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Dr. Bill Thomas is a professor at UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging, a musician, an author of six books and a world-renowned authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare. In his quest to reshape long-term care globally, Bill founded The Eden Alternative, a global non-profit with a philosophy of radical critique of long-term care and creative ways to “change the culture” of nursing homes. The Eden Alternative now has affiliates in Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, Europe, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Bill also founded the Green House Project, a radical alternative to nursing homes that creates small, intentional communities where 7-10 elders and staff focus on living full and vibrant lives. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently awarded $15 million to support rapid replication of the model.

Bill has won several awards, including the Ashoka Fellowship, America’s Award, Heinz Award and Giraffe Award. He has been interviewed by CNN, 48 Hours, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fast Company, The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek Magazine, Time Magazine, and The CBS Early Show. US News World Report Magazine chose Bill as one of “America’s Best Leaders.”

Full Profile

“What we need is a radical reinterpretation of longevity that makes elders (and their needs) central to our collective pursuit of happiness and well-being.” – Dr. Bill Thomas

Dr. Bill Thomas is a visionary leader in the online Changing Aging movement and a world-renowned authority on geriatric medicine and eldercare. Bill is founder of two movements to reshape long-term care globally – The Eden Alternative and Green House Project.

Bill’s Eden Alternative philosophy put forward a radical critique of long-term care and offered a creative way to “change the culture” of nursing homes by bringing growth and laughter into the lives of elders. Now a global non-profit, the Eden Alternative has affiliates in Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom and all 50 states. Bill continues to serve as president.

A self-described “nursing-home abolitionist”, Bill recognized that America’s nursing home buildings are “aging faster than the people living inside them.” This led him to imagine a radical alternative to nursing homes that became known as the Green House® Project. The model creates small, intentional communities where 7-10 elders and staff focus on living full and vibrant lives. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded $15 million to support rapid replication of the model in all 50 states.

Recipient of numerous awards, including the Ashoka Fellowship, America’s Award, Heinz Award and Giraffe Award, Bill is also a professor at UMBC’s Erickson School of Aging, a musician, author of six books and an insatiable social media consumer and blogger.

Bill is frequently interviewed by a broad range of television, radio and print media including CNN, 48 Hours, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fast Company ,The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek Magazine, Time Magazine, The CBS Early Show, and was chosen by US News World Report Magazine as one of “America′s best leaders”


Bill Thomas Speaker Videos Back to top

TEDxSF - Bill Thomas - Elderhood Rising: The Dawn of a New World Age


In his presentation at "TEDx San Francisco", Bill discusses how few geriatricians are currently practicing in the aging society of the U.S., including himself. This, Thomas said, is due to ageism. He explained that ageism is acceptable in society today, saying, “If you go around making jokes based on another person’s gender, that’s sexism; if you make jokes about another person’s race, that’s racism; but if you joke about somebody’s age, that’s called ‘situation comedy.’”

Thomas added that all of the leading “experts” on aging are “anti-aging gurus.” He concluded that aging is treated as a “technical problem” in American society. However, he said, “It’s not a technical problem, it’s a design problem.

Keynote Speech



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


    Suggested Programs:

    • Creating an Elder-Rich Society: Aging in Community
    • What Are Old People For? How Elders will Save the World
    • Eldertopia: The Rise of a New Old Age
    • Communities by Intention, Families by Affection: The Rise of a New Old Age
    • Effective Medication Management in an Aging Society
    • Health Care in the 21st Century- Rediscovering the Art of Caring
    • Wise Use: A biopsycosocial perspective on the epidemic of polypharmacy
    • Reducing Poly-Pharmacy in Elders
    • Making Home: The Blending of Age and Community
    • Be here Now: Time, Space, hope and Healing at the End of Life
    • Transforming the Culture of Aging Toward a New Old Age




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    Suggested Programs:

    • Creating an Elder-Rich Society: Aging in Community
    • What Are Old People For? How Elders will Save the World
    • Eldertopia: The Rise of a New Old Age
    • Communities by Intention, Families by Affection: The Rise of a New Old Age
    • Effective Medication Management in an Aging Society
    • Health Care in the 21st Century- Rediscovering the Art of Caring
    • Wise Use: A biopsycosocial perspective on the epidemic of polypharmacy
    • Reducing Poly-Pharmacy in Elders
    • Making Home: The Blending of Age and Community
    • Be here Now: Time, Space, hope and Healing at the End of Life
    • Transforming the Culture of Aging Toward a New Old Age


TEDxSF - Bill Thomas - Elderhood Rising: The Dawn of a New World Age


In his presentation at "TEDx San Francisco", Bill discusses how few geriatricians are currently practicing in the aging society of the U.S., including himself. This, Thomas said, is due to ageism. He explained that ageism is acceptable in society today, saying, “If you go around making jokes based on another person’s gender, that’s sexism; if you make jokes about another person’s race, that’s racism; but if you joke about somebody’s age, that’s called ‘situation comedy.’”

Thomas added that all of the leading “experts” on aging are “anti-aging gurus.” He concluded that aging is treated as a “technical problem” in American society. However, he said, “It’s not a technical problem, it’s a design problem.

Keynote Speech