Silverado Provides Memory Care With Luxury Facilities And Treatment Plans



Finding a facility for your loved ones suffering from memory loss and Alzheimer's disease is difficult. Silverado Memory Care communities were created by its founders after a series of personal experiences with finding a home for a father that needed care due to memory impairment. Now in their 20th year, Silverado offers in-home care, memory care, and hospice services with cutting edge research-based programs. From outings to yoga sessions, therapy and other modalities of treatment, loved ones in Silverado facilities and programs are encouraged and supported at every step. After 20 years of outstanding care, the founders of Silverado reflect on creating some the best facilities for memory care.

What was the impetus for starting Silverado?  

The desire to create Silverado came from a number of experiences. One was my own experience searching for care for my dad many years ago. It was disappointing because the options were mediocre at best. I knew there was a better way, but at the time I did not have the resources to change that. Another was my experience growing up at my uncle and aunts psychiatric hospital, where I saw what was considered state-of-the-art memory care at the time. After I learned about the assisted living industry I felt compelled to do something about the memory-impaired population, which I thought was misunderstood and not receiving the dignity, care, and quality of life they deserved. As a child, my mother always told me that God had a purpose for me and that it was my job to find out what it was. I feel that my purpose is to serve those with memory impairment. People should have better services and quality of life than my father had. This drove me then, and it drives me today. I knew that with great people, passion and the courage to persevere through the obstacles, we could make a difference in the world. We felt that people with dementia should be cared for with dignity and respect. We knew that we could fulfill that need by, first and foremost, committing ourselves to enriching the human spirit. Today, 20 years after starting the company, I'm proud that our team has helped define what’s possible in the memory care industry and how to make a difference.

How has the field changed since Silverado was launched?

Today we know more about what’s possible in memory care than ever before. For example, researchers now know that there are steps we can take today to help slow the progression of dementia and even delay its onset. Researchers and treating professionals have much better resources to diagnose dementia than before. At Silverado, we are focused on implementing findings from this research, furthering our efforts to enhance the quality of life for people with dementia and their families. It is reassuring to see scientific evidence today supporting what Silverado programming was providing when we opened our first community in Escondido, California in June 1997. It is also energizing for all of us to add new components to our programming based on this information and actually measure results we are getting with our residents! Innovative memory care has always been at our core, from the programming we implemented when our very first community opened to our new Nexus program for people in early to mid-stages of memory impairment today.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about senior care?

One of the biggest misconceptions about senior care—particularly memory care—is that a dementia diagnosis is the end of a meaningful life filled with purpose. We have proven this to be just a myth thousands of times over the past 20 years. One of the first things we do when a new resident moves into a Silverado community is to get to know them as an individual. This allows us to cater to their interests and help them reconnect with their life’s passion. We have countless stories. From the former Spanish teacher who reconnects with teaching by leading a class for residents to the artist who continues his craft and then hosts a public exhibit, our goal is to truly enhance the quality of life for those affected by memory impairment.

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Nancy Reagan recently passed; she was very involved in Alzheimer’s awareness. How do you feel she helped change the conversation?

Mrs. Reagan helped bring the Alzheimer's conversation to the global stage. More than any other Alzheimer's patient in history, President Reagan dramatically reduced the stigma attached to the degenerative disease, and Mrs. Reagan was instrumental in sharing their story with the world. She also championed new areas of research, which has resulted in better understanding and awareness of the disease.

You have a book coming out, how would you describe it?

The purpose of this book is to give hope to families affected by Alzheimer’s and other memory-impairing conditions. It’s also intended to help educate the healthcare community about what’s possible in memory care and address some of the difficult problems that are often faced by people who are dealing with a memory-impairing disease. Families and professionals don’t know what they don’t know, but once they understand what can be done to serve people with dementia, they can demand better care within their own communities. This book includes a collection of resident stories—successes that have resulted from being in the Silverado environment, where a unique culture of acceptance and love exists—that exemplify what we have learned over the past 20 years and how families can benefit from that knowledge. The second edition further speaks to the stigma of the disease, broadening the discussion about how it affects children.

Who is the book primarily for?

This book is for those looking for a place to turn when faced with the difficult emotional task of caring for or finding care for a loved one with dementia. It’s for individuals who would also like to see the world change the way it cares for and perceives people with cognitive decline. Silverado is a purpose-driven company and our purpose is to change the world. This book is a tool to tell the story of what quality of life can be with a memory-impairing disease. Someday there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and other memory impairing conditions, but until then we at Silverado are committed to partner with like-minded professionals and caregivers to make a difference in the lives of those people who have this affliction. What we saw in the earlier days was a lack of understanding and appreciation for what someone with a memory impairment could do. People suffering from memory impairment never lose the desire to love and be loved just like you and me.

What are the main points you would like readers to come away with?

A family once shared with me that finding Silverado was like finding a lighthouse in a storm. That’s how I want people to feel after reading our story. I want them to feel hope, and to know that a dementia diagnosis is not the end. Another family member told me that before finding Silverado she tried to get another community to improve how they were caring for her mother. When they were unwilling to change, she moved her mom to Silverado where she quickly became more alert and responsive! I want people to feel empowered with knowledge, and to know not to accept the status quo. 

A high-level banker toured Silverado in Scottsdale and received a copy of the book’s first edition. When flying back to the East Coast he started reading it and was moved to tears. Even though it was a Friday evening, he got off the plane and sat in the terminal to finish reading it. He then went into the office on Monday, insisted that each of his bankers read the book and shared with them that ‘this is the type of company we want to finance!’ A number of CEO’s and senior leaders at assisted livings have read the book and then bought copies for their leaders, making it required reading and holding discussions on how to implement some elderly

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How do you see elder care changing in the next decade?

For starters, we are in a growing industry. As baby boomers retire and the population ages, dementia is going to become one of the greatest challenges of our time. As more and more people gain experience with good senior housing operators, they will begin to see the difference the right environment can make on an elderly person's quality of life. I want everyone to know that there is scientific evidence that social isolation of the person suffering from memory impairment actually exacerbates his or her cognitive decline. Add that alongside depression, malnutrition, lack of stimulation, and the situation will become even worse. This does not need to happen in 2016, but to change the trajectory we have to lose our fear.

While it’s my hope that researchers do indeed find a cure, we must address the issues at hand until then. In fact, the book also touches on the importance of addressing dementia as healthcare changes. For example, rather than billing for the number of days in the hospital, insurance companies are now giving healthcare providers a predetermined sum of money based on the patient's condition. This challenges the hospital to seek the right level of care for their patients to avoid constant readmission to the hospital. We are currently part of a pilot program in which a hospital sends dementia patients to Silverado for care. So far, it’s resulted in cost saving for the healthcare system and a better quality of life for that individual. It’s a win-win.

Carly Zinderman

Carly Zinderman is a Senior Staff Writer for JustLuxe, based just outside of Los Angeles, CA. Since graduating from Occidental College with a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies, she has written on a variety of topics for books, magazines and online publications, but loves fashion and style best. In her spare time, when she?s not writing, Carly enjoys watching old movies, reading an...(Read More)

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