Stories, tips, and inspiring ideas about implementing The Eden Alternative®


April/May 2017


Our Mission: To improve the well-being of Elders and their care partners 

by transforming the communities in which they live and work.

Welcome to The Vine!


The Vine is a monthly newsletter that has been available only to Eden Registry Members. Starting this year, The Vine is being shared with the whole Eden Alternative community. It will be sent out every other month. We hope you enjoy hearing about the amazing accomplishments of Eden Registry Members and opportunities they have to connect and learn from each other.


If you have questions about the Eden Registry or are interested in joining the Registry please contact Suzette Molina at

Registry Renewal for 2017

It is Registry renewal time for everyone! Registry renewal expectations include:


1.  Update your organization’s contact information by responding to the email from Denise Hyde or Suzette Molina.

2.  Schedule a collaboration call with Denise Hyde or Suzette Molina by June 30, 2017. These calls are fun and generally last 30-45 minutes. The topics will be sent out ahead of time.

3. Once all these steps are completed, your team will be renewed for 2017!


Growing your Certified Eden Associate (culture change agent) capacity. This is just a reminder about the expectations for Registry Membership. Please let us know if you need assistance with registering care partners for this, or other offerings from The Eden Alternative.

  1. Path to Mastery Milestone 1: Administrator, Director of Nursing, Social Services and Life Enrichment (activities) leaders for long-term care. For assisted or independent living, two formal leaders are required to be Eden Associates.
  2. Path to Mastery Milestone 2: All formal leaders and at least one hands-on care partner per neighborhood/household
  3. Path to Mastery Milestone 3: 20% of employees and at least one family member and Elder

A Conversation with Dr. Bill Thomas

What's On Your Mind?


Eden Registry Members are invited to join Dr. Bill Thomas on April 25, 2017 (4pm ET, 3pm CT, 2pm MT, 1pm PT) for an open forum to talk about what is on your mind right now about creating a life worth living and strengthening well-being for all care partners. Come prepared with your comments and questions to share what is happening, or not happening, on your Eden Alternative journey these days. Registry Members can find the link to register to attend on the “Webinar, Networking and Conference Call Schedule” page of the Registry Member only section of the website.


2017 Registry Networking Calls


The 2017 Registry networking calls have been scheduled for the year and the topics are focused on the Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being. You can register and download a copy of this year’s schedule on the “Webinar, Networking and Conference Call Schedule” page of the Registry Member only section of the website. The calls happen monthly on the first Thursday of the month at 2pm ET (1pm CT, noon MT, 11am PT). It will be fun to explore each Domain of Well-Being separately as well as talk about how to use all seven domains in identifying unmet needs. It will be a great way to get your team familiar with the Domains of Well-Being so you can be strategic about how to integrate them into systems and processes. It will also be an opportunity to teach others what you are doing and celebrate successes! Here is a flyer from Windsor Elms Village adapting the pyramid structure of the Domains of Well-Being from the work of Dr. Al Power in his book Dementia Beyond Disease.


Ideas Worth Sharing


How Nursing Homes Can Make a Culture Change, an article written by Beth Baker talks about the culture change journey for Signature HealthCARE of Putnam County in Algood, Tennessee (a Registry Member). It really speaks to the personal transformation of employee care partners and some of the barriers to implementation.


McKnight’s published an article entitled  by Buffy Howard, NHA. She speaks to the retention of Directors of Nursing This article hit home for Eden Educator, Jill Vitale-Aussem. She believes it's a great opportunity to highlight how the Eden Alternative Principles can address some of these issues. Every year, Registry Members submit their annual data on retention of key leaders, such as Administrator and Director of Nursing. The most current aggregate data shows the average retention of Administrators is 8.2 years and Directors of Nursing is 11.2 years which affirms that creating an environment that commits to growing all care partners does make a difference!


