ESKATON RESIDENTS sit and relax in the common area on a sunny afternoon. Left to right, Rhea Landes, 95, Sam Shurtleff, 82, Margie Luba, 80 and Betty Palladino, 85. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

Healthy Trends 2014

At Eskaton Village Placerville, the sky is no limit

By From page HT11 | January 24, 2014

Sitting high on a hill above Broadway is an Eskaton multiservice retirement community called Eskaton Village Placerville. It is located on what appears to be a private street but it is in reality Blairs Lane. When you reach the end you will find a modern, picturesque village of beautiful cottages and apartments. While development started some seven years ago, the latest phase called the Cottages was completed only a few months ago and they are already half occupied.

Eskaton, founded in 1968 as a non-profit corporation, had a vision and if this new community is the culmination of the last 45 years of providing the highest level of retirement communities at various levels of senior care, then they have succeeded in spades. If you have wondered where “Eskaton” comes from it is Greek meaning “the end of an era and the dawn of a new age.”

While Eskaton owns 25 communities in Northern California offering everything from independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care, the Placerville village is limited to independent living, assisted living and memory care.

Touring the 65-acre campus allowed Pamela Dallas, one of two sales counselors, to show off the exquisite grounds near the independent living cottages which featured putting greens, a croquet court, a special dog park and the Village Common. There is plenty of parking as about half the residents drive. If you don’t there is a van and a small bus for things like shopping, doctor appointments, entertainment and trips. There are even golf carts to get around the campus.

“People in cottages want a simpler, easier lifestyle. They want to have fun and no housekeeping,” said Dallas. The cottages, which start at $2,250 a month, run anywhere from 314 square feet for a studio to 855 square feet for a two-bedroom, two-bath unit. All cottages are beautifully appointed with flat screen TVs, stacked washers and dryers and weekly housekeeping service. Rent includes all utilities, cable TV and Internet. And the cottages come with a meal ticket, which means if you don’t like to cook you get 45 meals a month included which you can eat in the Lodge restaurant or they will bring it to you to enjoy in your home. If you want more meals, you can buy more.

The village center has a heated pool and spa plus a fitness center, pool table and gathering rooms and a TV room with a big screen TV. And there are smaller activity rooms in the Lodge.

In the Lodge building are the apartments for assisted living residents and memory care. They range in size from over 400 square feet to nearly 600 square feet. Eskaton’s staff with respect to memory care has specific training to work with residents who have Alzheimer’s and other memory loss issues.

“I love working with people and their families. These are the best residents anywhere and it is a joy to interact with them. It’s like going on vacation,” said Dallas. “Being here keeps people more active.”

Food is a priority at Eskaton. “Ashlie Crandall, who is the Food Service director is amazing. She comes up with healthy food that is innovative and delicious and that is not an easy task,” said Dallas. Eskaton caters to a variety of dietary needs and everything is low sodium.

Entering the Lodge, one resident said to another headed in to eat, “tonight’s menu was really good and it’s going fast.” Both wore big smiles, something noticed on all the resident’s faces.

Dallas said that Eskaton is a happy place to be. Staff is happy and they really enjoy working here. Everyone, residents included, has a great time. And that is reflected in the last Holleran survey (an independent company which ranks elder care facilities) that ranked Eskaton Village Placerville in the top 3 percent nationally.

“Residents here have a wonderful experience, providing great socialization which people love and need,” said Dallas. Besides all the amenities, which even include a hair salon, there are entertainment and event parties. There are festivities and parties for Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year, 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day and just about every other holiday.

“If there is no holiday, Eskaton simply comes up with one to have a party or an event. There are Academy Award parties, Super Bowl parties, World Series parties and this year’s Olympics looks to be huge,” said Dallas. “The kitchen makes food and drinks and there are decorations to fit the event.”

There are bridge groups, scrabble teams and the residents are most interesting. One opened the first post office in an Alaska town, another served on submarines, while another is a retired college professor.

Profits from Eskaton operations go to a non-profit foundation which helps senior citizens without the resources who need help.

Larry Weitzman

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