Every month we invite one of our team members to sit down with us and tell us more about their journey to Elder Care Alliance, their role now, and their insights into older adult care. We are excited to share the expertise and knowledge of our many team members who every day come to work and help our residents live their best lives today with us.
Today we welcome Sal Navarro, AlmaVia of Camarillo Culinary Services Director.
Us: Hi, Sal! Tell us a little about your background and your role at Elder Care Alliance.
Sal: I’ve been in the foodservice industry for 25 years, working at country clubs and senior living communities. I also have done private catering and bartending in all sorts of venues. All of my previous experience has prepared me for my role as Culinary Services Director here at AlmaVia of Camarillo. In this position, I oversee all aspects of the kitchen and dining room, from planning and ordering to training and implementing all that our residents need and expect.
Us: How does your work benefit residents at Elder Care Alliance communities?
Sal: Our goal in culinary services is to give residents more than they expect. We work hard to accommodate individual needs and preferences and love to make their favorite meals so it truly feels like home. We strive for excellence in our service as well as providing an atmosphere where they feel relaxed and valued.
Us: Tell us more about a specific feature of your job or duties and what residents can expect to gain from that.
Sal: We are constantly adding new menu items that meet both the desires of our residents as well as their nutritional needs. AlmaVia Chicken Salad is one example where we include ingredients according to the MIND Diet.
Us: What is one of your favorite memories or experiences working at Elder Care Alliance?
Sal: One favorite experience I have as a director is the company’s leadership retreat. I love meeting the other directors in the company, learning from each other, encouraging each other – even a little bit of competing with one another. It shows that Elder Care Alliance really cares about its leaders and team members. It also builds a common vision for what we are accomplishing to serve older adults.
Us: What is the greatest reward that your role at Elder Care Alliance brings?
Sal: One of the biggest rewards is when residents’ families join their loved ones for one of our special holiday brunches. They see and comment on how special we treat their mom or dad. Family members compliment us on the service, the great spread, and the fabulous decorations. I have a great team!
*Editorial Note: The MIND diet is a nutrient-dense diet that is good for many older adults. The MIND Diet borrows some of its best features from both the DASH and Mediterranean diets. The DASH diet provides nutrients linked to hypertension prevention while the Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The MIND diet combines the best aspects of both the DASH and Mediterranean diets to reduce the risk of common diseases experienced by older adults. The MIND diet includes a variety of nutritious foods that help older adults experience optimal mental and physical health as they age.