Tuesday, November 29, 2011


WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A REAL IDEALIST.  U.S. copyright law protects original works of authorship. This excludes, as the government website (randomly) makes note: band names and Elvis sightings, as well as methods of doing something … and ideas. In the case of the latter, the idea, the intent of this qualification was dramatically clarified by the Mark Zuckerberg character in “Social Network,” who scornfully replied to the Winklevoss brothers’ claim that Facebook was their idea: “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.”

The pretext is that ideas are a dime-a-dozen. But that it takes ingenuity, perseverance and hard work to bring words to life, which is why so many enthusiastically proposed “great ideas” never leave the launch pad. As management expert Peter Drucker famously warned, “Every great idea eventually deteriorates into work.”

Conference presenters at several recent aging services gatherings spoke of age-friendly cities of the future; life-changing new assistive technologies; breath-taking robotics; and other responses to positively influence the longevity revolution. For sure, to transform anything, let alone something as significant as our aging experience, requires such vision. But it also requires commitment. The true visionaries throughout history – Gutenberg, Edison, Jobs, Zuckerberg, etc. – were also realists and painstakingly turned their visions and ideas into action.

To succeed as a creative thinker, one cannot be discouraged by the immense challenge of birthing ideas … or distracted by the false praise heaped upon idea posers. After it’s all said and done, “You are what you do, not what you say.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


HUMOR THERAPY IS A (GOOD) JOKE. George Burns famously deadpanned, “When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.”  And Henny Youngman joked, “I’m so old that when I order a three-minute egg, they make me pay up front.” Self-deprecation is funny … and healthy, too.

The most recent validation of laughter being the best medicine comes from the University of South Wales in Australia. In 36 Australian residential care communities, therapists with comedy and improvisation training shared 12 weeks of playful interactions with residents. The results were a 20 percent reduction in agitated behavior among residents with dementia. The humor therapy helped reduce “physical and verbal aggression, wandering, screaming, and repetitive behaviors and questions,” according to the research team. And, researchers note, the happiness and positive behavior remained lower through the 26-week follow up.

So smile when someone tells you, “You’re so old your blood type was discontinued.” You may just get the last laugh.

Monday, November 14, 2011


ESKATON REIGNS ON VETERANS PARADE. Emotions registered off-the-scale at West Sacramento’s Veterans Day Parade, the first in recent history. Several thousand residents lined the small town’s streets and attended the official ceremony afterward to honor local heroes. Veterans from all eras of combat and all branches of the military participated. But it was perhaps most poignant for the Vietnam veterans, who experienced their first such recognition. “‘My Parade’ was a very soothing moment in my life,” one Vietnam vet explained.

Eskaton presented the parade as a public service, part of its Veterans Appreciation Initiative, to honor all war veterans, including the hundreds who reside in its communities throughout Northern California and particularly the several dozen at Eskaton Wilson Manor in West Sacramento.

Though Eskaton’s role as Parade sponsor was intentionally low-profile, the organization’s commitment of time and resources was more than compensated by recognition from attending government officials, voluminous coverage by local news media, and most importantly by the appreciation of proud veterans and their grateful families and neighbors.  Watch news report.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


ESKATON APPRECIATES VETERANS. This Friday, November 11, Eskaton goes the extra mile, literally, to show appreciation to our country’s veterans, including the more than 300 who live in Eskaton communities throughout Northern California. Dozens of military veterans, marching bands, scout troops, cheer squads, antique autos and vintage military vehicles will travel through West Sacramento as a salute to veterans in the city’s first official Veterans Day Parade.

More than a participant, Eskaton is presenting the entire event -- from start to finish; the permitting, production, promotion and the actual Parade and ceremonies afterwards. The brainchild of Debbie Reynolds, whose father served the country in Vietnam, began as a way to pay tribute to several dozen war veterans residing at Eskaton Wilson Manor, the West Sacramento affordable apartments with a special “veterans preference,” which she administers.

Interest and enthusiasm has exceeded expectations, and the Parade boasts more than 600 participants, including a crew responsible for a 60-foot-long 1966 Huey gunship helicopter. Several thousand people are anticipated to join this very deserving “salute to veterans” this Friday. And while Eskaton’s role in the Parade may be behind-the-scenes, it is an honor to be front-and-center in demonstrating our appreciation to veterans. Get Parade details at http://www.eskaton.org/.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


ESKATON EXPOSES THE TRUTH. Eskaton’s policy to always feature actual residents in promotional materials reflects our commitment to “truth-in-advertising” as well as our sense of pride in the people we serve. You probably won’t recognize our TV and print “stars” unless you happen upon them during a visit to one of our communities – where they have achieved minor celebrity status.

Granted, Eskaton residents may not all look as silver-haired, tanned, fit, perpetually cheery and conveniently diverse as the models in the stock photos that appear and reappear in many “active aging” promotions. That said, we’re fairly certain our prospective consumers do know that, unlike Santa Claus, these attractive folks cannot truthfully be everywhere at once.

So we’ll just continue to opt for sharing reality over imaginary in our places, programs, promotions and people. You may see a flaw every now and then, but then we can’t all be “perfect.”