Tim Bowen, Silvera Diamond

22 December 2022

In recognition and celebration of our 60th anniversary this year, Silvera interviewed a variety of individuals to learn more about the remarkable people who make up and contribute to our organization – employees, residents, board members, donors, volunteers, and more. These individuals are true “Silvera Diamonds” – as strong and resilient as our organization over the past six decades. Thank you to each of you who help to make us what we are. Here’s to another 60 years!

Tim Bowen, Beaverdam’s community manager, has lived around the world, working in a variety of industries. But regardless of his location or job, the one thing that has remained steady is his love of music.

Tim grew up in Banff, making weekly trips to Calgary for piano lessons. He then pursued a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Alberta before earning a master’s degree from the Paris Conservatory.

He subsequently made music the focus of his career for many years, living in London and New York, Montreal and Vancouver, playing as a session musician and in clubs and restaurants. He toured on cruise ships for 12 years playing jazz piano. He eventually returned to Calgary and began teaching music, where he met his wife, also a music teacher.

After getting married, Tim gave up playing gigs and started working at an independent seniors’ residence. At first, he wasn’t sold on seniors’ care. He had worked in the hospitality industry for years and says independent seniors lodging sometimes felt like managing “150 individual customers who were often not happy.”

He stuck with it and after a year the company asked him to manage a building that included assisted, independent and supportive living. It was there he first learned about dementia care and Tim realized he was finally where he was meant to be. For two decades, he worked with dementia patients and eventually became a dementia care trainer.

Three years ago, Tim retired from seniors living to focus on his first love. He began playing piano with Alberta Ballet, teaching at two studios, and had a regular club gig. And then, the world changed.

“I lost all my music jobs in the matter of days when the pandemic began,” Tim recalls. He returned to seniors’ care on a short-term contract in British Columbia. After five months, working without adequate staff support in the early days of COVID-19, Tim burned out and moved back to Alberta.

“On my drive back to Calgary, I got a call from Silvera, offering me the community manager role at Beaverdam,” he says. “It was the best news I could have hoped for.”

Joining a memory care facility that was in outbreak semi-regularly was not easy. But Tim was determined to still make life good for residents. During Christmas 2020, when his building was in lockdown and residents were required to stay in their suites, Tim gave a hallway concert. “I brought my portable piano and we pushed it down the hallway, playing and singing carols for each resident,” he says. “It was important to me that they could all enjoy some Christmas spirit, despite the circumstances.”

Today, Tim plays piano for residents every lunch hour. He is happy to once again be experiencing music with residents as participants. He has organized the Silvera Singers, a group of residents who love to sing together in a choir setting. They held a Christmas concert for other residents, employees and families.

It is, he says, the best part of his job.

“For me, being a caregiver is a selfish thing because I feel so good after I help people,” he says. “Even with all the troubles, at the end of the day, you know you’ve done some good.”