Research at Silvera
Innovation paves the way
Silvera is one of the few seniors housing providers with a dedicated research program, which has the following goals:
- Provide positive, evidence-based direction for Silvera’s supports and services for residents. This includes evaluating and validating existing programming.
- Improve residents’ quality of life through research and evaluation findings.
- Act as an internal resource for Silvera employees looking for promising or effective practices, as well as assisting with methodologies and tools to help assess and evaluate programs.
Currently, Silvera is conducting or partnering to conduct research in the following themes:
- Active Aging
- Mental Health
Current research projects
A Literature Review of Outcomes of Having Pets in Supportive Living
Research: We partnered with UBC Pharmacy students to undertake a literature review so we could better understand the value of having pets living in our communities.
Innovation: Residents at Valleyview Community advocated for a community pet. Silvera employees had observed a ‘cat room’ at a peer housing provider, Cypress View Foundation in Medicine Hat and investigated this possibility with residents, employees and Public Health.
Silvera has now opened a Cat Room at our Valleyview community where residents are foster parents to a cat from the Calgary Humane Society. Residents can watch and book individual visits with the cat. We’ve also changed our pet policy so new residents who have small, long-term pets can move into select Silvera communities.
Evaluation: We will be evaluating our efforts to inform the expansion of our pet framework across the organization.
Knowledge Translation: We will be sharing our process and results with our partners in the sector by developing a toolkit to explain how we did it.
Research: Silvera and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) business students examined the feasibility of introducing student residents into our communities. Four SAIT business students worked with Silvera to develop a business plan about a potential inter-generational living program. The students completed a marketing and sales plan, an operations plan and a financial plan.
Innovation: The students found the program to be feasible. Residents were interested, particularly if students were in health-related studies and committed to live in a Silvera community for at least a year. Silvera is looking for opportunities to implement such a program.
Silvera Artist: Connecting and Inspiring Silvera Communities
Funder: Rozsa Foundation
How can arts help inspire Silvera residents to experience life more fully? That was the question we asked our consultants. Through research and focus groups, they reported the best ways to activate an arts program for Silvera residents.
Outcome: Silvera will be launching a new program—Silvera Artist—in 2022 to bring various types of artists to Silvera communities to engage residents in all kinds of new forms of art, including performance and visual arts.
Innovating Dementia Support in Supportive Living
Funder: Silvera and City of Calgary – Home Program
Silvera partnered with a PhD student in the Community Health Sciences department at the University of Calgary to identify and validate the most promising emerging practices in supporting residents who live with dementia, and our employees who work with them.
Outcome: Silvera is developing a customized dementia training program that will provide employees at all levels with the most current evidence-based training to help them and residents enjoy a better quality of life.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Framework
Silvera recognizes that both our employees and residents are coming from increasingly diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. In this project, our consultants co-created a diversity framework that will drive Silvera forward as a leader in the seniors housing sector regarding inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) issues.
Outcome: Silvera will be taking steps to translate the framework into an action plan to be rolled out across the organization starting in 2022. Residents and employees will see increased opportunities to learn and experience diverse cultures and lifestyles. We will implement new ways to improve job satisfaction, engagement and promotion for all employees as well.
The Psychosocial Impact of COVID-19: Risks and Recommendations for Silvera
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, no one knew the impact long-term isolation would have on Silvera residents’ mental health. We undertook a literature review to determine the risks of this isolation to better prepare our employees for this journey.
Outcome: Silvera employees are better equipped to understand the effects of long-term isolation on residents’ well-being during a once-in-century global pandemic. Silvera has also introduced new practices that are designed to mitigate pandemic disruptions for both residents and employees.
MAiD: Medical Assistance in Dying in Supportive Living
A University of Calgary graduate student completed a literature review on current issues surrounding MAiD, especially in supportive living communities like Silvera’s. Focus groups with residents in five Silvera communities informed the recommendations.
Outcome: The literature review and focus groups provided a firm evidentiary basis for Silvera to move forward with end-of-life programming, including how best to remember departing residents due to death or transition to higher levels of care.