Pin on Pinterest

The Buckingham, Houston’s premier senior living community, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ricky Van Twest as director of dining services. The announcement was made by Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. Van Twest comes to The Buckingham with two decades of experience in the hospitality industry working in fine dining with luxury properties around the world.  

“We are thrilled to welcome Ricky to our community as director of dining services,” said Sheaffer. “Ricky’s culinary background includes working with three of our sister communities – The Barrington of Carmel in Indianapolis; Mirador in Corpus Christi; and, most recently, responsible for opening the newest restaurant at Edgemere in Dallas. He absolutely understands the expectations of our residents and their guests, and we know that he will exceed the already high standards of dining experience excellence for which The Buckingham is known. 

“Van Twest has over eight years of experience working with luxury hospitality properties around the world,” continued Sheaffer. “He is an experienced leader who has opened five Ritz-Carlton hotels in addition to assisting with dozens of overhaul renovations for various restaurants, lounges and other food and beverage businesses. Due to his previous experience, Van Twest can confidently handle the day-to-day activities within dining services while cultivating a successful team environment.”

“I’m honored to take on this role and look forward to providing our residents with exceptional service,” said Van Twest. “Remarkable food and excellent service are the epitome of hospitality, and that is what I plan to provide for the residents here at The Buckingham. Having worked in the hospitality and dining services industries for many years I understand what people expect when it comes to an outstanding experience, and I intend to provide that during every meal served at The Buckingham.”   

Pin on Pinterest

The Buckingham, Houston’s premier senior living community, has been recognized as 2017 recipient of the “Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award” by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), the leading association for long-term and post-acute care.

The Buckingham was presented the award during the AHCA/NCAL 68th annual convention and exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The award is one of three progressive award levels through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program, which honors association members across the nation who have demonstrated their commitment to improving quality care for seniors and persons with disabilities.

To qualify for the award, The Buckingham was charged with identifying a focus area within the community where the team could measure and show improvement. They chose to look at their QAPI (Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement) analysis and demonstrated successful implementation of new processes to positively impact their quality measures. 

The Buckingham applied for the award in January based on its mission statement and vision, as well as key strengths and challenges. Upon submission, a group of trained examiners reviewed the community’s application to determine if all criteria were met.

“At The Buckingham, we strive each day to provide our residents with a superior lifestyle and high-quality health services,” said Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. “We are honored to receive this recognition, as it highlights the dedication our team has to ensuring quality care. This award is evidence of their hard work and passion for maintaining excellence in service and hospitality.”

As a recipient of the “Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award”, The Buckingham may now move forward in developing approaches and achieving performance levels to qualify for the “SilverAchievement in Quality Award”.

“A dedication to quality assurance is something upon which our team prides itself,” said Phil Jacob, associate executive director of The Buckingham. “Receiving this award is a true testament to every member of our staff and their commitment to serving our community each day. Our team is the forefront of our organization. They are the ones working day-in and day-out with residents, and absolutely none of this would be possible without them. We are incredibly proud of their achievement and look forward to continuing to provide superior care and hospitality.”

In addition to independent living, The Buckingham offers assisted living, memory care, and long- and short-term skilled nursing residences.

Pin on Pinterest
Darrell Sheaffer, Scott Collier, Joe Anderson, Dr.

Within a matter of weeks, The Buckingham will unveil The Rosewood Grill, the newest casual dining venue at Houston’s premier senior living community. But residents had a sneak peek during a pre-opening reception honoring resident Dr. Jan van Sant, for whom a private dining and wine room in the new space are named.

Dr. van Sant, a wine connoisseur, is a former president of The Buckingham Resident Council, as well as the first resident to hold a full voting membership on the Board of Directors of Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC). Stocked with bottles of fine wines, the space offers a private dining experience. The Rosewood Grill is part of the Tower at The Buckingham expansion project.  The Tower is scheduled for move-ins by mid-November, shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Dr. van Sant is a fitting namesake for The Rosewood Grill’s private dining and wine room,” said Joe Anderson, president and CEO of SQLC. “As a beloved resident and board member, he has selflessly served The Buckingham and its sister communities, and he embodies the spirit of welcoming we feel in each of our communities. The Rosewood Grill and its private dining and wine room will be a special place where residents and their loved ones can spend time together for years to come. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate space to carry Dr. van Sant’s name and commemorate his legacy of service to The Buckingham and our organization.” 

