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The inaugural Culinary Cook-Off at the 2019 Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference featured cuisine from some of the best senior living communities across the country, including HarborChase of the Park Cities, a community of luxury senior residences. Ke’o Velasquez, director of hospitality, and Anthony Polito, a chef from a sister community, received the highest total points against their competitors during the Texas-themed competition in San Antonio. The duo received perfect scores in three out of four categories, including taste, creativity, and plating. For their winning dish, they prepared Guajillo Chili-Rubbed Wagyu Beef Brisket with a Mole Verde, with Fire-Roasted Poblano Pepper, Texas Pecan-Horseradish Cheddar Cheese Tamale, and Pickled Calabacita Slaw.

“This was a live-demonstration competition, so as we were cooking, we had to explain each step to the judges and audience,” said Velasquez. “As this was a Texas-themed competition, we wanted to incorporate as many local ingredients as we could. We brainstormed and visited different ranches and stores in search of ingredients we could include. From the vegetables to the hatch chilis and the beef, it was all authentic, and that played a part in our success. The competition wasn’t solely about showing off our cooking skills, it also focused on our explanation of the nutritional value and how the food benefits seniors. We are thrilled the judges were impressed with our meal. This was the first demonstration competition the conference has hosted, and the bar has been raised for the dining experience in senior living.”

HarborChase of the Park Cities prides itself for having a scratch kitchen and offering fresh foods for residents and their families to enjoy. The community offers formal, private and casual dining with nutritious and seasonal chef-prepared meals served daily. Velasquez changes the menu weekly, adding new foods and flavors to elevate residents’ taste buds. For the competition, the team wanted to showcase the type of food that is being made in their senior living community and change the old-school mindset people have. After the team’s success, Velasquez feels the culinary arts at senior living communities is moving in a positive direction.

“It was inspiring knowing that the judges and audience wanted to increase their knowledge of senior living cuisine,” said Velasquez. “It brought smiles to our faces to see perfect scores for creativity, taste, and plating. We worked hard on delivering a fantastic Texas dish, and it paid off. The residents at HarborChase of the Park Cities also enjoyed our winning dish. They have a desire for high-quality food, and we are honored to provide that. This was a true team effort, and we are excited to come back next year with a new creative dish that will knock the socks off the judges.”

“We are proud of Ke’o and the culinary team for what they were able to achieve at the first Culinary Cook-Off during the Argentum Conference,” said Heather Corton, executive director at HarborChase of the Park Cities. “We see their hard work and dedication each day in the kitchen, and we are happy to see the positive reactions from the judges and audience members. To receive a perfect score in three tough categories is amazing. We are lucky to have such a talented culinary team that is redefining cuisine in senior living.”

Photos: Courtesy of Argentum

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After hearing the moving childhood story of concierge Annette Alvarez, residents and associates at HarborChase of the Park Cities (a community of luxury senior residences) decided to collect donations for children, tweens and teens at the Scottish Rite Hospital. The community has collected various items, including card games, mini Lego kits, small stuffed animals, craft packets and activity books to help reduce the children’s anxiety and provide a distraction while they are at the hospital. The initiative is especially important for Alvarez because she once a patient at Scottish Rite. Alvarez was born weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces with dislocated hips. When she began to walk, her legs would get crossed and tangled. At the age of five, her mother took her to the hospital, where she stayed for the next two years with one wish: to be able to dance one day. Today, thanks to the exceptional care she received, Alvarez can dance as much as she wants. She and the residents are honored to collect items that will bring joy to the children at the hospital.

“Words can’t express how much love and appreciation I have for Scottish Rite Hospital and the care I received when I was a child,” said Alvarez. “My mom didn’t have the funds to take care of my treatments when I was in the hospital, but luckily their financial assistance program paid the entire bill. I know exactly what the children and teens at the hospital are going through. That’s why I am elated to have the opportunity to donate toys and other items that will put smiles on their faces during a difficult time.”

