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Eden Alternative Tip of the Week: It Can Be Different – Bringing Meaning to Life

The Eden Alternative Principle Six states that “Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opportunity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health.” This Principle challenges our traditional approach to filling the Elders’ daily lives. Under the influence of the medical model, we believe that being busy means being fulfilled. Those seeing through Eden Eyes understand that more is not better. We need to individually honor the events in people’s lives. Events should be personalized to the home, the neighborhood, and to the individual. Everyone can play a part in finding meaning in daily life, not
just those with the word “activity” attached to their job description. Lastly, less is more when it comes to filling life with meaning. Here is a great example from the Sitka Pioneers’ Home in Alaska.
Ta’s New Connection: Her Computer
Let’s take a look at how reinventing the activities calendar, to focus more on individual needs, has dramatically enhanced the lives of Elders. Here is one example: Ta bought herself a laptop for her birthday about 6 months ago. She knew very little about how to operate it when she first got it. She depended on us to get a wireless router, so that she could access the internet from her room and get her email set up. After some time, she even got brave enough to tackle Facebook! Without the flexibility in our schedule, her skills would not have advanced so quickly. She found a class to take at the local library about basic computer operations, and she made sure to attend as many sessions as she could. She has fallen in love with the game of FreeCell, and takes full advantage of her ability to interact with her family, who live at a distance, and some of her friends from 40 years ago.

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