Inside Silvera, issue 18
Federal government announces investment in affordable housing for seniors
Silvera’s newest independent living community, Vista Apartments, was officially opened by CEO Arlene Adamson along with the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion; MP Calgary Skyview George Chahal; and Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
At the event, the federal government announced a $38-million investment in three Calgary housing projects, part of which will fund affordable housing units for seniors.
The three projects, each owned and operated by Silvera, will create 244 new housing units, including 188 designated as affordable housing for seniors. In addition to Vista, the funding is for Silvera’s Westview Residence West project in the SW and a new community in Calgary’s NE neighbourhood of Livingston.
The Livingston Terrace project will be a modular building, creating 42 independent living units in phase one with the potential to add an additional 21 units in phase two. Livingston Terrace is expected to open by Spring 2023.
Funding for these units will come from the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative and National Housing Co-Investment Fund as well as the City of Calgary and Silvera.
Connecting with our purpose and values
CEO Arlene Adamson recently spoke about how employees can connect with Silvera’s purpose and ground themselves in our values to serve residents, create strong teams and develop their careers while helping shape our organizational culture:
Celebrating Silvera’s long serving employees
Silvera’s longest serving employees were recently celebrated for their years of time with and commitment to the organization.
In addition to the ladies featured below, Lois Dougan, a Dining Attendant, will celebrate 44 years with the organization in April, and Linda Cormier, a cook at Shawnessy, has been a Silvera employee for 30 years. We admire the dedication of these remarkable employees!
Christine Payne, Active Aging Assistant
Christine has worked with Silvera for 35 years, kicking off her multi-decade career when the much-smaller organization was still named the Metropolitan Calgary Foundation.
“I started working with MCF as an Assistant Cook in 1981 when I graduated from the Culinary Arts program at SAIT,” Christine says. She worked for a few years before stepping away to have her children, then returned in 1986 to work in Dining Services.
Christine then enjoyed a succession of dining-related roles, including Head Cook and then Kitchen Service Manager at Westview, overseeing the dining and chefs there for five years.
Unfortunately, Christine developed carpal tunnel syndrome and was unable to continue in Dining Services. With encouragement from her manager, Christine retrained as an activity coordinator, which was a new role at Silvera’s Spruce community when it first opened. She received certification as an activity coordinator from Red Deer College in 2003.
Christine has been an AAA at Spruce, Westview, Aspen and now, Shawnessy. She loves teaching residents how to paint with acrylics.
“The evolution of activities at Silvera has been really interesting to witness,” she says. “When I started here, Active Aging was primarily about crafts and bingo, and it has evolved to more meaningful programming, ensuring we have activities that fulfill resident interests at each community.”
Christine says the secret to a successful 35-year career has been to always challenge herself to try new things. “I am always learning and developing different ideas so I can bring better programming to residents,” she explains.
“I don’t look at this as a job – I truly love doing what I do. I enjoy speaking with and working with residents. I love seeing how beneficial these programs are to them. My favourite part is hearing that the things we do make a difference to residents.”
Christine is grateful to have made lifelong friends at Silvera through the years. “The people I’ve had the chance to meet and the things I’ve had the chance to do – this is truly a career I never thought I’d have.
“Silvera has always supported me in my learning. I appreciate all of the opportunities I’ve had here.”
Kathy Secord, Technical Advisor, Dining
Working at Silvera began as a family affair for Kathy Secord.
In 1991, Kathy had three small kids and needed a job. Her former mother-in-law was a night attendant at Silvera and suggested Kathy apply as a housekeeper at Shouldice. After some time there, Kathy moved to the Westview Elbow Valley location (the predecessor to Westview Town Suites community) before taking a role at Bow Valley, where she moved into the kitchen as a Dining Attendant.
“My supervisor kept pushing me to get into cooking, so I did, eventually becoming Head Cook, then Food Services manager, and then Dining Services coordinator,” she explains. “Sometimes I would also help support other departments when they were short or fill in for community managers on vacation. I’m pretty sure I’ve done every shift in the organization and worked at every community!”
Over her three decades with Silvera, Kathy has seen growth and change many times over. But one thing that has not changed is her love and appreciation of residents.
“They are why I’m here. To have conversations with them, to listen to their stories about their life experiences and see the changes of this world through their eyes – that has been the best part of my career experience. I love building relationships with residents.”
Her family’s involvement with Silvera has continued too. “My oldest son would come with me to work when he didn’t have school. He would set tables in the dining room; he learned how to chop vegetables and make meals. Residents used to pay him and his siblings in candy to chase the squirrels away from the flowerbeds,” she laughs.
Her daughter also worked at Aspen as a Dining Assistant for a few years and volunteered with two of Kathy’s granddaughters at WPTOB catered events.
Kathy is now a Technical Advisor for Silvera’s Procurement and Supply Chain team, liaising with our food suppliers and managing vendor contracts. She was encouraged by a senior employee to take the role at the beginning of the pandemic.
