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How The Eden Alternative is Evolving

By Homewatch CareGivers

Homewatch CareGivers has a long history with The Eden Alternative®, a non-profit founded by Dr. Bill Thomas, a geriatrician and entrepreneur. At its core, The Eden Alternative’s mission to improve the lives of elders.

The organization is undergoing changes to bring its teachings and trainings to a wider audience, not just those who have professional experience in providing care. We are grateful to Laura Beck, Learning and Development Guide at The Eden Alternative, for spending a few minutes to answer questions about these changes and explain how people can engage with their new platforms.

HWCG: The Eden Alternative has historically provided training for people who work in facilities or in partnering with home care agencies, such as Homewatch CareGivers, to create training such as Certified Eden Associate Training. With eVOLVE Online Learning, what options are there for family caregivers to incorporate the Eden Alternative approach into their care for a loved one?

LB: Life is better when everyone on the care partner team has the same education and vision. Currently on eVOLVE, all members of the care partner team (including family members) can experience The Well-Being Approach: Creating a Life Worth Living with Dementia. This course provides a shared framework for optimizing well-being of individuals living with dementia. Also, soon to come in early 2021 on eVOLVE:

  • The Framework: Reveal the Possibilities – This course is an entry-level journey through our Ten Principles and how they work with the Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being®. It is written with all members of the care partner team in mind, as well as different living environments. Specific exercises, examples, and stories are included.
  • 5 more courses focused on person-directed dementia care will join The Well-Being Approach. Among them the following might be most interesting to family members:
    • Defining Dementia
    • Decoding Distress: Proactive Strategies for Living Well with Dementia
    • Reframing Hallucinations and Delusions for Dementia

HWCG: When will your "30 Days to Better Care" podcast become available and who is the ideal listener for it?

LB: This course will be available in early 2021. It will be ideal for anyone providing hands-on care to someone.

HWCG: As people adjusted to the global pandemic, the need for person-directed care became more apparent as restrictions were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. What teachings from The Eden Alternative might be of help to those now interested in practicing person-directed care?

LB: For over 25 years, The Eden Alternative has focused its approach to care on eliminating loneliness, helplessness, and boredom for elders and their care partners. In the era of social distancing, the impact of these “three plagues” is more profound than ever, no matter where we live. Research consistently reveals a significant correlation between social isolation and serious health effects, including lower immunity, poor sleep, higher levels of inflammation, and a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Using the Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being® can really help individuals and organizations think about how we “can” support well-being even in the midst of this incredible challenge. The seven Domains are identity, connectedness, security, autonomy, meaning, growth, and joy. These Domains of Well-Being have meaning for everyone. We all need these things. No matter what phase of life we are in, all seven Domains continue to be relevant to who we are. Not a single Domain becomes less important to us over time. Together, they serve as a measure of our aliveness. As a tool, they help ALL of us to be better care partners. We learn to anticipate and notice the needs of others in a more holistic way. Care partner teams can use the Domains as a filter for problem solving, for planning care, and thinking creatively about supporting quality of life for the people they care for and support. To learn more about the Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being®, check out this article on our website.

HWCG: What else is new with The Eden Alternative and what can people expect in the coming year (2021)?

LB: In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, there will be Eden Alternative live shows in 2021.

Learn more about The Eden Alternative and eVOLVE Online Learning online.