A recent interview with Jill Vitale-Aussem, President and CEO of The Eden Alternative®, reveals the challenges and triumphs of her own journey as the Executive Director of a senior living community. Prior to working for The Eden Alternative, she experienced firsthand the empowerment that communities practicing this approach offer older people, as compared to traditional, institutional senior living options.
In her book, Disrupting the Status Quo of Senior Living: A Mindshift, Jill explains her passion and drive for creating environments where older people are in control of their own lives and have influence in the communities where they live, rather than leaving all of the decisions up to management and staff members. Jill firmly believes this improves the quality of life for people living and working in these communities and leads to better outcomes for residents, team members, and the overall organization.
Ultimately, the book, published by Health Professions Press, focuses on encouraging providers of aging services to shift their focus from service provision to creating vibrant cultures of possibility, purpose, growth and inclusion.
Service providers learn quickly that The Eden Alternative is not a cookie cutter, “check a box” program, but rather an organizational shift in the way that people think, behave, and work together. The Eden Alternative has found that success comes when an organization educates a critical mass of team members and prepares the leadership team to drive meaningful and effective change.
“When the powerful momentum of change is underway,” says Jill, “organizations experience improvements in occupancy, quality measures, team member retention and financial outcomes.”
Jill discusses the impact of The Eden Alternative on the team members that provide direct care for elders saying “It brings them back to why they got into this work.” In a field where workforce is an ongoing challenge, bringing people back to the purpose behind their work is critical. Jill has found that leaders and team members actively seek out the type of culture and environment that is created through the Eden Alternative principles and practices.
About Jill Vitale-Aussem:
For over two decades, Jill has made changing the culture of nursing homes, assisted living communities and retirement communities her life’s work, as an administrator, executive director and vice president of operations. In each role, Jill pushed back against the status quo and drove deep cultural transformation in both for-profit and non-profit organizations.
These efforts not only improved the quality of life for the people who lived and worked in her communities but led to significant improvements in occupancy, financial and regulatory outcomes.
Jill now serves as President & CEO of The Eden Alternative®, an international non-profit dedicated to creating quality of life for elders and their care partners, no matter where they may live.
In 2018, The Eden Alternative impacted the lives of 100,000 people in sixteen countries around the world. Jill is the author of Disrupting the Status Quo of Senior Living: A Mindshift and speaks internationally on topics including organizational culture, leadership and ageism.