The nonprofit, known as Eskaton, began in the 1960s when several members of the Disciples of Christ Church in Oakland, California, formed a charitable organization to provide health care, housing and other services to seniors and their families. The name Eskaton was drawn from the Greek language and interpreted to mean "the dawning of a new day."
In 1968, Eskaton took its first step with the acquisition of American River Hospital in Carmichael, California. Several other northern California hospitals later became part of Eskaton.
By the early 1970s, Eskaton assumed management of an apartment complex for low-income families and seniors in San Diego. Eskaton no longer offers family housing, but the San Diego experience was the seed that later grew into the continuum of care for seniors, which now includes housing and a wide range of other services.
Assisted living was added when the company acquired Annadale Manor in Sacramento. Eskaton no longer operates Annadale Manor, but assisted living and memory care have become major components of the company's service portfolio and are part of several Eskaton Villages and Lodges.
In 1978, Eskaton added skilled nursing with the opening of Eskaton Manzanita Manor in Carmichael. The company had previously managed similar facilities, but Manzanita Manor was built to Eskaton's specifications and included features not commonly found in these settings. Eskaton now has four skilled nursing facilities providing rehabilitation and 24-hour nursing care.
Eskaton was able to offer affordable, independent-living housing to seniors with restricted incomes with the opening of President Thomas Jefferson Manor in Sacramento in 1978. Eskaton now provides Affordable Housing with services funded by Section 8 rent subsides from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, at several locations in northern California. Many of these communities were developed in partnership with the local cities and counties which provided advocacy, support and, in some cases, funding.
In the early 1980s, Eskaton added in-home and community-based health care and now provides these services through Eskaton Home Health and a daytime program for seniors at Eskaton Adult Day Health Center Carmichael.
Another community-based program, The Senior Connection (1987), hosted classes for the public on a variety of topics relevant to seniors, from stress to travel to Alzheimer's disease. The Senior Connection provided guidance in locating senior resources, including information on health care, housing, social, legal and financial services available in the community. This program grew into what is today called the Information and Assistance program, which offers free resources to anyone calling 866-eskaton with questions about senior issues.
In the mid-1980s, Eskaton decided to leave the hospital business in order to focus solely on the development of senior programs and to broaden the range of services targeted to seniors. From 1987 through 1991, Eskaton was affiliated with Alta Bates Corporation. During that period, Eskaton operated 15 nursing facilities, a senior living complex and a pharmacy in the bay Area.
In 1992, Eskaton Village Carmichael opened as the first continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in the Sacramento area, offering cottage and apartment living as well as assisted living and skilled nursing services to approximately 500 residents.
Since 1996, Eskaton's Telephone Reassurance has been one way the company fulfills its social responsibility commitment to the Sacramento area. Volunteers make daily calls to hundreds of seniors who live alone and risk becoming isolated.There is no charge for this program.
Other community-based, fee-for-service programs were introduced in the early 2000s.
- Eskaton Aging Matters program (2003) offers senior care coordination and consultation to seniors, their family members, trust officers, and other with caregiver responsibilities.
- Eskaton Moving Connection (2004) assists seniors and their families with moving to a senior living community or from one residence to another within a community.
- Eskaton Companionship Plus (2005) provides escorted transportation to activities, medical appointments and special events.
Eskaton Village Grass Valley, a multiservice retirement community, opened in 2002 with a homeownership option as well as rental apartments and assisted living. In response to the success of this retirement community model, two similar communities (Eskaton Village Placerville and Eskaton Village Roseville) were developed in collaboration with Lakemont, a Sacramento-area homebuilder. Both locations opened in 2007.
Eskaton also provides management services for owners/investors of senior living communities. Managed communities include:
- The Parkview, Pleasanton (assisted living, memory care)
In 2007, the Livable Design program became available to homebuilders who are seeking an integrated design approach to senior-friendly housing that enables older adult to “age in place” gracefully without expensive home renovations or unwelcome moves. LIvable Design standards along with best practices in green construction and innovative technology applications that support independent and well-being came together in the Eskaton National demonstration Home which opened in the fall of 2008.
Today, with over 1,600 employees, Eskaton reaches seniors through 30 communities and 50 programs and services.
Despite its many advances in senior living and health care, Eskaton constantly strives to find more effective and efficient ways to meeting human needs while maintaining high quality and personal touch. The company’s primary mission is “To enhance the quality of life of seniors through innovative health, housing and social services.”