“I was incredibly surprised and humbled by this honor,” said Van Sant. “In regards to the event itself, it was about the last thing I expected to occur. I’ve been privileged to serve not only the residents of The Buckingham, but the entire SQLC organization, while sitting on the board.  It’s truly something special in my life. Our goal is to ensure that residents living in our communities have everything they need to live life to the fullest, and I’m honored to have played a role in that mission.”

Dr. van Sant is a 34-year oil industry veteran with particular experience in the areas of exploration and production research and technology. After retiring, Van Sant was the executive director of the American Geological Institute Foundation, which raised more than $20 million for certain AGI-sponsored educational and other national programs. He later served as associate director of the Foundation. Dr. van Sant also served as Assistant to the Vice President for Research at the University of Houston, and was a member of advisory committees at various times at institutions such as the University of South Carolina, University of Utah, University of Kansas, and Rice University.

“There is no one more deserving of this honor than Dr. van Sant,” said Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. “His contributions have helped tremendously in our community, and it is a privilege to thank him in such a public way. We look forward to meeting the needs of more seniors in Houston, and the dedication of residents like Dr. van Sant helps us positively impact the lives of seniors each and every day.”

Pin on Pinterest

After the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey throughout Houston, residents of The Buckingham – Houston’s premier senior living community – are thankful for the support and dedication of the selfless team members who helped maintain a sense of normalcy during the storm. Many employees stayed at the community 24 hours a day to provide food, uplifting conversation and care to meet the residents’ needs, even as their own homes were flooded and their lives impacted significantly. To show their appreciation, the senior residents recently came together to help employees impacted by the storm during the community’s annual Oktoberfest fundraiser. The annual celebration began seven years ago when resident Inge Liesner began holding the event to raise money to support the Alzheimer’s Association. While coordinating the event for this year, Liesner decided that funds raised from the event would be put to best use by donating them to The Buckingham Relief Fund, which supports team members affected by Hurricane Harvey. In total, residents raised over $5,000 at this year’s event.


“Because the team here at The Buckingham took care of us, it’s only natural that we want to show our gratitude,” said Liesner. “The Oktoberfest fundraiser is not anything new for our community, but what we are doing with the funds for this year’s event is, and it’s absolutely the most appropriate. This event and the funds raised are only a small way to show our thanks, but it’s something we had to do knowing that so many of our team members were impacted by Harvey. This was our way of showing them just how much we appreciate everything they do for us, especially the sacrifices they made during the storm. We wanted to let the team members know that we don’t take them or their actions for granted.”


Each year, Liesner cooks a variety of authentic German dishes for those in attendance. During the event, residents were treated to traditional appetizers and beers during happy hour, followed by a seated dinner. During the dinner, attendees were served a number of homemade Oktoberfest plates prepared by Liesner, including Semmelknoedel, or bread dumplings; Spätzle, a Bavarian pasta; and Schweinebraten, a pork roast. The meal was followed by a dessert buffet filled with treats both new and familiar for those in attendance to enjoy.


“It’s safe to say that Harvey was unable to dampen spirits at The Buckingham,” said Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. “While the anticipation of the storm and the uncertainty of what would happen was present for all of us, our team did an incredible job of making sure that residents never needed to worry. It’s wonderful to see how our community has come together to serve one another during times such as these, and we are grateful for residents like Inge Liesner who lead the charge in lending a helping hand. At The Buckingham, we are truly a community where people care for each other, and it is resident-organized events like the Oktoberfest fundraiser that show the heart of our community.”

Pin on Pinterest
Fred Perkins, Carolyn Teague and Kenneth Snyder.JP

Every day, individuals around the world are envisioning ways to improve existing processes or creating entirely new products and systems to make life better for others. When The Buckingham realized that inventive individuals such as these were among their residents, the senior living community decided to recognize their notable achievements and contributions at a special presentation.