During her two years at Scottish Rite Hospital, Alvarez was confined to a hospital bed with pins in her legs and knees and received multiple surgeries. Alvarez says when her brothers and sisters visited her they weren’t allowed into her room, so they would wave to each other through a window. The only time Alvarez was allowed to go home was for Christmas. She remembers her mother helping her get into the car with a waist-high cast with a bar across her body. She was so happy to go home she didn’t even mind the struggle of wearing the cast. When Alvarez turned seven, she was finally able to go home and has lived life to the fullest since then. The community understands the pivotal role Scottish Rite played in Alvarez’s life and wanted to do what they could to show their appreciation.

“We are honored Annette decided to share her story, and we are thrilled to organize donations that will help lift the spirits of children who are going through the same thing Annette did,” said Heather Corton, executive director. “We can’t even imagine how difficult this must be for children who are currently preparing for a procedure or are in recovery. Scottish Rite Hospital does amazing things to help families take care of their beloved children, and we are proud to extend a helping hand.”

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HarborChase of the Park Cities (a community of luxury senior residences) is proud to welcome Dallas author and speaker Sarah B. Smith as part of the Park Cities Speaker Series. Smith wrote “Broken Beauty: Piecing Together Lives Shattered by Early On-Set Alzheimer’s, the story of her mother, known as Beauty, and her family’s journey navigating her mother’s diagnosis. Smith was a young mother in her 30s when her mother was diagnosed with the disease. She will share her powerful and personal story on Thursday, March 21 at 2 p.m. at the senior living community (located at 5917 Sherry Lane). Afternoon tea will be served. The public is invited to attend, but space is limited. Those interested hearing Smith’s inspiring story should RSVP at (469) 306-1963.

“I am honored to share my story with residents and guests at HarborChase of the Park Cities and to be one of the first speakers for the new Park Cities Speaker Series,” said Smith. “My book’s sole focus isn’t on death, it’s about how my family has taken a firm hold on life and celebrates Beauty’s victories. It was important for me to share my family’s experience with the disease. I wrote the book in narrative form, so you’ll be in my shoes walking along with me and my father on this journey. It hasn’t been easy, but everything we’ve done to help Beauty has been worth it. She is a young and fit woman who is making great strides each day. I hope the residents and guests who attend the event will feel the love my family has for my mother and is inspired to learn more about the disease and how they can help find a cure.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States which can’t be prevented, cured or even slowed. HarborChase of the Park Cities has a dedicated memory care floor where a compassionate and dedicated team is focused on the unique needs of each resident living with memory challenges. With Smith’s connection to the disease and the Park Cities area, the senior living community knew she was a perfect fit for its speaker series.

“Sarah’s journey has touched the hearts of so many, and we are honored for her to share her story at HarborChase of the Park Cities,” said Heather Corton, executive director. “Her story is relatable to millions of families across the country who have a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. She has a message of hope for others battling the disease and for those caring for their loved ones. Sarah is the perfect person for our next Park Cities Speaker Series. This will be a meaningful event that will leave guests and residents touched and inspired.”

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Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. For some, finding your one true love can be difficult, but Jackie and Don Sebastian (84 and 85, respectively) knew right away they were meant for one another. They met at the young ages of 15 and 16 in Baton Rouge, La. Jackie invited Don to her freshman class hayride and while there, they shared their first kiss. The two would date for a few more years before eloping in 1952 at the ages of 18 and 19. The two kept it a secret from their families for a short period of time, but after Don’s parents found out they decided to have a traditional wedding at a local church. Their love story spans more than six decades of career changes, traveling and raising two children along the way. Don will never forget the memories they created, but that’s not the case for Jackie. She was diagnosed with dementia and recently moved to HarborChase of the Park Cities (a premier senior living community) to receive quality care. Don also moved to the community to be close to his wife, but she doesn’t know he lives there. He visits her often, and while it’s tough, his love for her is stronger now than ever before.

