Friday, April 3, 2009

Bringing the elders back into Eden

Yesterday on NPR's Talk of the Nation, Dr. Bill Thomas describes a new kind of nursing home that he developed called Eden Alternatives:
Well you know how I think about this, it has to do with a question of risk. If you look back on the story of the garden Eden, risk was an important part of the picture. You had this sort of paradise and at the center of it was risk. And that's really what made it really a human environment--the first Eden. And one of the problems we have with nursing homes in America is we try to take all risk away from the elders and to protect them to a degree that in some cases can be smothering. One thing that we teach is that the only risk-free human environment is a coffin, and we'll all be there soon enough. So risk is a part of the garden, and it needs to be kept as part of the garden.

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