Recently, The Buckingham honored resident inventors including Fred Perkins, who received three patents during his career at Humble Oil, now ExxonMobil.


Perkins began his career in Humble Oil’s research department in 1952, focusing on well logging and later moving into developing new methods for the additional recovery of oil. At the time, the company was drilling for oil in Louisiana and needed new ways of extracting the maximum amount of oil from each well. Perkins and his team were charged with testing the viability and economic feasibility of alternate techniques which would benefit not only the company, but the entire nation for years to come.


As a result of his work, Perkins applied for and received three patents from the United States Government. The first invention was created with the intention of designing a directed method for logging wells, and the second and third were developed for recovery of oil located below the structurally lowest well in reservoirs where a natural water drive wasn’t present to push the oil up.


“It was always incredibly exciting to come up with something new and see it out in use,” said Perkins. “Being able to create and develop took a number of hours and more than a little energy, but the payoff was always worth the time spent to get there. From early in life I always wanted to know what it was that made things work, or at least what the thought process was behind something. As time has gone on, I know that many of the techniques we developed are no longer used. Someone has come along and improved on what we made. However, that in itself is incredible, as time doesn’t stop; things change and move forward. There will always be a way to improve on a problem that needs to be solved.”


Today, Perkins’ invention process is different from his days spent with Humble Oil, but is no less creative. He can often be found working in his kitchen mastering recipes or creating new ones which he enjoys sharing with fellow residents and team members at The Buckingham. He enjoys spending time baking and looking at recipes and thinking about how certain flavors and ingredients combinations can make something new. While he admits that baking is one of his favorite aspects of cooking, he particularly enjoys preparing fresh seafood. 


“I’ve carried an inventive spirit that’s never really left me, and I’ve found enjoyment in learning how something can be made new,” said Perkins. “I’ve learned that it’s always good to have your eye out for a problem or a need that others have. After all, it’s hard to invent something without a purpose. Inventing anything – whether it’s for drilling oil or creating a new recipe for cooking salmon – comes from an idea and from thinking of new ways to go about something. That’s something that I’ve carried with me and never intend to forget. My advice to anyone who wants to invent something or work to solve a need is to keep going and don’t be afraid to try new things.”


“We were excited to hear the stories of our resident inventors and learn more about their experiences and processes,” said Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. “Everyone is familiar with seeing a new product or hearing of some new idea and thinking ‘I wish I’d thought of that,’ and hearing from individuals like Fred Perkins gave insight into what the inventive process actually entails. Everyday something new comes along that changes our way of life, and it’s individuals like Fred who make that possible.”

Pin on Pinterest

The Buckingham, Houston’s premier senior living community, is pleased to announce the appointment of Philip Jacob to associate executive director. The announcement was made by Darrell Sheaffer, executive director of The Buckingham. Jacob started at The Buckingham as health care administrator nearly six years ago and has spent two decades in the hospitality and health care industries.

“We are proud to promote Phil to associate executive director of The Buckingham,” said Sheaffer. “He has been an exceptional member of The Buckingham team. With his familiarity with our community, residents, families and culture, we know that he will thrive in this new role. His commitment to serving our residents and their families is unmatched. We couldn’t ask for a better leader within our community as we continue to build on our reputation of exceptional service for area seniors.”

“With 10 years of experience in senior living and health care, Jacob focuses on ensuring that he meets the needs of residents and their loved ones,” continued Sheaffer. “Having been drawn to senior living after the passing of his father, he leads through the desire to positively impact seniors in all levels of living. Phil will continue to oversee the operations of the community’s health care program so that it runs in accordance with the highest quality of service. He will also handle the day-to-day activities of the community, meeting with each department to ensure daily operations run smoothly. However, it is Phil’s understanding of the community that will best guide him as he promotes a successful team environment and maintains satisfaction of residents and their families.”

“It is an honor to take on this role and provide a wonderful lifestyle and superior care for our residents,” said Jacob. “I have received an incredible amount of support and encouragement from the entire Buckingham family, and I am excited to continue fostering an environment of excellence. As associate executive director, I will have the opportunity to grow relationships with those we serve for years to come. My goal is to build communications between our residents and team members so we can elevate our ability to individualize our approach and infuse a culture of hospitality in all levels of living.”

