Tuesday, December 27, 2011


GILT-EDGED BY ASSOCIATION. One of the most effective ways to enhance an organization’s reputation is to establish connections with highly regarded institutions, causes, values, even words.

Eskaton’s public relations’ endeavors include the constant pursuit of golden or gilt-edged associations – those that resonate favorably with the general public as well as with the organization’s mission and targeted audiences. For example:

§   The Eskaton Kids Connection partners schoolchildren with residents in our communities. This association with local public schools demonstrates that Eskaton values education and social engagement throughout the aging process.

§   To share our appreciation for veterans, Eskaton produced West Sacramento’s first-ever Veterans Day Parade, which established a high-profile association between the small town’s military heroes and Eskaton.

§   Eskaton’s Thrill of a Lifetime initiative “makes dreams come true” for our older adult residents; and vicariously associates Eskaton with hope, enthusiasm and purposeful longevity.

§   Longevity Rules, the 2010 book edited and published by Eskaton, features essays by 34 nationally renowned experts on longevity. The project advanced Eskaton’s national stature as a credible, impartial resource for policy shapers, academicians, healthcare professionals … and consumers.

The influence cultivated through the associative process continues to be one of the most dependable tools in the public relations professional’s toolbox.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


ALZHEIMER’S THERAPY NOT FOR DUMMIES. Pet therapy. Yes. Music therapy. Sounds good. Humor therapy. Good for a laugh and healthy. But ventriloquism therapy? Hmmm? AARP Bulletin reports that several care providers are using ventriloquism to connect with and engage Alzheimer’s patients.

“Some respond by touching or kissing the characters while delighting in the ‘second childhood,’” says one of the ventriloquists on behalf of her dummy friends.

Time for a reality check: Yes, it is advised to meet Alzheimer’s patients in their own reality, whether it be talking to dolls or believing one to be their own child. That said, therapy should not be patronizing, nor should it simply encourage living in the past. Can Ed Sullivan reruns with Topo Gigio be far behind!?

Alzheimer’s patients are adults who deserve to be treated with dignity, with adult children who yearn to experience what time they have left with their parent … in the present, as often as possible.

Alzheimer’s patients do benefit from many creative therapies. Of the most empathic, the response should be for individuals and families to appreciate each new day, to anticipate the future, and to respect their wonderful memories; and not simply relive their past. This is the challenge and reward each day with Eskaton's "Dawn of a New Day" Memory Care Centers

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


ESKATON EMBRACES GENERATIVITY. Eskaton embraces the philosophy of generativity -- one generation helping the next -- by practicing comprehensive resource conservation. Energy and water use efficiencies, solar power, recycling, ridesharing and biodegradable cleaning products are commonplace. Eskaton’s promotion of “green living” extends to our Livable Design by Eskaton guidelines for builders as well.

Another, growing commitment to sustainable development is the proliferation of urban gardens in Eskaton communities. Residents in independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, affordable apartments, even memory care enthusiastically tend to the seasonal vegetables. The bounties are then shared amongst residents, staff and neighbors.
Learn more about the Eskaton Ecology Initiaitive.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


CAREFUL NOT TO BE A “SLAVE” TO RESEARCH. As useful as attitudinal surveys can be, there is a risk to becoming a “slave” to public opinion research. Results from tracking politics, marketing or issues, oblige interested parties to make judgment calls, especially when the findings contradict a planned course of action. The choices then are to: 1) change direction to follow the results, or 2) stay the course and commit to adjusting public opinion to follow what is believed to be a better path.

More often than not, and usually with some angst, courses are changed. This option, though, is more suspect and complicated when survey responses are based on speculation about the future.

A perfect example, related to “aging,” is the proliferation of surveys indicating most all Baby Boomers want to age in their own homes, not in “retirement” or skilled nursing communities. At Eskaton our anecdotal research among residents contradicts this attitude and has prompted us to plan to quantify these findings by surveying our full population of 3,000.

Of our sampling of residents, whose average age is 83, none planned to live in our communities when they were healthy 65-year-olds (which is significant because most Baby Boomer surveys measure opinions of people 65 and younger). Conversely, now that they’ve experienced “community living,” the most common response is “I wish I would have done this sooner.”

To further marginalize the value of many attitudinal surveys, ask who can say with certainty what they will want or need 20 years into their future. In fact, many of us think differently today than yesterday. It is human nature to reprocess as we gain more information and adjust to new circumstances.

Eskaton accepts that most people will always prefer to age in their own homes; and we now provide an array of home support services and even offer “livable design” counsel to homebuilders. But, at the same time, we continue to prepare our communities for the 5-10 percent (of the 78 million individuals) in the next generation of older adults who, as history repeats, will eventually want or need the health and social benefits of our community living options.

As Mark Twain infamously quipped, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” Not that we’re calling anyone liars, but we’re not acknowledging anyone’s fortunetelling credentials either. We’re just keeping our head in the game so  as you round the bases and head home, we’ll be ready.