Ask any senior citizen what they desire most and it is usually to be able to stay in their home or community surrounded by friends and family. The goal of keeping seniors in their community can be a monumental task that can overwhelm a family. We are fortunate that private industry, government agencies and communities have been able to forge partnerships to support the dream of “aging in place” for our senior population.
Partnering for solutions
Part of the solution to keeping seniors close to home is Eskaton, a senior community management company based in Carmichael, CA. Eskaton manages a variety of senior living communities in northern California. Of particular interest to me are their 15 affordable housing communities – located as far north as Shasta County to their southern community in Manteca. These communities represent 1,024 affordable apartments, serving 1,223 seniors. The demand for affordable senior housing is so great that Eskaton has a waiting list of over 1,900 seniors.
The construction and management of affordable senior housing would not be possible without a coordinated partnership with agencies such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which offer rental assistance. Typically, under HUD’s Public Housing Program, the senior’s rent is 30% of their adjusted gross income at Eskaton’s affordable senior community facilities.
Setting the PACE to stay healthy
Another important partnership Eskaton has forged in the Sacramento area is with the Sutter SeniorCare PACE program. PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a specialized Medicare Advantage plan. PACE is a comprehensive health care plan that coordinates a range of medical services for our most frail and vulnerable seniors. A primary goal of the PACE plan is to help keep the seniors thriving so they can stay in their senior community and avoid having to transition to a skilled nursing facility.
You can’t watch TV all day long
So far, these partnerships have helped address the important need for a limited supply of quality affordable housing with supportive health plans where available. But that’s not the end of the road. There is wide range of activities and services seniors need to be healthy and active. In order to help support an active senior lifestyle the Eskaton Foundation has their Home Sweet Home Program. Donations to this program help fund critical services services such as fall-prevention classes, adult day care and respite services, companionship rides to life-sustaining appointments, and telephone reassurance. In 2010, the Eskaton Foundation distributed 52% of their funds to the Home Sweet Home programs and services.
Communities need to be multigenerational
It is vital that communities find a way to create and sustain affordable senior housing and programs. Seniors contribute in so many different ways from volunteering at local schools, being role models and mentors for children and adding to the tapestry we call community. Through collaborative partnerships such as the Eskaton Foundation, Sutter SeniorCare PACE, HUD and generous donors, communities throughout northern California are able to support affordable living accommodations and programs for their seniors.
For more information-
Eskaton Foundation please contact Kim Rhinehelder: [email protected] www.eskaton.org
Sutter SeniorCare PACE at 916-424-8412