Improving the lives of older people
and their carers by transforming the
communities in which they live and work"

What is the Eden Alternative?

The Eden Alternative is a small not-for-profit organisation making a big difference in the world. Based on the core belief that aging should be a continued stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline.

Remake the Experience of Aging

The Eden Alternative is seeking to remake the experience of aging around the world. The bulk of our work to date has been in de-institutionalising the culture and environment of today’s nursing homes and other long-term care institutions.

People Making the Changes

Founded in 1991 by Dr. William Thomas, a Harvard-educated physician and board-certified geriatrician, The Eden Alternative has trained over 17,000 Eden Associates and now claims over 300 registered homes, in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. The staff and management of these homes continue to work towards meaningful culture change through ongoing training and a continued dedication to creating a life worth living for those in their care.

Eliminating the Plagues of Loneliness, Helpless and Boredom

The core concept of The Eden Alternative is strikingly simple. Dr William Thomas, his wife Judy, the Eden home office staff, 50 Eden Educators, 60 mentors and more than 15,000 associates teach that where elders live must be habitats for human beings, not sterile medical institutions. They are dedicated to eliminating the plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom that make life intolerable in most of today’s long-term care facilities.

Creating Homes Where Life is Worth Living

The Eden Alternative shows how companionship, the opportunity to give meaningful care to other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment, can succeed where pills and therapies often fail. Places that have adopted the Eden Alternative typically are filled with plants, animals, and are regularly visited by children

The Eden Alternative is also about changing the culture of long-term care organisations. The departmentalised, task-orientation of the current institutional model has created a culture that is characterised by pessimism, cynicism and stinginess. By moving away from the top-down bureaucratic approach to management and moving decision making closer to the Elders, Edenising organisations are helping to support a meaningful life for their Elders. Organisations that are integrating the Eden Alternative Principles can become well-known to others by joining the Eden Registry.


Studies show that implementation of The Eden Alternative is a powerful tool for improving quality of life and quality of care for those living in nursing homes. Also, in homes that have adopted Eden as an organisational-wide philosophy, there is often improved staff satisfaction and retention and significant decreases in the overuse of medications and restraints. Most importantly, Elders, supported by their caregivers, can once again direct their own daily lives

Eden Alternative South Africa

The Eden Alternative in South Africa was established by Rayne Stroebel, Managing Director of GERATEC (Gerontological Research, Training, Education and Caring). After completing training in the United Kingdom and in Switzerland, Rayne was appointed as the Regional Coordinator by The Eden Alternative Home Office in November 2011.

The Eden Alternative philosophy embraces the concept of “culture change” – transforming traditional, institutionalised long-term care facilities into Human Habitats where life revolves around close and continuing contact with plants, animals and children. Based on the principles of person centred care, The Eden Alternative is a journey of discovering the strengths, talents and dreams of Residents and Staff, creating authentic relationships that translate into a life worth living for everyone in the organisation.

The Eden Alternative speaks a universal language of growth and nurturing, creating an environment in which Elders and Care Partners can flourish. In South Africa, The Eden Alternative is a non profit organisation (Section 21no: 2012/080984/08) that provides training and consultancy services to the Long-term Care Industry. See training offerings



The Eden Alternative in South Africa offers training and consulting services to help Long-term Care Facilities for Older and Vulnerable People transform their culture of care. Culture change implies a 360 degree transformation that must take place in three dimensions, namely a personal transformation, physical transformation and an organisational transformation. It takes an in-depth analysis of the organisation to determine the culture, values and beliefs of the organisation that needs to be transformed. This journey implies a new way of being, developing and growing as the organisation transforms from the inside out.

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