Pet Love Shack
     For many people, life in a nursing home can cause serious depression. They are no longer independent, and it can be very boring. A unique program could make nursing homes a much nicer place to be.
     When Anna Griffin first arrived at National Health Care Center she was angry and depressed. That all changed when she got Peter and Susie.
     Anna Griffin, Nursing Home Resident:  "I got something to do now. I got my birds. Iím not lonely."
     The center has a program called "Eden Alternative." The idea is to put the "home" back in nursing homes by letting residents care for gardens and animals.
     John Morley, M.D., Gerontologist, St. Louis University Medical Center, St. Louis, MO:
     "As soon as the animals arrived people who spent their time in their rooms started coming out. People who were very depressed began to smile. There was a lot more interaction and perhaps most excitingly, young children started to come in to visit their grandparents."
     Eden Alternative is designed to spark activity and alleviate feelings of helplessness that many residents find in nursing homes. It works. Depression is down, participation is up and patients are more satisfied.
     Mary Markmueller, Nursing Home Resident:
     "When we were little we had a lot of chickens, and I always used to favor one of the Rhode Island Reds."
     Eden Alternative triggers fond memories, and administrators hope it creates an environment that feels less like a nursing home.
     Jennifer Gettman, Administrator, National Health Care Center, St. Louis, MO:
     "We were touring a potential residentís family, and the resident turned to the social worker and asked, ĎDo you have to be ill to live here?í"
     Another Eden Alternative home is in New York. By the way, not all animals work out so well. The pot bellied pigs were a mess and had to go...and some goats jumped the fence and ate the lawn furniture.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Eden Alternative, Inc.
RR1 Box 31B4, Sherburne, NY 13460
(607) 674-5232
John Morley, M.D., Geriatric Division
St. Louis University Medical Center
1402 Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63104
(314) 577-8462


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