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Senior Living Scoop: July 2023

Get the scoop on senior living and happenings at Arete Living! The Scoop is released the first Tuesday of each month by Arete Living, proudly managing Avamere Communities, The Stafford, and Ovation.

Get this month's scoop below!


Featured Message: Celebrating Juneteenth with Guest Writer Joél Leon

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is considered the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. This marks the date on June 19, 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform people who were enslaved of their freedom.

In honor of this day, we released two special messages on Juneteenth. Arete Living President Sarah Silva released a message to employees, residents, and their families in remembrance of Juneteenth and invited readers to celebrate and learn.

Author Joél Leon shared with us the significance of Juneteenth and the strength we possess to shape a more equitable future. Read his Q&A on the blog!


Senior Living Scoop

Here’s your senior living knowledge scoop of the month!

It’s summertime! Get tips for keeping seniors safe in summer from our Ovation Heartwood Preserve senior living community in Omaha, Nebraska.


What's Happening

Here's what's happening in our senior living communities!

Arete Living President Sarah Silva and Director of Standards Jennifer Svoboda met with the Oregon Delegation in Washington, D.C.

Ovation Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, Nebraska celebrated their ONE YEAR anniversary!

Cheers to Ladies Night Out at Ovation Sienna Hills in St. George, Utah!

Avamere at Sherwood in Oregon had a colorful Pride Month!

We love pets! Avamere at Park Place in Oregon celebrated Pet Appreciation Week.

Avamere at Hillsboro in Oregon lived our mission "to enhance the life of EVERY person we serve" by donating items to local nonprofits.


Life Enhanced Spotlight

Featuring Brando Gutierrez, Executive Chef, Avamere at Newberg

By Mary Kleffner, Director of Sales and Outreach, Avamere at Newberg

A Father’s Day feast fit for a king! Avamere at Newberg Chef Brando Gutierrez (second from left) is surrounded by his culinary crew.

“Volunteering for a number of non-profits that feed the poor and growing up at my dad’s restaurants in Peru, as well as a terrorist group, inspired me to find a creative career where I can give back to others.” Brando Gutierrez

Brando Gutierrez, head chef at Avamere at Newberg, began cultivating his interest in culinary skills and helping others long before he got into high school.

While a youngster growing up in Peru, Brando often dined at one of his dad’s seven steak houses. His exposure to helping his dad prepared him well for what was to become his future endeavor.

The Shining Path, a terrorist group in Peru, drove Brando and his family to leave Peru and seek asylum in the United States. This otherwise tragic series of unfortunate events lead Brando to help others. His family not only found comfort in their new home state of Texas, but it also provided them with work. Brando discovered an even deeper love of helping serve others through the Texas foodbank that eventually employed him.

Taking his culinary skills and applying them to his eventual chef vocation, not only served others well, but also helped him build a stellar resume.

He went from Hawaii to Texas, then to California before landing in Oregon, working in the for-profit and non-profit world.

In San Francisco, Brando managed over 2,000 meals for 2,000 people per day at the Dorothy Day house in Berkley. He found it rewarding to serve the homeless. In Hawaii, those who were homeless on the beach were grateful recipients of his fabulous food.

Volunteering his culinary expertise wherever and whenever he could, Brando was encouraged by countless others to take his skills to higher ground.

Brando’s award-winning delicious and savory food prep skills were now being served in some of our nation’s non-profit service centers. So, the word got out.

His work led him to feed the prison population in Salem, Oregon where he also had the privilege to train inmates in culinary skills.

He found himself drawn to tending to the needs of older citizens so found himself drawn to senior living. His culinary skills are a hit in every community he’s served.

Prior to Avamere at Newberg, he was serving up to 600 meals per day at The Dallas Retirement Center. Now the Avamere at Newberg community is the lucky recipient of his scrumptious and nutritious cooking. In the short time he’s been with us, he’s “dressed up” the team and the dining room. Even regular occasions are special and special occasions are out of this world.

His gratitude shines through his excellent meal prep and presentation. We, too, are grateful for Brando’s addition to the Avamere at Newberg family.


Pets of Arete Living

Meet Ellie

Pet parent: Tanys Ross, Registered Nurse, Avamere at Moses Lake

Ellie is Tanys' little office mate! Everyone in the building loves this little lady so much.

Meet Jack!

Pet parent: Daniele Butler, Sr. Director of Sales and Outreach, Avamere at Englewood Heights

Breed: Black lab

Age: 2 ½ years old

Jack likes to play fetch and will not stop until his back legs give out. He likes to steal your spot when you get up or he sits on your lap!


Ovation Sienna Hills Named Best of Southern Utah

Ovation Sienna Hills, upscale senior living in St, George, Utah, was named Best of Southern Utah for the second consecutive year. Earning this honorable recognition is a testament to the Ovation team’s core values and mission “to enhance the life of every person we serve.”

“We are incredibly honored to be named the Best of Southern Utah,” stated Stephanie Grade, Regional Vice President of Operations with Arete Living, Ovation's management organization. “Thank you to the local community for your votes, to our residents and families for choosing Ovation Sienna Hills, and to our team members enhancing lives each day.”

Congratulations to the Ovation Sienna Hills team on this incredible achievement!


The Stafford Earns Bronze Commitment to Quality Award

The Stafford has been recognized as a 2023 recipient of the Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) for its commitment to improving the lives of residents through quality care. The distinction is the first of three progressive award levels through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program. The program honors providers across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to improving quality of care for our nation’s elders.

“We’re thrilled to be a two-time recipient of this prestigious award,” stated Stevi Smallwood, Executive Director of The Stafford. “This recognition showcases the true commitment our team puts into serving our residents and offering the vibrant, active lifestyle they love and deserve.”

Congratulations to The Stafford team!


Stafford Resident Awarded OSU Lifetime Trustee Award

Roy Gaussoin, an esteemed alumnus of Oregon State University and resident of The Stafford, was recently recognized with the prestigious Lifetime Trustee award. This accolade celebrates his remarkable contributions to the university and highlights his enduring commitment to serving the academic community. It is the highest recognition for volunteer leaders.

Roy’s dedication spans decades, during which he played a pivotal role in various projects and initiatives at OSU. Get to know Roy and his notable accomplishments, philanthropic endeavors, and his profound impact on the university.

Click here to read the article featuring Roy or watch the video below!


What We're Celebrating in July

Here's what we're honoring and celebrating this month. Follow Arete Living on social media to see how we're recognizing these moments!

Independence Day, July 4

Happy Independence Day! The fourth of July marks the birth of the United States of America. On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. It was signed later that year on August 2. Today we remember and celebrate our freedom!

Parents’ Day, July 23

Parents’ Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday each July. This is a day to honor parents and those who support and help raise children. Thank you to all who fill this special role!

National Disability Independence Day, July 26

This day commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990. This act protects people with disabilities from discrimination. The law includes voting, parking, and many areas of public life.

UV Safety Awareness Month

Summer is here! It’s a great time to learn how to protect your skin. Visit for tips from the American Cancer Society.


Share Your Experience

Your experience matters! Review on Arete Living or any of our communities online. Search your local senior living community on Google or review Arete Living using the links below.


Find Senior Living Near You

Arete Living manages 26 senior living communities. Find a place for you or your loved one to call home!

You could be featured in The Scoop! Share your furry friends, show off your family, recognize an employee, share good news, and more! Email

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