If any place in the world needs hugs, kisses, and laughter, it is the traditional nursing home. One gerontologist, William H. Thomas, hopes to change all that with his Eden Alternative and Green House concepts for extended care.
In the 1990s, Thomas’ Eden Alternative concept called for making the sterile atmosphere of the nursing home more like a real home with plants, pets, and children, and letting residents care more for themselves, with the help of the staff.
The Green Houses are family-size homes of ten residents or fewer, each with private bedrooms and baths around a common area including the kitchen and laundry facility! They have porches and outdoor gardens. All meals are taken together with staff and visitors in a family atmosphere. Quality of life for the elderly has dramatically improved in the Green Houses already in place. Seniors who were in wheel chairs are walking, seniors who were solitary are talking and seniors who were not eating now have an appetite. The director of the Green House in Tupelo, Mississippi, has reported that through something as simple as enabling Green House residents to smell the bacon cooking, the small pleasures of life are restored. Those small pleasures are what hope and life and love are made of. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).
No man, woman, or child is an island.
- Touch reduces physical stress ad is associated with healing.
- Human beings are wired for affection – from birth to death.
- Laughter flows naturally from love and affection.
Remember: Love, affection, touch, and laughter are literally good medicine!
If you’d like to dig deeper into my journey of discovering God’s plan for health and wellness, check out my book, Made For Paradise: God’s Original Plan for Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Rest.