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.


$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.”   

Mirador to Host Inaugural Festival of Wreaths Benefitting The Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi

November 29, 2017

With the holiday season in full swing, Mirador will soon host the senior living community’s inaugural Festival of Wreaths. The event will take place on Wednesday, December 6 at the community (5857 Timbergate Drive) and will feature 24 one-of-a-kind holiday wreaths designed by local businesses and members of the local Corpus Christi community.  During the holiday celebration, guests will have the opportunity to bid on the wreaths during a silent auction, with all proceeds going to benefit The Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi. The evening will feature live entertainment in addition to plenty of delicious treats and refreshments. This special occasion is free and open to the public. For those interested in attending please RSVP by calling (361) 994-0905.

Mirador is always seeking ways to present its residents and special guests with opportunities to give back to the local community, share experiences and enjoy incredible events. The community is hosting the Festival of Wreaths as a unique opportunity to support those in need.

The Buckingham Honors Resident Dr. Jan Van Sant at Dining Venue Sneak Peek

November 9, 2017

Within a matter of weeks, The Buckingham will unveil The Rosewood Grill, the newest casual dining venue at Houston’s premier senior living community. But residents had a sneak peek during a pre-opening reception honoring resident Dr. Jan van Sant, for whom a private dining and wine room in the new space are named.

Dr. van Sant, a wine connoisseur, is a former president of The Buckingham Resident Council, as well as the first resident to hold a full voting membership on the Board of Directors of Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC). Stocked with bottles of fine wines, the space offers a private dining experience. The Rosewood Grill is part of the Tower at The Buckingham expansion project.  The Tower is scheduled for move-ins by mid-November, shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Dr. van Sant is a fitting namesake for The Rosewood Grill’s private dining and wine room,” said Joe Anderson, president and CEO of SQLC. “As a beloved resident and board member, he has selflessly served The Buckingham and its sister communities, and he embodies the spirit of welcoming we feel in each of our communities. The Rosewood Grill and its private dining and wine room will be a special place where residents and their loved ones can spend time together for years to come. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate space to carry Dr. van Sant’s name and commemorate his legacy of service to The Buckingham and our organization.” 

“I was incredibly surprised and humbled by this honor,” said Van Sant. “In regards to the event itself, it was about the last thing I expected to occur. I’ve been privileged to serve not only the residents of The Buckingham, but the entire SQLC organization, while sitting on the board.  It’s truly something special in my life. Our goal is to ensure that residents living in our communities have everything they need to live life to the fullest, and I’m honored to have played a role in that mission.”

Dr. van Sant is a 34-year oil industry veteran with particular experience in the areas of exploration and production research and technology. After retiring, Van Sant was the executive director of the American Geological Institute Foundation, which raised more than $20 million for certain AGI-sponsored educational and other national programs. He later served as associate director of the Foundation. Dr. van Sant also served as Assistant to the Vice President for Research at the University of Houston, and was a member of advisory committees at various times at institutions such as the University of South Carolina, University of Utah, University of Kansas, and Rice University.

“There is no one more deserving of this honor than Dr. van Sant,” said Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. “His contributions have helped tremendously in our community, and it is a privilege to thank him in such a public way. We look forward to meeting the needs of more seniors in Houston, and the dedication of residents like Dr. van Sant helps us positively impact the lives of seniors each and every day.”

The Buckingham Receives National Quality Award For 2017

October 17, 2017

The Buckingham, Houston’s premier senior living community, has been recognized as 2017 recipient of the “Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award” by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), the leading association for long-term and post-acute care.

The Buckingham was presented the award during the AHCA/NCAL 68th annual convention and exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The award is one of three progressive award levels through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program, which honors association members across the nation who have demonstrated their commitment to improving quality care for seniors and persons with disabilities.

To qualify for the award, The Buckingham was charged with identifying a focus area within the community where the team could measure and show improvement. They chose to look at their QAPI (Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement) analysis and demonstrated successful implementation of new processes to positively impact their quality measures. 

The Buckingham applied for the award in January based on its mission statement and vision, as well as key strengths and challenges. Upon submission, a group of trained examiners reviewed the community’s application to determine if all criteria were met.

“At The Buckingham, we strive each day to provide our residents with a superior lifestyle and high-quality health services,” said Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. “We are honored to receive this recognition, as it highlights the dedication our team has to ensuring quality care. This award is evidence of their hard work and passion for maintaining excellence in service and hospitality.”

As a recipient of the “Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award”, The Buckingham may now move forward in developing approaches and achieving performance levels to qualify for the “SilverAchievement in Quality Award”.

“A dedication to quality assurance is something upon which our team prides itself,” said Phil Jacob, associate executive director of The Buckingham. “Receiving this award is a true testament to every member of our staff and their commitment to serving our community each day. Our team is the forefront of our organization. They are the ones working day-in and day-out with residents, and absolutely none of this would be possible without them. We are incredibly proud of their achievement and look forward to continuing to provide superior care and hospitality.”

In addition to independent living, The Buckingham offers assisted living, memory care, and long- and short-term skilled nursing residences.

Residents of The Buckingham Host Oktoberfest Fundraiser Benefiting Staff Members Impacted By Hurricane Harvey

October 11, 2017

After the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey throughout Houston, residents of The Buckingham – Houston’s premier senior living community – are thankful for the support and dedication of the selfless team members who helped maintain a sense of normalcy during the storm. Many employees stayed at the community 24 hours a day to provide food, uplifting conversation and care to meet the residents’ needs, even as their own homes were flooded and their lives impacted significantly. To show their appreciation, the senior residents recently came together to help employees impacted by the storm during the community’s annual Oktoberfest fundraiser. The annual celebration began seven years ago when resident Inge Liesner began holding the event, in which she organizes the entire occasion and cooks for all in attendance, to raise money to support the Alzheimer’s Association. While coordinating the event for this year, Liesner decided that funds raised from the event would be put to best use by donating them to The Buckingham Relief Fund, which supports team members affected by Hurricane Harvey. In total, residents raised over $7,000 at this year’s event.

“Because the team here at The Buckingham took care of us, it’s only natural that we want to show our gratitude,” said Liesner. “The Oktoberfest fundraiser is not anything new for our community, but what we are doing with the funds for this year’s event is, and it’s absolutely the most appropriate. This event and the funds raised are only a small way to show our thanks, but it’s something we had to do knowing that so many of our team members were impacted by Harvey. This was our way of showing them just how much we appreciate everything they do for us, especially the sacrifices they made during the storm. We wanted to let the team members know that we don’t take them or their actions for granted.”

Each year, Liesner cooks a variety of authentic German dishes for those in attendance. During the event, residents were treated to traditional appetizers and beers during happy hour, followed by a seated dinner. During the dinner, attendees were served a number of homemade Oktoberfest plates prepared by Liesner, including Semmelknoedel, or bread dumplings; Spätzle, a Bavarian pasta; and Schweinebraten, a pork roast. The meal was followed by a dessert buffet filled with treats both new and familiar for those in attendance to enjoy.

“It’s safe to say that Harvey was unable to dampen spirits at The Buckingham,” said Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. “While the anticipation of the storm and the uncertainty of what would happen was present for all of us, our team did an incredible job of making sure that residents never needed to worry. It’s wonderful to see how our community has come together to serve one another during times such as these, and we are grateful for residents like Inge Liesner who lead the charge in lending a helping hand. At The Buckingham, we are truly a community where people care for each other, and it is resident-organized events like the Oktoberfest fundraiser that show the heart of our community.”


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