SQLC Headlines

Top Stories in Senior Living.

SQLC communities make headlines in all our hometowns.

Querencia at Barton Creek in Austin, Edgemere in Dallas, The Buckingham in Houston, Mirador in Corpus Christi, The Stayton at Museum Way in Fort Worth and The Barrington in Carmel, Indiana.


SQLC Elects Two New Board Members

June 8, 2018

SQLC is proud to announce the appointment of Bernard “Bernie” DiFiore and Laurie Dotter as the newest members of its board of directors. DiFiore is the former chairman and CEO of BenefitMall, and Dotter is the former president of Transwestern Investment Group.

“We’re truly honored and excited to have Mr. DiFiore and Ms. Dotter as the latest additions to our diverse and experienced group of board members,” said Scott Collier, Chairman of the SQLC Board. “Achieving SQLC’s mission to enrich the lives of seniors and their families involves tapping into some of the best talent from various industries. Both individuals bring considerable expertise and knowledge that will be invaluable in accomplishing that goal.”

DiFiore holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in public administration (MPA) from Syracuse University. He has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services and benefits industries. At BenefitMall, an employee benefits and payroll services provider, he oversaw the company’s strategic direction, planning and execution. DiFiore also serves on the Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command advisory board, Methodist Hospital System board, and the Business Council for the Arts. Additionally, he’s a long-standing member of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, which focuses on making a positive impact for at-risk children and families.

Dotter received her bachelor’s degree in business administration with honors from Texas A&M University. She brings more than 25 years of experience building and managing real estate investment organizations to the SQLC board. During that time, she has overseen multibillion-dollar funds at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and at Dallas-based Hunt Realty Investments. As president of Transwestern Investment Group, a real estate investment management firm, she oversaw investment strategy, acquisition and asset management. Dotter is also an investment advisory board member at the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company, where she helps preserve and grow the state’s financial resources.

 “Mr. DiFiore and Ms. Dotter have strong track records of success throughout their careers,” added Collier. “SQLC and the seniors we serve are sure to greatly benefit from their contributions. We are looking forward to working together to create exceptional senior living experiences.”

The Barrington Residents Team Up, Get Moving for National Senior Health and Fitness Day

May 21, 2018

May 30 is National Senior Health and Fitness Day, but at The Barrington, residents say that’s every day. The Barrington is home to the “Race to Wellness,” which is part of a partnership with Masterpiece Living®.

“We’re an active bunch,” said resident Sam Preissler, one of the coaches. “The goal is to build new habits that lead to wellness and further the active lifestyles we all lead.” All month, teams are competing in events at and away from the community, including lawn darts to bocce, and even a visit to Topgolf and a local bowling alley.

Read more about this in The Times and Hamilton County Report.

The Buckingham Spreads the Love One Slice at a Time

May 21, 2018

At 90 years old, Fred Perkins has spent a lifetime refining his culinary capabilities. Since his transition to The Buckingham four years ago, he’s channeled those talents into a new food frontier and an unusual way to serve up random acts of kindness to those around him – baking.

Pies, specifically key lime and pecan, are favorites. He spends up to three hours making the desserts, same with loaves of bread he meticulously makes from scratch.

The lucky recipients of these delectable creations? His neighbors and team members at here at The Buckingham. It’s not uncommon for residents in his exercise group to receive a post-workout treat, or those behind the concierge desk or other front-line team members to get a hand-delivered slice of appreciation. Gestures like this are a big part of the close-knit culture at The Buckingham.

Perkins traces his affinity for flavors back to his youth, where he spent the summers with his grandparents in rural Florida. They mostly lived off the ocean, and Perkins would carefully study his grandfather as he caught, cleaned and cooked their catch.

This translated into a passion for cooking – seafood, smoked meats, creole cuisine. Last year, in a competitive field of resident and team member chili connoisseurs, his recipe rose to the top at The Buckingham’s first annual chili cook-off, and this year he earned runner up.

The Goal of Local Seniors During Parkinson’s Awareness Month? Climb Higher.

May 10, 2018

Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year. The words, “You have Parkinson’s disease” are among those none of us wish to hear. Those in the aftermath of a diagnosis, however, have found hope at The Barrington.  

The Barrington of Carmel, in partnership with the Indiana Parkinson Foundation, offers a program known as “The CLIMB” twice-a-week, available to residents and non-residents alike. The CLIMB is a research-based exercise program that focuses on the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of battling the disease.

The CLIMB offers everything from weight training and posture therapy to yoga and speech therapy - a true balance of activities.

Barrington resident, Larry Smith attends regularly with his wife, Earletta, who has Parkinson’s.

“I can’t say enough about how this has benefitted her,” he said. “She takes medication as well, of course, but there’s something about The CLIMB that’s more than medicine. It’s a wonderful outlet for those who are living with Parkinson’s.”

