The 10 principles of the Eden Alternative ®:

  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 the opportunity to give and 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 activities 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 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 essential for any struggle against the three plagues.

The Eden Alternative ® Domains Of Well-Being

“Well-being is a much larger idea than either quality of life or customer satisfaction. It is based on a holistic understanding of human needs and capacities. Well-being is elusive, highly subjective, and the most valuable of all human possessions.” – Dr. William Thomas, What Are Old People For?

The Domains of Well-Being are:

Identity: Being well-known, having personhood and individuality; wholeness; having a story.
Growth: Development, enrichment, expanding, self-actualization.
Autonomy: Choice and self-determination; freedom from the arbitrary exercise of authority.
Security: Freedom from fear, anxiety, and doubt; feeling safe; having privacy, dignity, and respect.
Connectedness: Belonging; feeling engaged and involved; having close, meaningful relationships.
Meaning: Purpose; activity that speaks to one’s personal values; rituals, recognition, and self-esteem.
Joy: Happiness, enjoyment, pleasure, contentment.