative?

The idea behind this form of community living is that the care givers and the residents become partners rather than existing in a patient based hierarchy. Any organization, community, or facility can become a member of the Eden Alternative registry. They will provide the tools for the individuals involved to establish the right community for everyone.

Their mission statement is:

“To improve the well-being of Elders and their care partners by transforming the communities in which they live and work.”

They accomplish this by training not only the care givers but also the senior residents to accept a different kind of living situation that benefits everyone. They believe that by empowering the older adults in the community it will also empower everyone else involved.

Of course, the Eden Alternative isn’t without its controversy. Some people seem to think that the Eden Alternative is expensive, bordering on cost prohibitive. However, there are also cost reduction benefits to the plan which could lead some communities to pursue it in order to cut payroll and worker’s compensation rates. If you are establishing an Eden Alternative community it is important to look at all the reasons why. The ultimate goal should always be to improve the lives of aging adults and the caretakers.

We want to hear from you. What are your thoughts about the Eden Alternative when it comes to creating community? Comment here or join the conversation on Facebook.

Women For Living in Community