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Silverado Senior Living Inc.
In 1997, Loren Shook, James P. Smith, and Steve Winner opened the first Silverado Senior Living Inc. in Escondido, Calif., with a vision of offering innovative care for memory-impaired individuals that would enhance their quality of life. As part of that vision, the founders wanted Silverado Senior Living to be "home-like," a place where they would feel comfortable placing their own parents and where they themselves might enjoy living.
The founders realized their vision with that first facility, which was hailed for its "out-of-the- box" approaches in dealing with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Since then, additional facilities have opened throughout California as well as in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Utah, Washington State, and Wisconsin.
Today, Silverado offers a continuum of personalized care options that encompass not only dementia-specific assisted living communities, but also home care and hospice services.
In all of these areas, Silverado's mission is to provide "the highest quality of care and support to those with Alzheimer's disease or any other memory impairment, and their families, with dignity, respect, empathy, and compassion." Silverado fulfills this mission with expert clinicians; a caring and trained staff; personalized programs; an emphasis on social interaction; and a full range of medical services to suit each individual's needs.
Thinking Out of the Box
Shook, who serves as Silverado Senior Living president, CEO, and chairman of the board, witnessed early in life how a caring, nurturing, and interactive environment can enhance patient care.
As a young boy, Shook worked at Fairfax Hospital, a psychiatric care facility in Seattle run by his aunt and uncle. Fairfax Hospital was one of the pioneers in innovative psychiatric care, incorporating pet therapy and social interactions as part of patient treatment plans. Shook saw firsthand how patients' conditions improved as their quality of life improved.
While working at Fairfax Hospital, Shook witnessed and took part in a particularly notable patient/animal interaction. After learning that a catatonic woman had once been an avid horse lover, Shook led a horse from the barn and met her on the hospital driveway. Though she had been catatonic for years, the woman raised her arm and petted the animal and, over time, began walking and talking again.
Shook took the lessons he learned from such experiences into his career as a healthcare administrator for Community Psychiatric Centers (CPC). From 1973 to 1993, Shook served as president and chief operating officer of CPC, an international psychiatric hospital company that, like Fairfax Hospital, incorporated out-of-the-box thinking in the programs and practices that went into patient care.
Then in the early 1990s, Shook heard a speech from Winner, a leader in the healthcare industry who was renowned for developing and implementing successful Alzheimer's programs. Shook found a kindred spirit in Winner, who also advocated a zest-for-life approach in helping those with memory impairments. By 1996, Shook and Winner, joined by Smith, had drawn up a business plan for Silverado Senior Living.
Not surprisingly, pet therapy was incorporated into the Silverado model from the beginning. All of Silverado's assisted living communities have on-site animals and additionally encourage residents to bring their own pets to live with them, noting that, "a friendly wag of the tail or soft purr on the lap is always a welcome addition."
Children and other guests also are welcomed at Silverado assisted living centers, and are considered an important part of the interactive atmosphere.
Since its launch, Silverado Senior Living's innovative patient care has gained widespread attention in daily newspapers, health journals, radio shows, and other media as well as from healthcare professionals and policymakers.
Shook in December 2010 was asked to address a Senate Special Committee on Aging Forum in his role as vice chair of the Assisted Living Federation of America. In his address, Shook noted that for the memory-impaired to have a sense of purpose, they need meaningful roles in daily life. Silverado's purpose, he said, "is to change the world in the way people with memory- impairing diseases are cared for. In the process, we seek to touch the human spirit in all that we do."
Media attention widened with the 2010 publishing of The Silverado Story: A Memory-Care Culture Where Love is Greater than Fear, written by Shook and Winner. The book offers a firsthand account of the senior care offered at Silverado and the positive results that have been achieved in clients' lives.
"By believing in people's abilities rather than their limitations, we have helped many individuals enjoy a more meaningful life, where they are more engaged with the world and their loved ones," Shook said in a 2010 press statement announcing the book. "We are proud that more than 3,500 people who couldn't walk when they came to Silverado have begun to walk again. More than 2,500 unable to feed themselves have regained that ability."
All proceeds from the book benefit The Future Senior Care Leaders Fund, a scholarship program administered by the nonprofit The Silverado Foundation.
A Continuum of Care
Silverado Senior Living Inc. offers those with memory-impairing diseases a continuum of care, with three company branches.
Silverado At Home provides varied in-home services to memory-impaired individuals and the people who care for them, supported by highly capable Life Care managers. Available 24 hours a day, Life Care managers are trained to assist with a wide range of financial, healthcare, and medical needs. They can help with home-care plans, assessments and evaluations, family mediation, long-term insurance planning, and other needs that may arise.
Silverado Senior Living comprises nearly 30 assisted living communities in eight states that care for individuals afflicted with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lewy-Body, and other dementias. Services at each facility are provided in a safe, friendly, home-like atmosphere. Residents enjoy delicious and nutritious meals, adult activities, social engagements, outings, and more. Making the assisted living communities even more homelike, residents are allowed to bring their pets to live with them, and guests of all ages are welcome to visit.
Programming is customized to the clients and includes varied opportunities for social interaction, with an emphasis on personal choice. Clinical care at each facility is led by a physician medical director, a full-time registered nurse who serves as director of health services, and a 24-hour nursing staff.
Silverado Senior Living also offers short-term stays and day services. Short-term and day clients enjoy many of the same amenities as assisted living residents, such as social activities and outings. They also have the assurance that they will be well-cared for, since the facilities are staffed 24 hours a day by expert medical staff and trained caregivers.
Silverado Hospice is for individuals who have life-limiting illnesses. Silverado Hospice offers palliative care services from highly trained hospice teams. The teams include a 24-hour medical staff, social workers, spiritual care counselors, and trained volunteers. Also available are family bereavement services.
Silverado Hospice tries to help patients achieve comfort on both a physical and emotional level. As with the other two branches of Silverado, the emphasis is on quality of life. Currently, Silverado has eight hospice service areas located in California, Texas, and Utah.
The Silverado Foundation
The Silverado Foundation is a nonprofit, created by Silverado Senior Living Inc., that funds research into memory-impairing diseases while providing educational, financial, and emotional support to caregivers of individuals with memory-impaired diseases.
Among its endeavors, the Foundation offers educational and vocational scholarships to students wishing to improve dementia care. The Foundation also sponsors community education programs on the topics of dementia and elder care and funds research efforts at such noteworthy institutions as the University of California San Diego, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, the University of Utah, the University of North Texas, and Baylor College of Medicine.
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