Inspired by a personal delight in bettering the lives of seniors, Scott Eckstein boasts a career in successfully creating and operating a range of residential alternatives for the aging population. He is long-time advocate of specially-designed retirement communities that are stimulating, comfortable and safe. He is uniquely attuned to the complex and sensitive issues that abound in the senior living industry and he works tirelessly to maintain the dignity of seniors and in helping them live active and productive lives.
He is the Executive Director of Aegis Living of Granada Hills. Aegis Living is a national leader in retirement and assisted living, offering a progressive selection of senior residences to meet the growing needs of today’s aging population. Mr. Eckstein is proud to be a part of the Aegis family as the company provides the finest in senior lifestyle and living options available, Aegis emphasizes health, quality of life, well-being and community. The residences include Signature Living, independent living, assisted living, Memory Care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss, as well as short term, rehabilitative and vacation stays.
Mr. Eckstein believes strongly in purpose-built senior environments. In 1996, he began work on his first assisted living development project in Brooklyn, New York; which filled a tremendous need in the area for its many seniors. He later helped develop the first purpose-built active adult community in Europe before relocating to Los Angeles to operate a senior housing business.
Mr. Eckstein joined American Housing Concepts (the development arm of what was then ARV Assisted Living) and oversaw the development process of seven assisted living communities across the United States. He enhanced his career at Vintage Senior Housing, L.L.C. in Newport Beach, California, before becoming Co-Founder and a member of the planning committee for Sensara Partners, SL through his own company, Senior Living Enterprises, in Andalucia, Spain.
Throughout his career, Mr. Eckstein’s projects have won numerous awards for collaborative design efforts and he has written for Assisted Living Success, a senior housing trade publication. A native New Yorker, Mr. Eckstein holds an undergraduate degree from The American University in Washington D.C. and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He began his career in residential and commercial real estate, first with The Centennial Companies and then on an international scale with Cornerstone Ventures, both based in the Washington D.C. area.
Scott Eckstein is a proud member of Aegis Living, Inc. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and sons.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am putting a lot of focus on our memory care program and activities. There are two dynamics that I have found seep into the daily life of care giving for Seniors. We too easily get into a pattern of performance and we sometimes forget that new things are being learned about dementia, aging and how to best care for our residents. By incorporating new research into our everyday work and providing outstanding training for our staff, we can offer the most positive living environment.
3 Trends that excite you?
1) Teaching our community, potential residents and their families that that assisted living is not a nursing home. Our residents are vibrant, intelligent and fascinating individuals. I love to meet new residents and learn about their lives.
2) Seniors becoming more comfortable using technology.
3) More families willing to talk about a family member with dementia and not sweeping the situation under the rug.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Sheer will! As with many businesses, in assisted living it takes a team. You can not do this stuff alone. I do my best to stay on top of industry best practices in general. I am unbelievably fortunate to work for Aegis who celebrates teamwork sharing centuries of experience both inside and outside the company to create a beneficial culture for staff and residents.
Everyone on my team feels comfortable sharing ideas. We keep apprised of industry trends and stories in the print, broadcast and online media and discuss them at length. Communication and follow-up (the basic blocking and tackling of management) are the cornerstones of good management. There is no silver bullet to bring a good idea to life. It is surrounding yourself with good people, committed to the betterment of the residents, the business and themselves that make it work. I have some tools I use to help me process and keep my ideas in order. Thank goodness for my iPhone and MacBook Pro!
What is one mistake that you made, and what did you learn from it?
I always look back at my life and career and say to myself I “shoulda, woulda coulda.” My wife tells me “well, it wasn’t meant to be” or vice versa, “it was meant to be.”
Also my good/bad decisions have brought me to where I am now and I am happy in this stage of my life. I get to take care of seniors in a safe and comfortable environment. As a boy, I made a promise to my grandmother that I would take care of her in her “old age”. I didn’t get to fulfill that promise, however I definitely do get to take care of a lot of other people’s grandmas now and I am thrilled!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Timely & affordable senior/handicap transportation. The need it great!
How would you convince a family member that is in denial that a parent needs
to transition to an assisted living community?
It is a long and multi-faceted process that is sometimes very challenging and different for each family and family member. Sometimes you just have to let the family get to that point themselves.
About work and family balance – when can you go home at the end of the day?
When the job is done and it is appropriate to head home to be with family, head on home.