About Us



In 1991 Dr. William Thomas, a Harvard educated physician, began work on an exciting approach to long-term care that creates energy, vitality and a love of life within the nursing home. The Eden Alternative is based on the simple realization that human beings are not naturally suited to life in an institution.

The concept Dr. Thomas envisioned was to improve the quality of life for people who live and work in long-term care facilities. This new way of thinking teaches us to see nursing homes as habitats for human beings, rather than institutions for the frail and elderly.

The Eden Alternative seeks to eliminate the three plagues of long-term care institutions: loneliness, helplessness and boredom. We want to show others how companion animals, the opportunity to care for other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail. Our goal is to weave together the philosophy of the Eden Alternative with practical applications and make it work in the real world of long-term care.

The Eden Alternative is not a program, but a never-ending process. It places the maximum possible decision-making power in the hands of the residents and those who work closest to them. It provides residents with easy access to companionship, promotes resident participation in daily life happenings, puts the resident before tasks and de-emphasizes the programmed approach to life. Relationships are the fundamental building blocks of our culture and we believe that each person can and does make a difference.

SEM Haven is a registered Eden Alternative home.