“Dementia is very hard on everyone, but just because she has this disease doesn’t mean I love her less. Our love will never fail,” said Don. “I recognized Jackie’s memory starting to decline about five years ago. At the time, I was able to still care for her on my own. After I had surgery last year, I realized I needed help, so we moved to HarborChase of the Park Cities. We tried living in the same apartment, but her dementia progressed and it was time for her to move to memory care. Our love has never gone away, but she can’t know I live at the community. Each time I see her I’m thankful she remembers me, but she always insists on going home. She doesn’t realize this is her home. If I go too often, it will be harder for her to adjust and improve, and that takes a toll on me. I am grateful for the brief time I have with her when I visit. She has been the love of my life for 68 years, and the hard times make me stronger.”

Don was a businessman, and the couple moved between Dallas and Baton Rouge for several years before he and Jackie opened a company in Dallas in 1978. They had a successful career before deciding to sell the company in 2001 and retire. They enjoyed many years together before he noticed a change in Jackie. While it progressed slowly over the years, he feels she’s doing better at HarborChase of the Park Cities. He holds onto the memories from the last 68 years as he helps his wife through this disease. He also wants people to educate themselves about dementia because it can happen to anyone.

“Even though I am not able to see her every day, I know she loves me, and I love her. Each time I see her she is as happy as a lark and we hug and kiss. That’s something I cherish,” said Don. “It was her birthday recently, and each year I buy her two dozen roses. I know deep down she remembers that. I already have her chocolates and a card ready for Valentine’s Day. I still plan to celebrate our love because nothing can replace it. I just want people to not take things for granted, because one day your loved one may not remember the same precious memories you do. Our love is still there. I see the spark in her eye when I am with her. It may not be easy, but I am thankful to HarborChase for accommodating us and supporting me through this difficult time.”

“The love between Jackie and Don is undeniable,” said Molly Meyer, director of life enrichment. “He loves and supports his wife so much, and it’s inspiring to see. We are thankful the couple chose HarborChase of the Park Cities to provide Jackie the best care possible and be a home for Don. Our memory care floor has a compassionate and dedicated team that focuses on each resident. Jackie and Don have a one-of-a-kind love story, and he truly goes above and beyond for his wife.”

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Writing is therapeutic for people of all ages, as the quiet time encourages the expression of thoughts and feelings on paper. For Claude Dollins, a 78-year-old resident of HarborChase of the Park Cities (a community of luxury senior residences), writing in his journal and composing letters to family and friends has always been a passion. In recent years, he’s been able to explore this hobby in a different way due to cognitive decline. He has very little short-term memory, and writing in his journal has helped him relive memories he might not have remembered without the activity. After moving to the community, Dollins was inspired to join the Poetry Program at HarborChase led by Molly Meyer, life enrichment director, to help stimulate his mind and work through his emotions. The Poetry Program is a group writing activity that uses thought-provoking conversation to spur memories used to create poems.

“I’ve helped residents create more than 800 poems,” said Meyer. “It’s heartwarming to see the memories that come flooding back when you stimulate the senses of those with cognitive decline. I’ve worked closely with Claude, and the writing has proven to be cathartic and helps him process and express emotions. I’ve enjoyed working with all of the seniors at HarborChase of the Park Cities, and I hope to grow this program and bring more memories back for residents. Many don’t think poetry can help improve what’s lost, but I’ve seen it firsthand.”

The poetry program is used as a tool to help residents who live in memory care and “The Sound,” the name for the third floor of the community designed for seniors with mild cognitive decline. To start, Meyer will never say, “Let’s write poetry.” She understands that can be intimidating and doesn’t want residents to feel pressured. Instead, she presents a creative activity that involves memory and imagination. She’ll come up with a theme, then bring 3-D objects that residents can touch. After that, she’ll start to ask questions about the theme and objects. During this time, residents start to express themselves, which triggers their memories. While she is asking questions, she writes down the residents’ responses and turns them into a poem. Meyer says she’s had great success using this program with those who have cognitive impairment.

“On one occasion, I asked Claude about his childhood and how he nicknamed his dad ‘Rope’,” said Meyer. “Well, Claude doesn’t go by his real name because his grandkids nicknamed him Dako. After prompting him about his dad, he then started to talk about his childhood, high school years and memories he shared with Rope. Asking simple questions and digging a little deeper for specific details allows for memories to come back.  It’s amazing to witness, and I feel privileged to be there to document it so he can read it at another time.”

