Connected Horse offers human-animal connection, engagement and understanding through its innovative workshops and research which encourage and support individuals living with dementia diagnoses, care partners and professionals.
Our work is solely focused on the relationship between people and horses. Through our equine-guided workshops we are supporting people affected by dementia and their caregivers.
We believe that the essence of each human being is inside each of us until we die. We will always look for ways to reach, connect and find meaning for those we serve.
We believe that animals have a lot to teach us and can provide us with valuable insights into our own healing process and purpose.
We believe that the human-horse connection is especially powerful and offers those affected by dementia opportunities to experience clarity, strength and healing.
Nancy is a co-founder and Educational Director of Connected Horse and is a widely known, highly regarded gerontologist and Alzheimer’s/dementia care specialist, consultant, speaker and trainer. As principal and founder of Alzheimer’s Care Associates LLC, she strives to enable her clients to achieve excellence in dementia care. Whether the environment is assisted living, adult day programs, skilled nursing or home care, Nancy is dedicated to promoting “person-centered” care that offers those with dementia opportunities to grow socially and spiritually and to enjoy enriched and satisfying lives. Nancy’s career spans nearly 20 years and includes hands-on understanding of senior care marketing, operations, budgeting, program development, planning and evaluation gained as staff in a variety of long-term care setting. She is a faculty member in the Gerontology Department of California State University Sacramento and the Program Forum Professional Training Program Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association of California.
Nancy holds a Masters Degree in Gerontology and has achieved national recognition and awards as a speaker, teacher and innovator in the field of Alzheimer’s dementia care programming. Currently she is a board member and education co-chair of the California Assisted Living Association and a member of the American Society on Aging, the Assisted Living Federation of America and the Gerontological Society of America.
Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk, MD, has over twenty years of experience in providing medical care to the elderly. She is board-certified in Internal medicine, Geriatric medicine and Palliative care medicine. Dr. Landsverk founded ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, a house calls practice, to address the challenging medical and behavioral issues often facing older patients and their families.
Dr. Elizabeth Landsverk, MD, is a board member of Connected Horse, and has over twenty years of experience in providing medical care to the elderly. She is board-certified in Internal medicine, Geriatric medicine and Palliative care medicine. Dr. Landsverk founded ElderConsult Geriatric Medicine, a house calls practice, to address the challenging medical and behavioral issues often facing older patients and their families.
Dr. Landsverk is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She is also currently the Medical Director at Silverado Senior Living in Belmont and has been a Hospice Medical Director. As a House Calls Geriatrician, she collaborates with local physicians to address the needs of complicated vulnerable elders to alleviate pain, agitation and discomfort through the utilization of geriatric and palliative care techniques.
Dr. Landsverk is a graduate of Stanford University and trained at Cambridge Hospital, Harvard University.
Paula is a co-founder and President of Connected Horse, and she has spent the last 25 years focused on improving service delivery systems for elders in need of care and services through consulting projects and executive management positions. She has broad experience in senior housing and assisted living operations, staff training, regulatory compliance, new program development and family and community needs.
She is the founder of Senior Living Consult and co-founder of The ElderHub and provides consulting services to organizations and individuals in need of operational and strategic direction regarding elder care services and program development. Prior to her current ventures, she was Executive Operations Officer for Emeryoak, LLC and Chief Operating Officer of AgeSong Senior Communities, operators of assisted living and dementia care communities, where she oversaw operations, marketing and new building development. Previously, she served as Vice President of Operations and Marketing for Elder Care Alliance, a nonprofit faith based organization, where she participated in all phases of feasibility, development, and operations for its assisted-living, dementia care, and multilevel long-term care communities in California. She also worked for ARV Assisted Living for 11 years in various capacities, including as Vice President of Operations and Strategic Planning, Regional Marketing and Acquisitions. Early in her career, she served as Director for the City of Anaheim’s Adult Day Care Program and as a social work intern at Highland Hospital’s Trauma Center.
Paula holds a masters of social work from San Jose State University. She is actively involved in state and national industry associations including past commissioner of the California Health Policy and Data Advisory Commission, past board member of Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), past Board Member of the Emeryville Municipal Transportation Authority, and is currently a Board Member and Education Co-Chair for the California Assisted Living Association (CALA) and the Chair of the Presence Care Project.
Elke is a co-founder and Chairman of Connected Horse, and she is passionately involved in aging, health and longevity issues and has partnered with Bay Area organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life of older adults over the past 14 years. Her primary focus has been marketing, business development and operations within the assisted living and home care industries. She has extensive experience in the development of new communities including the operational and marketing efforts required to achieve success while insisting on quality of care and excellence in programming. Elke co-founded AgeSong, Inc., an innovative development and management company of elder housing communities where she worked for 11 years. Her work was instrumental in AgeSong receiving the 2006 American Society of Aging – National Award for Excellence in the Field of Aging. Most recently, Elke founded AgeRelations. Through AgeRelations she provides advocacy and education to older adults and their loved ones when faced with new or challenging situations. The guiding principle behind AgeRelation’s mission is to provide information and resources to those in need.
