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Life Worth Living
How Someone You Love Can Still Enjoy Life in a Nursing Home
The Eden Alternative in Action

by William H. Thomas, M.D.

From the Introduction

This book is an attack on conventional nursing home practice. I am not interested in hairsplitting disputes over contemporary methods, policies, or procedures. Rather, my concern is with the flawed definition of caring that underlies contemporary nursing home care and management.
Current practice in long-term care is based on a confusion of care, treatment, and kindness. Lying at the root of this confusion is the medical model's fixation on diagnosis and treatment. It guarantees that the majority of our resources are spent on the war against disease when, in fact, loneliness, helplessness, and boredom steadily decay our nursing home residents' spirit. A genuine commitment to improving residents quality of life demands that we correct these problems.

The Eden Alternative is a new way of thinking about nursing homes. It employs the principles of ecology and anthropology in the struggle to improve residents' quality of life. It encourages the leaders of nursing homes to think less like administrators and more like naturalists. Finally, it summons us all to construct vibrant, supple human habitats in which residents can live.
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