“The Poetry Program is a unique approach that enhances the lives of those living with cognitive decline,” said Dan Dollins, son of Claude Dollins. “My dad was an executive coach, and he always enjoyed talking and writing to others. It’s inspiring to know he is taking his passion and creating poetry. While he participates in group writing classes at the community, he also still enjoys writing in his free time. I bought him a journal a few years ago, and, so far, he’s written to my family and me more than 200 times. I’ve saved every letter. It’s a way for me to help my dad remember memories that he doesn’t anymore. It’s a beautiful thing to see and we appreciate how the community encourages residents to pursue their passions and participate in programs. I look forward to seeing more poetry he will create with Molly.”

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HarborChase of the Park Cities (a community of luxury senior residences) is answering your questions and addressing your concerns when it comes to Medicare. The community (located at 5917 Sherry Lane) will host a Dinner & Discussion session called “The Basic of Medicare: Making the Complicated Easier to Understand.” The complimentary event will help people understand Medicare and prepare for healthcare changes. The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending can RSVP by calling (214) 301-3667 to secure a spot.

The educational session will be led by Jeryn Laengrich. With more than 25 years of experience as a licensed healthcare professional and a leader in various organizations, she has witnessed and experienced first-hand how life’s challenges prepare people for their next adventure. Guests will also be treated to a delightful chef-prepared dinner with pairings from the community’s wine collection. This is the second session of a monthly learning series presented by the community.

HarborChase of the Park Cities understands that Medicare can be confusing and challenging, so they are hosting the Dinner & Discussion to help attendees better understand and prepare for changes. The senior living community has a dedicated team of professionals who will attend the session, and answer any questions guests may have.

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HarborChase of the Park Cities (a community of luxury senior residences) is answering your questions and addressing your concerns when it comes to senior living. The community (located at 5917 Sherry Lane) will host its first Lunch and Learn session called “The FAQs of Senior Living.” The complimentary event will help those considering a move to a senior living community or assisting a family member with a move. The event is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending can RSVP by calling (214) 301-3667 to secure a spot.

The educational session will be led by Life Enrichment Director Molly Meyer. As a senior living professional and adult daughter who helped her own parents navigate this path, she will share her insight and experience during the event. Guests will also be treated to a delightful chef-prepared lunch with pairings from the community’s wine collection. This is the first session of a monthly Lunch and Learn series presented by the community.

The Lunch and Learn session is a unique opportunity to ask important questions that can help you make savvy decisions when it comes to yourself or a loved one. HarborChase of the Park Cities has a dedicated team of professionals who will answer questions and help make the transition to senior living go as smoothly as possible for you or a loved one.

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Dozens of pieces of fine art photography were recently on display at HarborChase of the Park Cities (a community of luxury senior residences). From photographs of the great outdoors to vintage buildings, residents and invited guests were able to admire the works of art by Brandall Laughlin. The Dallas native’s photographs were part of the senior living community’s “Behind the Lens” event. Attendees enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres and sipped on signature cocktails as they walked through the community viewing Laughlin’s work. Laughlin also donated a beautiful piece that was featured in a silent auction at the event. The money raised benefited the Alzheimer’s Women’s Association for Resources and Education (AWARE) in Dallas and North Texas.

“Dallas is my home, and I am thankful to HarborChase of the Park Cities for allowing me to showcase my artwork at their stunning community,” said Laughlin. “I have been a photographer for more than 20 years, and it is truly my passion. I enjoyed sharing that with the residents at HarborChase and the guests who attended. It was an honor to donate one of my pieces for the silent auction. Alzheimer’s disease affects so many people across the country, and I am glad the money raised from the silent auction will benefit a local nonprofit in its fight against the disease.”

“We were thrilled to welcome Brandall to our community for our first ‘Behind the Lens’ event,” said Heather Corton, executive director, HarborChase of the Park Cities. “Her artwork is breathtaking, and we know invited guests and residents enjoyed seeing her work. Artwork is a major theme throughout HarborChase of the Park Cities. At every turn you will find striking pieces on display that stimulate the mind and senses. We knew her work would be a hit because our community already has eight of her images on display in our memory care dining room. Anytime someone sees the dramatic pieces they always compliment them. We are happy we were able to allow residents and invited guests to see her other incredible pieces and have the opportunity to purchase one their own. Brandall was very generous to donate a piece of her work for a silent auction. More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and any money we can donate to organizations like AWARE Dallas gets us one step closer to finding a cure for the disease.”

