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Ron and Irene Fraser celebrate their 65th anniversary, complete with the original cake topping piece from their wedding.

Ron and Irene Fraser celebrate their 65th anniversary, complete with the original cake topping piece from their wedding.

When it comes to milestones in one’s life, not many can claim a marriage that has lasted 65 years – and counting. Friends and family gathered at United’s Garrison Green recently to help Ron and Irene Fraser and two of their four children celebrate the special occasion.

They met while working at Rooney’s Garage at 14th Ave. and 1 Street SW. Ron pumped gas while Irene worked in the office. Ron borrowed a friend’s car to take Irene on their first date. “It was love at first sight,” said Ron. After that they were never apart. They married in 1953. They now have four children and six grandchildren.

 

Ron remembers their wedding day. “I drove her home to change for the reception. The car radio was playing a Hank Williams song, Take These Chains From My Heart. Irene hummed the song all the way back to the reception.”

Daughters Karen Mills, left, and Corrine Yon celebrate the day with Irene and Ron

Daughters Karen Mills, left, and Corrine Yon celebrate the day with Irene and Ron

 

“Calgary has been very good to us,” said Ron. “We married here, raised our family here and bought our first and only house here in 1962 in Bankview for $11,500.” The house still stands near the corner of 17th Ave. and 14th Street. They lived there until 2017 when they sold it to move to Garrison Green.

“This is a really important milestone, a really special day for them,” said daughter Karen Mills, who along with her sister Corinne Yon were with Ron and Irene for the celebration. “A 65th anniversary is almost unheard of these days. They are very devoted to each other.”

 

They received a long list of congratulations from politicians such as the prime minister and premier…and from the Queen. “It’s a really nice gesture,” said Ron. “We feel very fortunate,” said Irene. This is the second congratulatory letter they have received from the Queen. The first was for their 50th anniversary. They renewed their vows on their 25th anniversary, and the years have quickly moved by. “One year goes after another and pretty soon it’s 50 years, then 65,” jokes Ron.

Is there a secret to staying married for so long? “Just get along with each other. Agree with each other, be flexible rather than fighting, and love each other,” advises Ron.

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 

 


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This week’s article is written by United resident, Jim Dolph. Always optimistic, Jim has shown many fellow residents and our staff a different way of looking at life. Having lost a son and his wife, Jim says that death should be accepted as a natural part of life. Jim talks about two aspects of loss. The first is how we deal with it on a personal level. The second is the importance of surrounding ourselves with family and friends for support. Here he describes his personal journey and offers advice for those going through a loss in their own lives.

By Jim Dolph

Jim can often be found practicing on his guitar

Jim can often be found practicing on his guitar

When a person goes through bereavement, there are two aspects that I think are important. The first is how we deal with a loss on a personal level. The second is the importance of surrounding ourselves with family and friends for support. Every person is different, but each must find a strength within themselves to carry through. For me, it was my faith in God and the wisdom of those who have gone before us. I hope my experience can help others find the comfort I found in wisdom and community.

Before my son passed away in 1995, I was drawn to the wisdom of others in religion and philosophy who spoke of the meaning of life and death. I was struck by their words, which have given me comfort and helped me come to terms with my losses. I have always been one to look forward, not back, and to embrace life.

I’m really drawn to an analogy about a river joining the ocean. I recall a quote from Samuel Coleridge: “How well he fell asleep! Like some proud river, widening toward the sea. Calmly and grandly, silently and deep. Life joined eternity.” That analogy really helped me because it clearly says to me that death is not the end but simply a transition. This is the common thread or message that runs through all of the wisdom traditions and religions. I know that Jeffrey and Laura have made that transition. I hold their memories close, but knowing that they have moved on to something better has given me the permission, if you will, to move on with my life. I want to serve others and have a useful life. In many ways, we can see our loved ones in the lives of others we serve.

Jim and friends singing in the Garrison Green choir

Jim and friends singing in the Garrison Green choir

Laura and I moved to the Garrison Green community a few years ago. Laura became ill and passed away in 2015. We had made many friends here and it was the community that supported me and still does today. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to go home to an empty house. In that respect I had family and friends, some who have also gone through the loss of a wife or husband, who supported me. And now I’m in a similar position, and support others who find themselves facing a loss.

Following the losses of both Jeffrey and Laura, many friends and acquaintances shared their own bereavement experiences with me. What a comfort it is to know that I was not alone. There is a whole crowd out there sharing my feelings. Best of all, there is a strong consensus that we will see our departed again.

