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St. Paul's is an Eden Alternative Community

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A Registered Eden Alternative Community   History   Mission   Vision
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St. Paul's is a Registered Eden Alternative home.    
The Story of Eden
People around the world are familiar with the story of Eden – the story of making a world for humans. In this story, the very first place where humans were created to live was a beautiful garden – The Garden of Eden.
 
That is the story that inspired the founder of the Eden Alternative, Dr. William Thomas, when he began to think about making a better world for our Elders.
 
Shortly after taking a job at the local nursing home, Dr. Thomas was making his rounds one day. He went to see a woman who had a rash on her arm. In his best doctor voice, he leaned down and screamed in her ear, "Hello, I’m Dr. Thomas, what can I do for you today?"
 
He will never forget the beautiful blue eyes that stared up at him as she reached up to draw him closer. And he will never forget the words she whispered, "Doctor, I am so lonely."
 
Those words haunted him for weeks as he searched his medical texts and found nothing. And so he began to think about a different kind of world. He began to think about a true human habitat – a place where humans could live, not just wait to die. And so began the story of the Eden Alternative. It is better to live in a garden.    
 
What is The Eden Alternative
The Eden Alternative is a nonprofit organization dedicated to remaking the experience of aging and disability across America and around the world. It is a powerful tool for improving the well-being of our Residents and their Caregivers. We are dedicated to supporting others in the creation of communities which eliminate the plagues of Loneliness, Helplessness, and Boredom, the plagues of the human spirit.
 
The core concept of The Eden Alternative teaches us to see aging not as decline, but as a continuous stage of growth and development in a human life. The places we create for our Residents to live should foster that growth and the growth of their Caregivers.
 
The Eden Alternative shows us how companionship, the opportunity to give meaningful care, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail. It also shows us how progressive leaders can create a warm culture through empowerment and the development of teamwork as an organization-wide operating philosophy.
 
Most importantly, Eden teaches us that decisions belong with our Residents, or as close to our Residents as possible. Our Residents want, need, and deserve autonomy over their daily lives. Edenizing homes give it back to them.
 
The institutional model that has been dominant in the care of our Residents has many shortcomings. The plagues of the human spirit run rampant in these cold, sterile social and physical environments. Our Residents need and deserve an opportunity for a life worth living.     
 
The Plagues of The Human Spirit
Loneliness - the pain we feel when we want, but can not have, companionship.
Helplessness - the pain we feel when we only receive care but do not have an opportunity to give care.
Boredom - the pain we feel when our lives lack variety and spontaneity.    
 
The Eden Tree is the symbol of an Eden Registered Home.
St. Paul's’ Eden Tree is on display in the entrance of The Villas.
Each time we validate an Eden Principle we place a symbol on our tree that represents the success along our Journey.        
 
The Eden Principles
  1. The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our Elders.
  2. An Elder-centered community commits to creating a Human Habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with plants, animals and children. It is these relationships that provide the young and old alike with a pathway to a life worth living.
  3. Loving companionship is the antidote to loneliness. Elders deserve easy access to human and animal companionship.
  4. An Elder-centered community creates the opportunity to give as well as receive care. This is the antidote to helplessness.
  5. An Elder-centered community imbues daily life with variety and spontaneity by creating an environment in which unexpected and unpredictable interactions and happenings can take place. This is the antidote to boredom.
  6. Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opportunity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health.
  7. Medical treatment should be the servant of genuine human caring, never its master.
  8. An Elder-centered community honors its Elders by de-emphasizing top-down bureaucratic authority, seeking instead to place the maximum possible decision-making authority into the hands of the Elders or into the hands of those closest to them.
  9. Creating an Elder-centered community is a never-ending process. Human growth must never be separated from human life.          
  10. Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any struggle against the three plagues. For it, there can be no substitute.  
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