Read more about this story featured in Indianapolis Patch

$72 Million Expansion Enhances Health Services at The Buckingham

May 10, 2018

This spring, The Buckingham began to unveil the first features of a comprehensive $72 million community expansion. A significant piece of this project is a redesigned health services building, with nearly 80 new assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support residences, an augmented physical therapy gym, and distinct rooms for speech and occupational therapy.

Additionally, the expansion includes The Tower – an 11-story building that features nearly 100 independent living residences and amenities, which include a fitness center, an outdoor courtyard, and an upscale dining venue with a wine room.

“We approached the health services side of this project with families in mind, and how we could better include and acknowledge them in the treatment and recovery process,” said Phillip Jacob, assistant executive director at The Buckingham. “Through new equipment and redesigned spaces, like our full kitchen and pantry, we can simulate real-world challenges during therapy. This gives families confidence their loved one will be better prepared when they eventually transition back home.”

To support the transformation of physical space in its health services building, The Buckingham recently introduced a number of new technology resources to help deliver more efficient, integrated care:

Advanced Nurse Call System

A state-of-the-art call system has been installed throughout the health services building. In addition to traditional call buttons in each room, all health professionals are equipped with a smartphone-like device that constantly receives call alerts and other resident data no matter where they may be located. The devices allow team members to prioritize alerts depending on time or urgency, and even communicate with residents and colleagues in real time.

“This system is quite advanced compared to traditional alert systems and will help us deliver even greater coordination of care,” said Jacob. “It will also help to further improve response times, which has the potential to reduce fall rates. We can even pull digital reports that allow us to see what times of the day are busiest, so we can better forecast what the demands will be and adjust staffing levels as appropriate.”    

Post-Discharge Management

Another piece of new technology will help health professionals better monitor and track the status of older adults who complete rehabilitation or skilled nursing care at The Buckingham. The software, NexusConnexions, supports the transitional care nurse who works with and makes in-home visits to discharged adults. The platform helps provide structure for day-to-day activities, creates personalized agendas, monitors data, and delivers insight to management on how activities translate to outcomes.

“A lot of the nurse’s job through the transitional care program is education,” said Jacob. “They make sure the individual is familiar with their medications and watch for any setback in their condition. Now coupled with the new digital tracking technology, the hope is that any signs of regression in that first 30-day window are caught early enough that steps can immediately be taken to avoid readmission to a hospital.” 

The Buckingham typically discharges 12 to 15 skilled nursing or rehabilitation residents a month. In 2017,
the community’s readmission rate was 14%, significantly lower than the national average of 21%.

“Technology is going to continue to play such an important role in what we do from a health services perspective,” added Jacob. “This tool is a great example of how we’re adapting to meet the needs of those we serve. But at the end of the day, it’s the willingness of our health professionals to be engaged and work directly with residents and their families that will continue to separate us from other communities.”

Senior Uses Technology to Rouse Imaginations

May 10, 2018

A resident of Edgemere, Jack Tutterrow bemoans the question he’s asked most frequently these days – “What did you used to do?” The mechanical engineer with Harvard credentials is more active in retirement than he’s ever been, combining lifelong passions of technology and childhood education to inspire people of all ages.

For nearly two years, Tutterrow has partnered with the Dallas Afterschool Network to enhance learning through technology. Working with mostly fourth-and fifth-graders, Tutterrow has introduced them to Google Expedition, the educational platform that allows users to digitally immerse themselves in hundreds of locations around the world.

To complement the platform, students use virtual reality kits and laptops that Tutterrow donated. As they walk the streets of famous cities and explore historical sites through virtual reality, students use their computers to dive deeper into the places they’ve just visited.

The success of the afterschool program prompted Tutterrow to replicate it at home. Today, Edgemere has four virtual reality travel groups that go on monthly excursions to some of the most remote locations on Earth – without ever leaving their North Dallas community. Last year, residents even welcomed students from the afterschool program for a joint expedition to Madagascar.

As technology continues to rapidly shift, Tutterrow says he’s constantly envisioning new applications for it. Currently, he’s earning his drone certification. He and his wife plan to revisit major national parks throughout the country to create a virtual library for their children – all shot with 360-degree video from a drone-mounted camera. 

Check out this video Edgemere created about Tutterrow’s passion for technology and the impact he’s had on people of all ages through the promotion of virtual reality.

Strumming Their Way to Senior Stardom: Self-Taught Retirees’ Ukulele Skills Something to Behold

May 10, 2018

There’s never a bad time to learn something new. That’s the attitude of 17 self-taught musicians at The Stayton at Museum Way who caught the recent wave of ukulele fever about a year and a half ago.

“While it’s not uncommon for former musicians to form a band, I think it’s very unusual for a group like this to learn an instrument and begin to perform together,” said Gayle Massey, a resident at The Stayton who leads the group. “We have one member who played a bit in high school. The rest of us had never touched a ukulele, let alone played one.”

