Posted: December 28, 2023
No matter our age or changing abilities, our wellbeing is rooted in our sense of connection and purpose, and opportunity to continue to grow and learn and have our voices heard. Without those domains of wellbeing, as defined by the Eden Alternative, individuals are plagued by loneliness, helplessness and boredom. The Eden Alternative is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of older adults and those who care for them by transforming the communities where they live and work.
That philosophy, which focuses on moving away from the institutional hierarchical (medical) model of care into a constructive culture of “home” where older adults direct their own lives, guides the team at Dayspring Villa, an assisted living community in Denver’s Sloan’s Lake neighborhood. Here, several team members have participated in Eden Alternative training, and the impact has been profound.
When Cassandra Vialpando, the Community Life Coordinator at Dayspring Villa, returned to the community following her Eden training, she could not ignore some of the institutional habits that have always been. She cried for the first two days as she witnessed loneliness, helplessness, and boredom affecting the older adults in her community. She thought, “How can we work together (team members and residents) to change this?”
One change she soon adapted was having residents decide the activities they wished to see on the monthly calendar. At Dayspring Villa, team members continually seek input from residents not just about activities, but what type of social groups they want to have, how their community spaces are used and what type of community culture they want to nourish.
Grace Nailing, executive director at Dayspring Villa, credits the close-knit feel and sense of family the community has in large part to team members and residents living the Eden Alternative principles.
Those 10 principles support the seven domains of wellbeing that are the core fundamentals that we all need in our lives. Each domain is nourished and nurtured to the fullest for the ultimate health and well-being of the resident.
“Following Eden inspires team members and motivates them to engage more with residents and to recognize this is their home. They aren’t here to just check things off their task list.”
Nailing adds Eden inspires them to work together with residents to improve everyone’s wellbeing. Earlier this year residents expressed that they wished to revamp their library space. One resident took on creating a new floor plan for the community’s third-floor lobby. Together, residents decided to host an Art Show to serve as a fundraiser to help pay for new shelving, lamps, chairs and side tables.
The entire project has been resident-led with team members in a support role and has provided a strong sense of purpose for residents and also a great deal of pride, says Nailing.
That’s just one example of the culture at Dayspring.
Nailing plans to have more team members participate in Eden Alternative training in the coming months, thanks to donations to support such training. As part of Christian Living Communities, a nonprofit organization, Dayspring is supported in part through donations. Such support provides special training for team members, like the Eden Certified Associate Training, that enriches the lives of older adults and the communities where they live.
This year such support also helped with the newly revamped library as well as improvements to the community’s outdoor spaces.
If you’d like to learn more about how donations make a difference at Dayspring Villa and Christian Living Communities, please contact Stephanie Manley, Director of Philanthropy, or Stormie Foust Maley, Annual Giving Manager. You can also make a gift online today to support Dayspring Villa.