Jude Thomas, who cofounded the Eden Alternative, uses a phrase I dearly love to describe the idea that a person can be a place of rest and grounding for another: “human sanctuary.” In the work we do at Vista Living Care, our hope is to always be this for elders and families.
The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP released a joint study in 2015 that found 43.5 million people in the United States were caregivers; of those, 33 million were caring for other adults, and 6.8 million were caring for both children and adults. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.7 million people face Alzheimer’s disease, and 16.1 million people provide unpaid care for them, which is valued at more than $232 billion per year. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 70 percent of all adults in the United States over the age of 65 will need hands-on care in their lifetimes, and the World Health Organization predicts that the number of people needing daily hands-on care will triple by 2050.
While twenty years of our professional lives have been devoted to being,in many forms, caregiver’s to elders facing dementia,this is not a clinical study of memory loss or a resource guide to dementia—or Down syndrome. Nor is it a palliative care or hospice care manual. Instead, our hope is that by sharing information and stories, this book will encourage all of us to celebrate hope for the people we love and examine questions and dreams for making the future better for elders, families, and caregivers of all kinds.
Dedicated to the countless number of elders, families, friends, and neighbors near and far who have walked this journey with us over the past twenty years, from lovely Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and throughout our great state of New Mexico, from Ohio, and from the Netherlands, Britain, and Colombia, who have entrusted us to walk through this forest with them. We have shared laughs, tears, stories, and great food in our lovely homes.
Sierra Vista Alzheimer’s Community was the first assisted living in the great state of New Mexico to be inducted into the Eden Alternative Registry. Eden Alternative is an international movement dedicated to truly changing the culture of how we care for our elders. In essence, is the honor society for long-term care dedicated to transforming the culture of care; being a part of this registry makes a public statement about our commitment to the journey of change.