The group, which has performed for area country clubs and other gatherings, patterns their concert attire after the Fort Worth Symphony. Massey says when they play, everyone smiles. 

“It’s impossible to play or listen to a ukulele and not find yourself in a better mood,” Massey said. “When I look at the faces of our audiences, all I see are big grins. That’s very rewarding.”

Recent studies have supported the premise that learning a new skill as we age slows cognitive decline, which is music to the ears of The Stayton Strummers. 

The Buckingham Celebrates Centenarian Residents

February 12, 2018

As we enter 2018, we're happy to have five residents who have entered the Centenarian Club! To celebrate the residents who have lived for a full century, The Buckingham gathered with other residents, team and family members to celebrate this once in a lifetime achievement with cake and quality time. 

Mirador Resident Reflects On Professional Ballet Career in Response to Nutcracker Performance

December 13, 2017

The holiday season is one filled with wonder, from the flickering of lights on a tree to the smell of seasonal treats filling the room, miracles and joy fill the air as families and friends gather. The enchantment of the season is captured yearly in The Nutcracker ballet, a tale filled with magic, hope and love in a land of fairies. The Nutcracker is a story which has captivated audiences for generations and inspires children around the world to become ballerinas. For Mirador resident Luwanna Isenogle, that dream was one that came true, and during the holiday season she often reflects on her career as a professional dance teacher and a dancer in the Chicago Opera Ballet.

At the age of eight, Isenogle began performing classical ballet under the tutelage of Martha Miller, spending her weekends in Chicago at the Ruth Page Studio strengthening her body to achieve the fluidity and grace required to perform on stage. She even remembers her first Nutcracker performance fondly, as she took to the stage as a deer when she was a little girl. Later, she would go on to spend three seasons performing with the Chicago Opera Ballet, exposing her to the knowledge and understanding she would need to follow her passion to teach and inspire future generations of dancers. After hanging up her own pointe shoes Isenogle opened her own studio, Ballet Arts of Auburn, where she taught classical ballet to over 200 students, including her own daughter.

“There wasn’t a role in the entirety of my career that I enjoyed more than that of teacher,” said Isenogle. “Having danced professionally and spent time in a company, I know firsthand what it takes to make it as a professional dancer and wanted nothing more than to share that knowledge. As a teacher, I witnessed many of my students go on to do remarkable things with their own careers, including two who went on to perform for The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. It’s incredibly rewarding to look back and see how I was able to help my students hone their talents and enjoy amazing careers in the process, and as a teacher there’s not much more to ask for.”

It’s safe to say that ballet wasn’t just a career choice for Isenogle, but a deep passion which brought joy to her life. Today, she reflects on those memories with a smile, showing pictures from her performances and even displaying a pair of carefully preserved pointe shoes. It’s this love for dance that Mirador recently experienced along with Isenogle when the Corpus Christi Concert Ballet stopped by to perform The Nutcracker for residents.

“Anytime I’m able to watch a dancer to perform, I can feel the movements in my bones, reminding me of my own performances,” said Isenogle. “So many people don’t understand the work and strength it takes to dance, especially classical ballet, and when you see a dancer perform you realize how solid one must be for it to look so effortless. It was delightful to be able to see the young performers and see how proud they were of the production, and I’m honored to have been able to see it for myself.”

Ricky Van Twest Named Director of Dining Services At The Buckingham

December 6, 2017

The Buckingham, Houston’s premier senior living community, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ricky Van Twest as director of dining services. The announcement was made by Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. Van Twest comes to The Buckingham with two decades of experience in the hospitality industry working in fine dining with luxury properties around the world.  

“We are thrilled to welcome Ricky to our community as director of dining services,” said Sheaffer. “Ricky’s culinary background includes working with three of our sister communities – The Barrington of Carmel in Indianapolis; Mirador in Corpus Christi; and, most recently, responsible for opening the newest restaurant at Edgemere in Dallas. He absolutely understands the expectations of our residents and their guests, and we know that he will exceed the already high standards of dining experience excellence for which The Buckingham is known.”

“Van Twest has over eight years of experience working with luxury hospitality properties around the world,” continued Sheaffer. “He is an experienced leader who has opened five Ritz-Carlton hotels in addition to assisting with dozens of overhaul renovations for various restaurants, lounges and other food and beverage businesses. Due to his previous experience, Van Twest can confidently handle the day-to-day activities within dining services while cultivating a successful team environment.”

“I’m honored to take on this role and look forward to providing our residents with exceptional service,” said Van Twest. “Remarkable food and excellent service are the epitome of hospitality, and that is what I plan to provide for the residents here at The Buckingham. Having worked in the hospitality and dining services industries for many years I understand what people expect when it comes to an outstanding experience, and I intend to provide that during every meal served at The Buckingham.”   


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