Eskaton believes the best method of challenging current opinions of age and aging is to foster new perceptions in those who desire to learn more about aging services as a career. Last year, a pair of students pursuing degrees in gerontology at California State University, Sacramento completed a year-long journey with Eskaton as two of our in-house interns. Both students graduated in December of 2019 and are eager to put their education and experiences to work in their future careers.
During their tenure, the students were tasked with completing a sustainable project to be implemented at Eskaton that would live on beyond their departure. Between the pair, over 440 hours of time and dedication were given to our organization in their pursuit of identifying best practices and opportunities for innovation in aging services. Raymond DeClaro spent his many hours working closely with our Strategy department, while his counterpart, Tara Reisenbeck dedicated her time working with the Quality and Compliance department. Both students exhibited a fundamental awareness of the social and cultural issues that concern our region’s older adults while demonstrating critical thinking and an eagerness to resolve these issues.
To supplement and support Eskaton’s recent deployment of smart home technologies, Raymond developed a companion voice-first education guide that is now being utilized across Eskaton. His project was instrumental in the adoption of voice-first technology amongst residents, now employed by 83% of residents organizationally. Over the course of his internship, particularly during the rollout of new technologies, Raymond better understood the capabilities of older adults, as well as their capacity for growth and change. In addition, he gained invaluable insight as to how technological innovation can be leveraged to empower older adults by supporting their continued independence and increasing their overall well-being. Raymond intends on pursuing a career in gero-technology and will apply the knowledge and experience gained at Eskaton to improve the quality of life of older adults.
In an effort to improve the resident experience, Tara’s project focused on assisting Eskaton staff in the understanding and navigating of McKesson’s Quality One Program. By developing training content and creating an informal guidebook to be used as a resource, Tara’s project resulted in more organized and streamlined training materials as well as an evident increase in employee confidence with the Quality One Program.
Faculty supervisor at California State University, Sacramento, Dr. Catheryn Koss believes the partnership with Eskaton is particularly beneficial to interns because of the extensive array of services Eskaton offers, providing students with opportunities to experience the full range of aging services in addition to administrative departments of gerontological organizations. As both projects centered on technology and its application in the senior care industry, Dr. Koss felt the interns were able to explore concepts previously unknown to them. “They had the opportunity to apply what they’ve already learned in their classes along with the practical knowledge they gained by seeing how residents and staff interfaced with technological innovation in the Eskaton setting. It certainly gave them a unique opportunity to see a different side of aging services as they head into their careers,” she said.
Our involvement with the internship program is only one way Eskaton collaborates with the academic communities in our region. Three Eskaton team members currently serve as adjunct faculty members at CSU Sacramento, bringing a diverse and comprehensive perspective of aging and aging services to students who seek a better understanding of older adults. By demonstrating how the insight they obtain through their studies can be applied directly to operational and business practices, Eskaton is helping students identify ways of implementing practical solutions and educating the wider community about gerontological topics.