Daniela Simmons, Founder and President of DANIEL DOMES offered this comment as a followup to her experience with the recent Eden Alternative International Conference.
She also gives us a heads up on some of her latest plans.
I wish her well.
I have been an advocate of culture change, ethical and quality care and
implementing a family and home environment instead of the institutional
concept of elderly care over the past 6 years, and held a manager’s
position in an extremely conservative setting in the state of Texas.
When dealing with business driven corporate management, implementing a
resident-centered concept as a priority is very difficult, sometimes
impossible. This experience clearly brought me to the conclusion that
the change is possible if it starts from the top management down, if it
is the basic mission and vision of the organization from the beginning.
That is why I decided to start my own organization for elderly care (the
first house for 10 seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia will open in
I am in a doctoral program in gerontology, and I did broad research on
Culture Change – regulatory strategies, policies and regulations,
history and best practices. Several months ago I found information about
the Eden Alternative conference and signed up immediately, including my
11 old son Daniel, too, as a part of the “Building Bridges” program.
Being for years very lonely in my belief about how elderly care should
be provided, it was an amazing emotional and professional experience to
spend three days with 500 other open-minded people, building a different
future of aging.
I believe that every person deserves to age with high quality care and
in a warm family and home environment. Old age should be as enjoyable as
any other season of human life. This is a major issue that needs to be
addressed by everyone – caregivers, professionals and policymakers. We
need to realize how we want to live in our old age and ensure the same
for those that are already experiencing it.