Eden Alternative

A cornerstone of the Eden Alternative concept is that residents should have close and continuing contact with as much human habitat as they choose to embrace.  Grand Traverse Pavilions has adopted this concept.

The Eden Alternative was originated by William Thomas, M.D., of Sherburne, N.Y.  Dr. Thomas has extended his personal congratulations to Grand Traverse Pavilions for its role in introducing and implementing the process.

Grand Traverse Pavilions embraces the 10 Eden Alternative Principles.


These principles include:

  1. Understands that loneliness, helplessness, and boredom account for the bulk of suffering in a typical nursing home.
  2. Commits itself to surrendering the institutional point of view and adopts the Human Habitat model that makes pets, plants, and children the pivots for daily life in the nursing home.
  3. Provides easy access to companionship by promoting close and continuing contact between the elements of the human habitat and residents.
  4. Provides opportunities to give as well as to receive care by promoting resident participation in the daily round of activities that are necessary to maintain the habitat.
  5. Imbues daily life with variety and spontaneity by creating an environment in which unexpected and unpredictable interactions and happenings can take place.
  6. De-emphasizes the programmed-activities approach to life and devotes those resources to the maintenance and growth of the habitat.
  7. De-emphasizes the role of prescription drugs in the residents' daily life and commits these resources to the maintenance and growth of the habitat.
  8. De-emphasizes top-down bureaucratic authority in the home and seeks instead to place the maximum possible decision-making authority either with the residents or in the hands of those closest to the residents.
  9. Understands that Edenizing is the process, not a program, and that the habitat, once created, should be helped to grow and to develop.
  10. Is blessed with leadership that places the need to improve resident's quality of life over and above the inevitable objections to change.  Leadership is the life blood of this process, and nothing can be substituted for it.