Congratulations to Leo Aguilar, Director of Culinary Services from Silverado Senior Living San Juan Capistrano in California.
A Place for Mom recently caught up with Leo to congratulate him on his prestigious award and to learn more about his work with seniors. Here’s a little about Leo and his role in the senior living industry:
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Q: How did you end up working in the senior living / senior care industry?
A: In the beginning, I didn’t know anything about the senior care and not much about cooking. This was my first job in USA and I fell in love with the residents and the culinary world. Plus I felt that I was in the right place to start a career and, at the same time, I would help the residents get better service and better meals! Silverado Senior Living has been my school as both a person and as a professional.
Q: You were selected as a winner because you champion quality of life for senior residents. How do you do this?
A: Every morning I wake up, put my legs on the ground and say, “This is going to be a great day!” Then I reflect this attitude to my staff and to every person in Silverado Senior Living. We need to give life every day—and our rewards are the big smiles from our residents.
Q: What is a memorable moment you’ve had with a resident or family of a resident?
A: I have had many moments with the residents and their families, but there is one that I will never forget…
We had a resident a couple years ago, Bertha
—a little, Italian and very “special” lady. She would always get a salad from me, but one day she didn’t get up and I went to her room and we said “hi” each other and the she started talking. I remember that she said, “Leo I’m tired and I’m old, you are young and I want to say some words before I go… Some day you will be recognized for your hard work and passion. Give respect to get respect, help the people who deserve it, and always
—no matter what
—stay on the ground. You have what’s needed to be successful.” I had tears in my eyes and I responded to her: “I will never change and I’m really happy to have you in my life.” Then I went back to work and I went home thinking about her and the next day she passed away.
It’s a lesson for life and those words will be always in my mind:
Q: What inspires you to do what you do for seniors to help the fight against ageism?
A: What inspires me is that they’re tired and old, but when you ask them, “How are you?” they always say, “Great!” with a big smile. This makes my day, every day. They were important people and all of them have a mark in the history; that’s why they deserve to be served like if they were the president of the USA.
Q: Do you volunteer as an advocate for seniors? If so, where and what do you do?
A: I haven’t volunteered, but my grandpa had bone cancer in his 80’s
—so I moved to his house when I was 12 to take care of him because he said he would “never let a women take care of him” (he was a strong, tough and grumpy man – Lol). I took care of him for about 3 years and every night I would wake up 5 or 7 times to help him to go to the bathroom because he wasn’t able to do it by himself.
He was like a dad and he helped me to become the person that I am today. I wish I could see him now to show him what I have become , thanks to his efforts.
You can view other Argentum Hero Award Winners here. Don’t hesitate to congratulate Leo Aguilar in the comment form below.
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