Pin on Pinterest

The Buckingham, Houston’s premier retirement community, recently welcomed Bryant Li, Nathanial Zhang and Steven Dong, three of the most gifted student pianists in the Houston area, to perform a concert for residents of the senior living community. This special performance is a continuation of a yearly tradition started by Nancy Weems, endowed professor of music at the University of Houston Moores School of Music. According to Weems, the students benefit greatly from the experience and enjoy sharing their gift with others. For the past five years, Weems has been bringing students from across the country to perform for the senior living community’s residents in remembrance of former University of Houston colleague and friend Betty Ruth Tomfohrde, who lived at The Buckingham. Each of the students performing are students of John Weems, and they played a variety of classical pieces from composers such as: Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin and Claude Debussy.

Pin on Pinterest

The Buckingham, Houston’s premier senior living community, is pleased to announce the appointment of Darrell Sheaffer to executive director of The Buckingham. The announcement was made by Stan Waterhouse, president and CEO of Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation (SQLC), sponsor of The Buckingham. Sheaffer comes to The Buckingham with a background in managing luxury hotels and resorts. Throughout his esteemed career, Sheaffer has supervised complex operations, managed real estate development and overseen large construction and renovation projects. He has always committed himself to operational and service excellence at every level during his career, which parallels the standards and expectations of The Buckingham.


“Darrell has the ideal background, skillset and knowledge to serve as executive director of The Buckingham,” said Waterhouse. “As the community nears completion of its $72 million expansion, we are pleased to have Darrell oversee the remainder of the project. We are looking forward to witnessing how he works to foster an environment of excellence in our community. He is a natural leader and will continue to provide the high-quality lifestyle and care The Buckingham is known for throughout Houston.”


“It’s an honor to take on this role, and I look forward to continuing to provide a superior lifestyle and high-quality health services for our residents,” said Sheaffer. “It’s incredibly important to ensure that each resident is receiving personalized care, and the team must have the ability to adapt as each individual’s needs change. Having worked in the hospitality industry, I understand what people expect when it comes to an exceptional experience, and I intend to elevate the level of hospitality in our community. As executive director it is my responsibility to exceed expectations and make sure that The Buckingham continues to provide outstanding service for years to come.”


With over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Sheaffer has worked in the U.S. and abroad for some of the world’s finest hotel groups, including The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Fairmont-Raffles Hotels & Resorts. Sheaffer earned an associate degree in business with an emphasis in hospitality management from Lansing College and a certificate in financial management from Cornell University. Throughout his career, Sheaffer has been active in Rotary International in various cities, and plans to continue that while in Houston. Additionally, his commitment to serving others extends outside of his professional commitments, as he has even been recognized by the National Capitol Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the organization.


“I’m excited to be a part of the expansion here at The Buckingham, and look forward to seeing the project come to completion,” said Sheaffer. “Our most immediate need as a community will be to prepare for the grand opening of the tower, and to make sure our future residents settle into their new homes and feel comfortable. It takes time and effort to make everyone feel at home, and I will work to the best of my ability to provide a welcoming and hospitable environment.”


Due to his previous experience, Sheaffer can confidently handle the day-to-day activities of the community while cultivating a successful team environment and maintaining the satisfaction of residents and their families. Darrell believes in encouraging a people-first environment and is committed to providing outstanding personalized service for residents while working to develop high-performing employees and recruiting the best associates to join The Buckingham family.


“Darrell has an impressive background, and his personal commitment and dedication of time and energy to help our residents is remarkable. We are thrilled to have him as executive director,” said Cathy Lightfoot, director of marketing at The Buckingham. “We couldn’t ask for a better leader than Darrell as we work to continue a legacy of exceptional service for area seniors.”  

Pin on Pinterest

Residents and team members at The Buckingham, Houston’s premier retirement community, recently partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to observe the Longest Day in support of those living with Alzheimer’s. Held annually on the summer solstice, the Longest Day takes on a special meaning for the millions of Americans and their families affected by the disease. The sunrise-to-sunset event symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers. The Buckingham has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association and hosted a number of events and activities throughout the day for residents and team members to come together to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease on Wednesday, June 21 at the senior living community (8580 Woodway Drive). According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease, including approximately 360,000 Texans.