Eden Alternative Academy, semester 1 was a big hit!! We had over 170 people signed up for the 8-week semester. The teams really got into their growth work each week. We wanted to share a couple of posters made by a team in the project (The Gardens at DePugh in Winter Park, FL). One is a poster about dragon food and one is about Elder empowerment. They took the content from the Elder empowerment poster and made a small card where the information could be captured for each Elder. We hope you will join us for future semesters of Eden Alternative Academy!




Massey University in partnership with Metllifecare in Palmerston North, New Zealand did an independent study to evaluate the implementation of The Eden Alternative. They had some really great insights and results. Check out the study for yourself.




A Trip to the Annual Exhibition (from the team at Willow Lodge, Tatamagouche, NS): Donald was an Elder who lived at Willow Lodge. He loved animals and you would often see him putting hay out for Barney (the pony) or getting oats ready for the goals. He’d go out to see them several times a day and when he noticed the feed getting low, he’d put his orders in to the maintenance guys to get some feed. (He often fed too much …) He spoke of the Exhibition often and kept saying he was going as it was the time of the year for this event. He had attended the event in his home town for many years. Two of the summer students from Willow Lodge decided they would offer to take him to the local Exhibition for an afternoon. They knew he would enjoy every minute of it! Upon arrival, Don enjoyed a hamburger and French fries from the burger bus. Don went through all the barns and was able to see cattle, sheep, goats, horses, chickens, rabbits and much more. Don watched many of the events like the driving competition, barrel racing, and cattle judging done by the 4-H. Later in the afternoon, Don enjoyed an ice cream. Don truly enjoyed his day out and couldn’t have thanked us more for making this happen for him. (Aw, the joy of simple pleasures and life passions!)




As a society, we tend to view science and medicine as a series of well-defined and tested facts. The truth is that science and medicine is about curiosity and asking new questions to test our theories and assumptions and lead to new thinking. The TED Talk speaker, Kevin B. Jones, offers some curious insights about medicine and how our assumptions may not be altogether accurate. Medicine is “knowledge in process.” His insights might challenge some of your assumptions too!


Upcoming Educational Events Worth Noting


Neighborhood Guide Trainings

There are two Neighborhood Guide Trainings scheduled so far for 2017. You can learn more about Neighborhood Guide Training by watching this webinar recording. Click on the appropriate link below to register to attend one of these trainings.

  1. Atlanta, GA, June 12-16, 2017
  2. McPherson, KS, August 7-13, 2017



Celebrating Milestone mastery:

•    Spring City Care and Rehabilitation Center, Spring City, TN - Milestone 2 mastery!
•    Sherbrooke Community Centre, Saskatoon, SK - first Milestone 4 community in the galaxy!
•    Peach Tree Village, Brandon, MS - Milestone 3 mastery!
•    Magnolia Village, Natchez, MS - Milestone 3 mastery!


The team at Signature HealthCare of Trimble County, in Bedford, KY, is no stranger to the power of relationships. Yet, the depth of the friendship between two Elders in the home caught them by surprise. Check out their story and celebrate the power of being well-known in your community!


The team at Prestonsburg Health Care Center in Prestonsburg, KY, goes all out at Easter time. One of their favorite fundraisers to do each year is to make Easter Candy. It involves a lot of patience and hard work, but as some of the Elders say, “anything worth doing is worth doing right!” Their best seller at Easter is milk chocolate eggs filled with either peanut butter or coconut. They purchased a mold online and experimented with some of the best fillings. They coat the top and bottom of the mold with a thin layer of chocolate and after it cools in the fridge, they repeat the process. Then they place the filling in the mold and cover the egg in chocolate one more time. After a quick pop in the freezer, they box the eggs up and they are ready to sell! They sell the milk chocolate eggs by pre-order a few weeks in advance and they always do very well in their selling efforts! They make a great gift and the Elders, their families, and the community loves them!


Springtime Coupon!




Spring has sprung! You are getting ready to plant the seeds in your garden at home. What are you doing to plant seeds of change in the Elders’ home? To help you get started on renewing your organizatoinal garden, The Eden Alternative is offering 20% off everything in the store between now and May 31, 2017.


