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500-Plus Animals Part of the Team at Healthcare Organization
Date:1/16/2008

Firm Spends Half-Million Annually to Provide "Critter Comforts"

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A kangaroo, fifty-six dogs, forty-five cats, two miniature horses, two pot-bellied pigs, five rabbits, three guinea pigs and more than 400 fish and birds.

It's not the scene inside Noah's ark or an animal shelter. It's the menagerie at a healthcare company that invests more than $500,000 annually in caring for the pets that reside at its communities. The organization has also written and copyrighted a 40-page animal care manual that, among other things, lists requirements for the minimum number of pets at its locations, rather than mandating maximum limits.

The company is Silverado Senior Living, which operates 16 memory care communities and 11 service line branch offices in California, Texas, and Utah. Through Silverado at Home, the company provides home care and care management, and it offers hospice care through Silverado Hospice.

Silverado executives say having so many pets of so many kinds residing full-time at their communities goes far beyond traditional pet therapy and is essential to creating what they call Silverado's "living environment." One of the company's star animal residents is Elliott, a red kangaroo that lives at Silverado's Aspen Park community in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"We all know that pets provide the affection and unconditional love that can brighten seniors' lives," said Loren Shook, Silverado's president and CEO. "But at Silverado, we understand that the positive impact of animals can go even deeper. For example, we involve our residents in caring for the animals on a daily basis. Helping to walk, groom and feed them increases our residents' feelings of self-esteem and worth because they feel they are being productive. This is tremendously important, because it's so easy for those with memory impairment to feel helpless and unworthy and become depressed as a result."

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SOURCE Silverado Senior Living
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