About Eden Alternative®

The Eden Alternative® is a powerful tool for improving the quality of life for people who live in long-term care facilities or are isolated in the community. It is a new way of thinking about eldercare and has the potential of remaking facilities and communities.


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


To eliminate loneliness, helplessness, and boredom.


Innovation, Integrity, Community, Empowerment, and Passion

The Ten Principles of The Eden Alternative®:

Principle One: Loneliness, helplessness, and boredom are painful and destructive to our health and well-being.

Principle Two: A caring, inclusive and vibrant community enables all of us, regardless of age or ability, to experience well-being.

Principle Three: We thrive when we have easy access to the companionship we desire. This is the antidote to loneliness.

Principle Four: We thrive when we have purpose and the opportunity to give, as well as receive. This is the antidote to helplessness.

Principle Five: We thrive when we have variety, spontaneity, and unexpected happenings in our lives. This is the antidote to boredom.

Principle Six: Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. Meaning is unique to each of us and is essential to health and well-being.

Principle Seven: We are more than our medical diagnoses. Medical treatment should support and empower us to experience a life worth living.

Principle Eight: Decision-making must involve those most impacted by the decision. Empowerment activates choice, autonomy, and influence.

Principle Nine: Building a collaborative and resilient culture is a never-ending process. We need to keep learning, developing, and adapting.

Principle Ten: Wise leadership is the key to meaningful and lasting change. For it, there can be no substitute.

The Eden Alternative® Domains of Well-BeingTM

“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. Bill Thomas, What Are Old People For

Well-being is the path to a life worth living. It is the ultimate outcome of a human life. Through a grant-funded collaborative effort, The Eden Alternative brought together a task force of culture change experts in 2004 and identified seven primary Domains of Well-Being. Together, they serve as a simple framework for asking thoughtful questions that help identify the unmet needs of those we care for:

  • IDENTITY — being well-known; having personhood; individuality; having a history
  • GROWTH — development; enrichment; expanding; evolving
  • AUTONOMY — liberty; self-determination; choice; freedom
  • SECURITY — freedom from doubt, anxiety, or fear; safety; privacy; dignity; respect
  • CONNECTEDNESS — belonging; engaged; involved; connected to time, place, and nature
  • MEANING — significance; heart; hope; value; purpose; sacredness
  • JOY — happiness; pleasure; delight; contentment; enjoyment

Creating Home ~ The Eden Alternative®

This documentary style piece, produced by The Eden Alternative, Inc., features the reflections of Elders and their various care partners regarding the impact of this person-directed approach to care on their growth and well-being. (10m 22s)