Levin Home for War Vets leads the way

One of the principles of the Eden Alternative sees Levin Home for War Veterans encour- aging close and continuing contact with animals. Here one of the home’s residents is feeding the home’s rabbits and chickens
One of the principles of the Eden Alternative sees Levin Home for War Veterans encour- aging close and continuing contact with animals. Here one of the home’s residents is feeding the home’s rabbits and chickens

Levin Home for War Veterans is leading the way with the Eden Alternative philosophy in Horowhenua, having become one of just three aged care facilities in New Zealand to gain full Eden Alternative registry.

The Eden Alternative (Eden) is a unique elder-directed model of care that follows ten principles which work against the plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom.

Levin Home manager Joanna Thomson explains the Eden principles ensure the home’s commitment to creating an environment where everyday life is surrounded by variety and spontaneity, companionship, contact with children and animals, community contact and meaningful activity.

She says Levin Home for War Veterans is the only home in the Mid-Central District Health Board region, and the third in New Zealand to reach this pinnacle.

“We’re also the first home offering dementia care to achieve all ten principles, which is quite a feat,” says Joanna.

The home didn’t throw a celebration for their great achievement specifically; instead they treated it like any other day.

“Because Eden is a normal part of every day life here it was like any other day in our home – one full of happiness, spontaneity, companionship and meaningful activity.”

Joanna says achieving all 10 principles was a combined effort by elders, their families, volunteers, community and staff.

“It’s certainly a proud moment in our Eden journey and we did it through the home we have created, the companionship we have with one another, the love and care we give to each other and the fun, laughter and joy we all experience here.”

Enliven embarked on the Eden journey as an organisation in 2008 as a way of ensuring the organisation’s homes were focused on providing more than just top quality clinical care for residents.

“Instead of focusing on what people can’t do, we support residents to continue doing the things they’ve always done in a way that’s right for them,” says Joanna.

“The Eden Alternative puts our residents at the centre. It focuses on supporting elders to continue with their hobbies, passions and interests, to keep their independence, have companionship, meaningful activity and spontaneity in their lives, which is just as important as having quality clinical care.”

Joanna says obtaining the 10 Eden principles indicates Levin Home for War Veterans has met and maintained a high standard, but the focus on ensuring residents are supported to thrive, not just survive will continue.

Levin Home for War Veterans is operated by Enliven, part of the not-for-profit organisation Presbyterian Support Central, and provides rest home, hospital, dementia care, respite and health recovery care from its location on the corner of Prouse and Matai Streets in Levin.

For more information about Levin Home for War Veterans, call 06 366 0052 or visit www.enlivencentral.org.nz.