Here are a few examples of items to consider purchasing to help you spread the seeds of change across your organization and with others in the larger community:

•    Seed Packets book
•    Open Hearts Open Minds Workshop Kit (any Certified Eden Associate can teach this class)
•    Reframing Dementia Workshop Kit (any Certified Eden Associate can teach this class)
•    GROWTH: Six Steps for Framing Lasting Change Workbook
•    What are Old People For? by Dr. Bill Thomas
•    The Art of Creating a Caring Community DVD featuring Dr. Bill Thomas (discounted price $99)


Coupon code: spring2017


Coupon expires May 31, 2017



Gardening Tools from Registry Members for January 2016


Signature Healthcare of Spencer County in Taylorsville, KY joined the Eden Registry on March 17, 2017.  Located about 20 minutes from Louisville they are nestled in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains and hills. The towns of Louisville and Taylorsville are only minutes away, but once you turn into their driveway, the trees and gardens will transport you to a place that seems far away from city life. The folks that live and work here value connections and live as a true community in every sense.  They live together, play together, and celebrate together. There’s always plenty to do, with lots of meaningful activities to ensure that Elders are engaged in ways that are meaningful to them as individuals.  Activities include group outings, musical entertainment, exercise classes, Bible study, and cooking delicious foods. Each morning Elders awaken to the smell of fresh muffins and hot coffee. The day continues with many food choices that often include homemade vegetable soup and grilled cheese. If you come by for a visit prepare to be greeted by Cotton, the dog, and plan to stay for a meal. You won’t want to miss the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, blackberry cobbler and ice cream.


Mission at Castle Rock Rehabilitation Center in Green River, WY joined the Eden Registry on March 23, 2016. Located in the high desert of Wyoming, they are surrounded by rolling green fields and pine trees that provide breath taking views from every window. When you walk into this home, you will notice that it feels different, it feels like a place where people are truly enjoying life together. There are lots of places to sit and read a book and enjoy a warm crackling fire. It is common to see Elders gathered in the activity room doing crafts, puzzles or visiting with friends.  In the warmer months, Elders enjoy gardening in the raised garden beds, walking on the pathway and cooking s’mores on the fire pit. On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, there is much ado about hair, as the beauty shop is filled with chatter and energy. Many days the community comes in to use the multipurpose room for dance recitals and various programs. To build relationships with local children, they have partnered with a nearby school to have 25-30 6th graders come into to home every other week. The students and Elders participate in educational and fun activities, and you can be sure there are lots of hugs and laughter.  The care partner employees work very hard to create a Human Habitat where they, the Elders, and their families can thrive, participate, and know that their contributions to this home are honored and valued.


Christie Gardens in Ontario, Canada joined the Eden Registry on March 27, 2017. Located in Toronto's Davenport Neighborhood, near Seaton Village and The Annex, Christie Gardens Apartments & Care has been serving Elders in Toronto for over 30 years. The care partners that work here pride themselves on honoring the whole person; mind, body and spirit. As a team they focus on a variety of ways for each individual to live the life that they desire. They do this by creating dynamic Elder-driven activities that foster a holistic and diverse environment of continued learning and growth.  Daily activities include therapeutic and creative arts, fitness, cooking, visiting with friends, playing games and relaxing outside in the courtyard.  They cultivate innovative community living for Elders by creating a vibrant, engaging community among themselves, but are also aware that an effective community extends beyond its own walls. Networking, volunteering, partnerships with various community affiliates are key components to the vitality and life expressed by the Elders who have chosen Christie Gardens as home. To create a sense of smallness and closeness they have divided themselves into 4 neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own Advocate. The Advocate is protector and crusader for the well-being of everyone that lives and works at Christie Gardens. Furthermore, they ensure that all aspects of the Elder’s life include variety, choice and autonomy. Elders choose what they eat, what they wear, what activities they attend and how their day is ordered. This is just a few of the reasons why Christie Gardens is such a special place to live.  Come on by and see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed!




The Eden Alternative

P.O. Box 18369

Rochester, NY 14618