Elke co-founded The ElderHub, a virtual community providing education and elder care resources for bay area residents. In addition, Elke provides business development services to Living Well Assisted Living at Home, continued outreach efforts, speaking engagements at major hospitals and leading the Parkinson’s Support Group at Kaiser in San Francisco.
Elke is a graduate of Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, where she studied Economics and Finance. Born and raised in Germany, she enjoys working with the diverse population in the Bay Area. She is certified by the California Department of Social Services as a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly Administrator, is past board member of the San Francisco Residential Care Association and past advisor of UrbanCaring . Prior to serving older adults, Elke worked at SAP, a market leader in enterprise application software within the areas of product management, marketing and business development.
Bernard is a Board Member of Connected Horse and Senior Vice President at Belmont Village. Bernard is experienced in operations, risk management and regulatory compliance. His experience in long-term care and retirement housing began when he joined ARV Assisted Living/Atria Senior Living Group in 1996. Bernard served as Senior Vice President, Chief Quality Officer, and Associate General Counsel. Bernard created, implemented and directed the Company’s Quality Improvement Program and headed its Quality Assurance Department. Bernard also managed ARV/Atria’s regulatory compliance department and headed the design and implementation of procedures to ensure compliance with licensing and other relevant regulations in a multi-state environment.
While at ARV/Atria, Bernard became immersed in the day-to-day operations. He participated and provided support for all areas of operations including formulating, revising, and implementing policies and procedures; participation in focused reviews of “challenged” facilities; audit and review of operations functions; and provided training to members of the operations, sales and marketing, care providers and food services departments.
In late 2005, Bernard Wheeler-Medley co-founded Monarch Senior Living and subsequently served as Chief Operating Officer of a west coast assisted living/independent retirement housing company with eleven facilities in two states.
Bernard was previously of counsel to the Hanson Bridgett law firm in San Francisco, where he practiced in the health care/retirement housing department. Bernard also served as the assisted living risk management/operations analysis consultant to Nationwide Health Properties, where he developed the audit instrument used by the REIT to assess operations at its properties. Bernard received a B.A. cum laude from University of San Diego. He also holds a Certificate (Premiere) from the Université de Grenoble (France) and a Juris Doctorate degree from Emory University (Atlanta).
Polly Miller is a Board Member of Connected Horse and the owner of Polly Miller & Associates, LLC. This consulting firm offers sales and marketing expertise, management coaching and customer service training to senior housing clients. Clients have included Koelsch Senior Communities, Sound Health Management, Kisco Senior Living, WESTliving and AgeSong. She has also served as a sales coach for clients of DEI Sales-Central.
As Chief Marketing Officer for Integral Senior Living, Polly Miller was responsible for the sales and marketing for over 40 ISL managed properties in nine states. ISL has grown to be the fourth largest assisted living provider in California with more than 3500 units under management. She was also responsible for new development and acquisitions for the company.
Ms. Miller is the former Chief Culture Officer of Aegis Living LLC, a $100 million private senior living company based in Redmond, Wash. With more than 30 years of experience in sales, training, marketing and community relations, Miller joined Aegis Living as its third employee in 1997 and played a vital role in the company’s impressive growth. As Chief Culture Officer, she was charged with making sure the company’s successful culture was preserved.
As their Chief Marketing Officer, Ms. Miller directed sales, advertising, public relations, community relations and training for 38 Aegis communities in Washington, California, Nevada, Colorado and Kansas. She is credited with the company reaching its goal of having one of the highest pre-lease percentages in the senior living industry, enabling Aegis buildings to reach stability sooner than the industry average. She was instrumental in the success of Aegis’ first Asian community, Aegis Gardens, by collaborating with the local advisory board of civic leaders on marketing and design issues. Ms. Miller has taught industry-related classes at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Southern California School of Gerontology.
Ms. Miller, who holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a K-12 teaching certificate from the University of Washington, started her career as a fifth grade teacher. With her experience teaching at the elementary and secondary school levels, she became the Community Education Coordinator for the Puget Sound Blood Program, receiving national recognition for development of a K-12 curriculum on blood education.
Born on Vashon Island, Washington, Ms. Miller spent the majority of her life as a resident of the Puget Sound area of Washington. She and her husband, Ken, have moved to California and just built their dream house in Amador City.
Dr. Claudia Sonder, DVM is a Board Member of Connected Horse and the Equine Specialist for the program. She has worked with numerous research teams advancing the health and welfare of horses during her tenure as Director of the Center for Equine Health at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Sonder currently practices in Napa, California as an associate of Napa Valley Equine.
Dr Sonder graduated from Tufts University in 1990, and the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. She sits on multiple boards advocating for horse welfare, safety and understanding including Sunrise Horse Rescue, Northern California Association of Equine Practitioners, and the Napa Community Animal Response Team.