“Many of our residents and team members in our community know someone or have a loved who is living with Alzheimer’s,” said Cathy Lightfoot, director of marketing at The Buckingham. “We know firsthand the challenges that those living with Alzheimer’s face, and we strive each day to provide fulfilling experiences each and every day for our residents living in memory support. By participating in events like the Longest Day, we are able to encourage continued support for Alzheimer’s research.”

To kick off the day’s events, the community hosted its annual Mahjong tournament. During the tournament, 32 residents faced off in a friendly competition of Hong-Kong style mahjong, with the highest scoring participant crowned the winner. The tournament was chosen to start this year’s Longest Day festivities to celebrate life and the opportunity to do something loved by many in the community. Residents were encouraged to participate in their regularly scheduled health and wellness classes and activities, as well as sign up for a 15-minute time slot on the community’s NuStep recumbent cross trainer machine. Residents and team members traded off so that someone is on the NuStep machine all day long as part of the NuStep relay challenge. Across from the NuStep machine was also the community’s bake sale, where all proceeds went to the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the fall. The day concluded with a celebration happy hour for all participants.

The Longest Day is an extension of The Buckingham’s Masterpiece Living® philosophy, which serves as the retirement community’s foundation. The philosophy embraces a wellness-minded attitude which encourages learning in an individual’s key development areas – physical, mental, social and spiritual.

Pin on Pinterest

Research shows that for many adults, artistic outlets can help with emotional and mental health by triggering the creative areas of the brain. Through the focus and time spent on creative outlets, many people experience a reduction in stress and an increase in positive feelings as well as moments of joy and a sense of accomplishment. Five residents of The Buckingham – Houston’s premier retirement community – know this all too well, as they enjoy creating art and were recently recognized for their accomplishments. Residents Eve France, Elaine Heffler, Inge Liesner, Doug Meyers and Ruth Wisner all won awards from LeadingAge Texas’ recent ArtsInspire™ contest for various visual art mediums. The ArtsInspire contest highlights the talents of seniors living in retirement communities across the state of Texas. This special distinction highlights the resident’s individual artistic talents and showcases the community’s emphasis on encouraging fulfilling and engaging activities as part of the Masterpiece Living® philosophy. The Buckingham embraces a wellness-minded attitude and encourages learning at any age, focusing on an individual’s key development areas – physical, mental, social and spiritual.


“We are inspired by each of these individuals for their dedication to pursuing activities that are stimulating and positively impact their overall health,” said Pam Ortiz, director of resident services and lifestyles at The Buckingham. “Art is something that we can all relate to through the expression of our imaginations. We hope that by the examples our ArtsInspire winners, others will be encouraged to find purpose-filled activities that can provide them with similar feelings of accomplishment and stimulation.”


The annual ArtsInspire exhibit takes place each year in conjunction with Older Americans Month and the LeadingAge Texas Annual Meeting. This year, over 200 entries were judged by experts in each of the award categories, leading to the celebration of the winners and finalists at the 27th art contest in Austin, Texas. In order to enter the contest, participants had to be over the age of 62 and current residents of a LeadingAge Texas community. The Buckingham’s five award recipients received recognition in the following categories:


  • Eve France: 2nd Place in Soft Crafts – Decorative
  • Elaine Heffler: 2nd Place in Painting – Watercolor
  • Inge Liesner: 2nd Place in Painting – Alternative
  • Doug Meyers: 1st Place in Photography
  • Ruth Wisner: 2nd Place in Painting – Master Works


“We’re proud of our winners and honored to have them in our community as an example of true dedication to a creative outlet,” said Cathy Lightfoot, director of marketing at The Buckingham. “As part of the Masterpiece Living philosophy, we coach and empower the residents to actively pursue activities that engage the senses and strengthen their overall health and well-being in an effort to enhance all levels of living. Seeing our residents receive this recognition is yet another example of how this philosophy is actively benefiting our community.”