California is aging and the number of Californians 80 and older will grow by 65% in the next ten years. Eskaton Village Carmichael residents Karen Robison and Karl Bucholz sit down with Sacramento Bee reporter Mila Jasper to discuss their perspective of aging in California and their experience moving into Continuing Care Retirement Community.
Karen and Karl moved from Milwaukee to Sacramento in 2009. Karl was originally on the fence about moving to a Continuing Care Retirement community and labeled himself a "reluctant recruit". He thought the option of living at their home would be a better alternative. But after visiting Eskaton Village Carmichael he realized many of his assumptions and biases around senior living were wrong. The community provided fitness programs, transportation services, diverse dining options, a wellness clinic and a full social calendar.
Beyond the diverse offerings the community also offers the couple a built in support system. Maintenance crews take care of their home repairs and registered nurses are available for consultation. Different care options are also available on-site in the case either of them find themselves needing additional support. From in-home support provided in their apartment to assisted living or skilled nursing available on the campus.
Although Karen and Karl feel secure with their support system currently in place, many California older adults do not. Many older adults are struggling to find affordable transportation, housing and in-home support to help meet their needs. Over 50% of the older adults Eskaton serves daily are living below the poverty line. The average wait list for one of Eskaton's affordable housing communities in Sacramento is more than three years.
Last week Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that calls for a "Master Plan for Aging" to be created by October. The plan will serve as a blueprint for communities to implement strategies and partnerships that promote healthy aging. The master plan will address the housing crisis, healthcare reform and economic disparities.
Karen and Karl ended their interview with Mila with a public service announcement on ending ageism. At Eskaton Village Carmichael there is "a wonderful feeling of acceptance" says Karl. He shares that older adults continue to have the desire to be social and live a full life. Eskaton's Well-Being Philosophy believes each person regardless of age or ability has the ability to live well. This philosophy aims to create more inclusive communities that celebrate each person's uniqueness.