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HarborChase of the Park Cities, a new luxury senior living community, recently hosted a leading-edge etiquette and hospitality training program for all community associates. Led by international etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, the program is the first of its kind in the senior living industry. Attended by all community associates, the training was held at HarborChase on Tuesday, August 21. HarborChase of the Park Cities is owned by Dallas-based Silverstone Healthcare Company, and managed by Harbor Retirement Associates (HRA), a regional senior living development and management company based in Vero Beach, Florida.

“At HarborChase, we are sincerely focused on providing a five-star hospitality experience for everyone who walks through our front doors,” said Heather Corton, Executive Director of HarborChase of the Park Cities. “We are determined to provide our residents, family members and guests with an unmatched level of hospitality and services. We want to set the standard for excellence in hospitality for the Dallas area.”

The training’s featured speaker was Jacqueline Whitmore, an international etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. She has spoken to a wide variety of audiences worldwide and is the author of noted etiquette books. She is also a popular guest on radio and television shows around the world, appearing on ABC’s 20/20, CNN International, Fox News, National Public Radio and more.

Luxury, innovation, comfort and elegance are recurring themes in HarborChase’s community design. The community features the exclusive Chef’s Fare Dining. program with chef-prepared seasonal cuisine and customized dining experiences in multiple restaurants. Residents will also enjoy HarborChase’s signature Life Enrichment program, designed to provide social, devotional, fitness and recreational opportunities that have a positive impact on residents.

 

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HarborChase of the Park Cities, a new luxury senior living community, has won PCBC’s 2018 Gold Nugget Award of Merit for Best Service Enriched Senior Community in Assisted Living/Memory Care. The national award is presented by PCBC and recognizes innovators in design, planning and development. Featuring more than 10,000 industry professionals, PCBC is the largest homebuilding trade show representing the west coast region. The award was announced at PCBC’s 55th Annual Gold Nugget Awards, held on June 28 at the San Francisco Moscone Center. HarborChase of the Park Cities is owned by Dallas-based Silverstone Healthcare Company and managed by Harbor Retirement Associates (HRA), a regional senior living development and management company based in Vero Beach, Florida.

“We are truly honored to have received this prestigious national award from PCBC,” said Sarabeth Hanson, President and CEO of Harbor Retirement Associates. “It serves as a testament to the hard work and ingenuity of all of our wonderful partners on this project. We believe that our residents are going to be just as proud to live in this amazing community as we are to have created it.”

Known as the “Academy of Awards” of the building industry, PCBC’s Gold Nugget Awards are presented annually to top innovators in design planning and development. HarborChase of the Park Cities was built by The Beck Group, designed by BOKA Powell, LLC, planned by Pacheco Koch and features interior design by Thoma-Holec Design, LLC.

“We are all extremely proud of the way HarborChase of the Park Cities has come together,” said Kim Lewis, Chief Operating Officer at HRA. “Our feedback from our associates, our residents, their families and the entire community of the Park Cities has been outstanding. We are grateful to everyone who had a part in contributing to the design, planning and development of this innovative community.”

Luxury, innovation, comfort and elegance are recurring themes in HarborChase’s community design. The community features the exclusive Chef’s Fare Dining program with chef-prepared seasonal cuisine and customized dining experiences in multiple restaurants. Residents will also enjoy HRA’s signature Life Enrichment program, designed to provide social, devotional, fitness and recreational opportunities that have a positive impact on residents.

Located at 5917 Sherry Lane in the heart of Dallas’ popular Preston Center District, HarborChase features include full-service dining, spa & salon, 24-hour staff, scheduled transportation daily, housekeeping service, concierge services and multiple recreational rooms and programs. For more information on HarborChase of the Park Cities, visit www.hraseniorliving.com.