“This job is totally different from anything I’ve done before, but I love it,” she says. “It’s amazing when somebody sees the potential in you and believes in you – it can really change your life.”
HR Chief recognizes long-service employees
Silvera’s 400+ employees provide exceptional, caring service and supports to residents every day. Forty-one of our committed, dedicated employees were recognized in 2021 with long-service awards through Silvera’s Employee Recognition program. They each received a certificate of recognition, a cash award, a new name tag listing their years of service, as well as a letter and pin from Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing for 10 years-plus employees.
“Long service employees are the rocks we rely upon,” says Michael Stuart, Chief Human Resources Officer. “They are dedicated to this work, and they really care.”
Michael delivered the following remarks to long-service award winners during the award ceremonies earlier this year:
I am always amazed and honored to work with long service employees because of the positive impact they’ve made on the lives of the many seniors in our communities over the course of their careers.
Long service employees provide encouragement, support and knowledge to others. They are the ones who “have our backs” in those times when we are unsure, unsteady, or questioning what we’re doing. This is not always an easy industry to work in. It takes time to learn about the organization, it can take a toll emotionally, and we work under a lot of regulations.
I acknowledge how fortunate we are that these long service winners have made Silvera a part of their career journey. We know that employees have many choices to pursue a service-oriented career in Calgary, and it’s special to see when someone has consciously chosen to have a career with us. We are grateful that they chose Silvera.
Our long service awards are also a recognition that our employees are professionals – they consistently take their work seriously, perform to the best of their ability, maintain a high ethical standard, and advocate for a high standard of excellence from others.
Finally, we believe that our long service winners exemplify living our values of honesty, innovation, relationships, and accountability. Not only do they live these values, but these values are aligned with their own, which is one reason why they are so committed to this work.
2021 Long Service Awards
- Rivera, Joshua – 5 year
- Abdirahman, Faiza – 10 year
- Juan, Catarina – 15 year
- De Jesus, Avah – 5 year
- Dunn, David – 5 year
- Escalona, Art – 5 year
- Guay, Araceli – 15 year
- Widanagedara, Chandrani – 10 year
- Avendano, Erlita (Nancy) – 35 year
- Hagan, Barbara – 5 year
- Adamson, Arlene – 10 year
- Singh, Rosita – 5 year
- Taneja, Shakti – 5 year
- Bayu, Bethelem – 5 year
- Pangilinan, Maria – 5 year
- Baggayan, Natalia – 15 year
- Welday, Feren – 30 year
- Pop, Tincuta (Tinca) – 30 year
- Spuler, Monica – 15 year
- Reimer, Neil – 5 year
- Bais, Marilou – 5 year
- Baracinas, Flora – 5 year
- Ghoneim, Hanan – 10 year
- Simpelo, Imelda – 15 year
- Bhandari, Bhupinder – 5 year
- Corson Boer, Elizabeth – 5 year
- Lawrence, Peter – 5 year
- Robinson, Nichola – 10 year
- Del Valle, Gliceria – 15 year
- Tauro, Melvin – 5 year
- Manalo, Jonzoon – 5 year
- Birkett, Tracey – 10 year
- Wong, Judy – 10 year
- Bonas, Petley – 5 year
- Secord, Kathy – 30 year
- Payne, Christine – 35 year
- Gloria, Calalily – 5 year
- Combalicer, Kathleen – 10 year
- Rendon, Lorna – 15 year
- Nelson, Jacqueline – 20 year
- Pham, Kim – 25 year
Healthy aging in a time of crisis
Olivia Chubey, Silvera’s Chief Service and Operations Officer, was recently interviewed for a Business in Calgary magazine feature about seniors’ health and wellness through the pandemic.
“Creating a healthy living environment has become a linchpin to Silvera’s evolving service strategy. It’s involved, among other initiatives, stepping beyond traditional programming methods and, instead, working with residents to co-design lifestyle programs more suited to their needs.”
Read the entire article about ‘Healthy aging in a time of crisis’ on the Business in Calgary website.
Employees support Pink Shirt Day
Silvera employees were invited to wear pink on Feb. 23 in recognition of Pink Shirt Day – a day in support of anti-bullying.
This year’s theme, Be Kind AB, encouraged Albertans to be inclusive, welcoming and supportive with colleagues, clients, friends and family. Building healthy relationships is one of the best ways to prevent bullying and create safe workplace environments.
Making the most of winter!
A few Valleyview residents recently took advantage of a snowfall to try out the community’s new showshoes.
Neil and Kathy joined our Active Aging Assistant Jacqueline for their first ever snowshoeing trip, cheered on by other residents who preferred to watch this time around. Afterward, Neil and Kathy both reported they enjoyed snowshoeing and will do it again, and looked forward to telling their families about their experience!