I was very excited to learn about the Eden Alternative. Eden provides assistance in an elder’s own home, as well in long term care settings. What intrigued me about Eden is its mission to deinstitutionalize long term care. Eden strives toward “teaching ourselves to see places where Elders live as habitats for human beings rather than facilities for the frail and elderly.” Yes, there is a time and place for a medically formal care setting. However, that time is not always the same time when an elder begins to need a bit of help.
Eden started with the community living principles mentioned above, and employed them in long term care facilities. Now they have developed The Green House – a place of growth which allows flexibility in a home-like environment. Here is a portion of a documentary about The Green House. The Green House employs people who act as a “Shahbaz” to the elders in the home. They are facilitators who help encourage the abilities of each resident. I personally believe many of the people who work with the aging population do this naturally, but in the Eden philosophy it is something each person is trained in. You can find more photo albums of various Eden Green Houses here.
I want to continue to explore these alternative care solutions. Tell us about alternatives you are familiar with. We like to visit local facilities, and we research many others. In the way it “takes a village to raise a child,” I also believe it takes a village to care for our elders. There are so many possibilities if we think outside the box and work together!
In addition to being the Center's Senior Projects Director, Kristin Huff teaches courses for the Center's new Project Management Certificate for Human Services Professionals.