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Our Eden

What makes the Eden Alternative so important to us?


The Eden Alternative is a fresh philosophy of personal, organisational and environmental transformation founded by Dr. William Thomas, a Harvard-trained physician.


Since the late 1990s, it has been changing the way hospitals and homes are being developed and managed by progressive care organisations around the world.

The core concept of the Eden Alternative is simple: Care environments are habitats for human beings that should promote health, wellbeing and growth rather than facilities where the frail and elderly stagnate and decline.

The Eden Alternative shows us how human companionship, animals, children and plants help in providing an opportunity for a meaningful contribution and care. Essentially, it contributes to preventing and eliminating the aged care plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom.

The Eden Alternative approach is encapsulated in ten principles that form part of a rigorous learning, implementation and registration process instituted by the international, not-for-profit Eden Alternative organisation.

Since adopting the Eden Alternative, Knox residents have had a higher level of wellbeing and we experience lower staff
turnover. Knox is much more lively and spirited. There is
continuing evidence of more spontaneity, increased care and
family engagement.

Knox was New Zealand’s first fully-registered Eden Alternative home


Knox Home adopted the Eden Alternative in 2009. In 2012 we won the Seedling Award to become the first Australasian home to win an international Eden award. The Seedling Award recognises a home or community based service, new to the Eden Alternative journey that has demonstrated a level of commitment and progressiveness that challenges others to grow. Knox Home achieved full Eden Alternative registration in February 2014.

The Eden Alternative philosophy is perpetually central to the development of the Knox care model and impacts all facets of the site including redevelopment plans.

The Knox commitment to the Eden Alternative advances and is continually monitored by Eden in OZ&NZ.

Their robust appraisal process allows us to maintain our Eden Alternative’s Master Gardener status.


To learn more about the Eden Alternative visit


The 10 Eden Alternative


The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our Elders.


An Elder-centred community commits to creating a human habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with people of all ages and abilities, as well as plants and animals. It is these relationships that provide the young and old alike with a pathway to a life worth living.


Loving companionship is the antidote to loneliness. Elders deserve easy access to human and animal companionship.


An Elder-centred community creates opportunity to give as well as receive care. This is the antidote to helplessness.


An Elder-centred community imbues daily life with variety and spontaneity by creating an environment in which unexpected and unpredictable interactions and happenings can take place. This is the antidote to boredom.


Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opportunity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health.


Medical treatment should be the servant of genuine human caring, never its master.


An Elder-centred community honours its Elders by de-emphasising top-down bureaucratic authority, seeking instead to place the maximum possible decision-making authority into the hands of the Elders or into the hands of those closest to them.


Creating an Elder-centred community is a never-ending process. Human growth must never be separated from human life.


Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any struggle against the three plagues. For it, there can be no substitute.


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