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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A place like this : a study of elders’ perceptins (sic) of living in a care home that has adopted the Eden Alternative philosophy of care Martinez, Angela Anna

Abstract

Care facilities for elders have been guided by a medical model of care, with a focus on physical conditions. The Eden Alternative (EA) philosophy is being introduced in many facilities in attempt to move beyond the medical model and address psychosocial needs. However, little research exists to demonstrate its impact on the day-to-day lives of the residents living in these facilities. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how the EA has influenced the lives of elders in facilities. Data was generated through personal interviews with 9 participants from two facilities that are committed to adopting the philosophy of care. Three dominant ideas emerged from the data in response to the research question. First, the philosophy did influence participants' lives in three meaningful ways: (1) through opportunities for personal choice (2) through opportunities to maintain personal identity and (3) through opportunities for caring. However, the second idea that emerged related to the extent to which the philosophy had infiltrated the day-to-day experience of living in a care facility. Specifically, according to participants' stories, the philosophy's goal of creating a sense of home or community was not yet realized. Finally, the third major idea that emerged was that the presence of two competing societal discourses that both supported and/or competed with the implementation of the Eden Alternative philosophy: life is what you make it and I am old and useless. Recommendations for practice highlight the importance of learning elders' life stories but also recognize that health professionals need to raise questions about our current societal discourses of aging and long-term care and can use the Eden Alternative philosophy to begin to reconstruct discourses that recognize elders as valuable, contributors to our society.

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