Jim with one of his many paintings

Jim with one of his many paintings

Being surrounded by a supportive community also means engaging in life-affirming activities such as music and art. I am frequently in the art studio, learning new ways to express myself. I’m also drawn to music – and regularly practice on my guitar – and attend many of the performances by the musicians who come to Garrison Green, or who perform concerts in the larger Calgary venues.

I enjoy life. That’s what Jeffrey and Laura would have wanted.

I have seen the words, “Gone, but not forgotten” on memorials. This is a sad concept  because it regards death as a termination. I like and agree with this memorial, posted on a bench on the trail to a mountain peak. “And when you have reached the top, then shall you begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”

I know Jeffrey and Laura are dancing, and that is a freeing thought, one that I often think of as I continue to embrace my life with the help of my family and my community.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions, United Active Living

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 

 


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“Social innovation thrives on collaboration; on doing things with others, rather than just to them or for them.” – Geoff Mulgan, National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts

Innovation and collaboration are two important words in the vocabulary of United Active Living’s new director of quality enhancement and innovation. For Cheryl Crich, both are key to keeping United in the forefront when it comes to working alongside older adults.

Cheryl has taken over the position from Dianne McDermid, who recently retired. With Cheryl’s joining, the role of innovation was added. While United’s philosophy has always been innovative, creating a focus on it ensures that United builds its knowledge in the most recent developments in older adult lifestyles, wellness and dementia support.

“United’s philosophy of including those living with dementia rather than segregating them from the community is very attractive to older adults and their families,” said Cheryl. “It’s rare to find a community that does this, but other inclusive communities, particularly in Europe and the U.S. are developing and enhancing their approaches.  We are part of that movement and can both share our experiences with them and learn from them.”

Cheryl Crich with residents Jack Boyd, standing, and Albert Gething

Cheryl Crich with residents Jack Boyd, standing, and Albert Gething

Cheryl, a registered nurse with certification in gerontology, was very excited to join the team at United. “The medical side of care is primarily focused on fixing a health issue, what I would call “doing for” someone. I value a broader focus on quality of life and wellness, or “doing with” someone. The difference is collaboration with residents and their families. It’s a person-centred approach that is at the heart of what United does. Our philosophy, values and holistic approach support residents to maximize their lifestyle, health and wellness.”

Cheryl’s background in geriatrics and gerontology has spanned the last 22 years of her career.  She came to United from Alberta Health Services where she was a manager of specialized geriatric services. She had toured Garrison Green and was familiar with United’s approach. She was also a former student in Dianne’s gerontology classes at Mount Royal University, so when Dianne’s position opened, Cheryl was keen to apply.

“It was highly appealing to me to come here. For me, focusing on residents’ strengths and continuous growth are essential. The positive side of aging may often be overlooked in society, but at United, the residents are living that positive focus every day,” said Cheryl.

Cheryl shares a laugh with residents Ray Waldock and Vivian Thomas

Cheryl shares a laugh with residents Ray Waldock and Vivian Thomas

“The thing that struck me most about coming to United was the resident experience,” said Cheryl.  “There is vitality and engagement in life here, a high level of happiness. My goal is to grow and build on the foundation that has been laid here. We have always been at the forefront of the wellness and inclusion philosophy and I can only see that expanding. I’ve been here two months and so far the whole experience has been so powerful and energizing!”

Photos by: United Active Living

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

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“When one door closes, another opens” – Alexander Graham Bell

Dianne McDermid lives an active life. At 74, she hikes, bikes, dances and travels. She was instrumental in supporting Gail Hinchliffe’s philosophy behind United Active Living and the person-centred philosophy that is the focus of everything United does.

Gail met Dianne while Dianne was teaching a gerontology certificate program at Mount Royal College (now Mount Royal University). “While Dianne’s training as a nurse focused on a medical model of aging, I found in Dianne a kindred soul in wanting to develop a different approach,” said Gail. “While the industry was very prescriptive in its approach – all older adults should be treated the same way, meal times were set, medication given a certain way – Dianne was the only person at the time who understood what I was trying to do and that older adults should be treated as individuals. She was so extremely supportive.”

At the end of April, Dianne will leave United to focus on other interests. She doesn’t use the word “retirement” because she plans to stay just as active.

“I don’t ever see myself as a stereotypical senior, even though society slots me into that category. I’m very active and I’m constantly exploring new things. The outdated but typical view in society is that when we turn 65 we retire, and when we get older we move into a seniors’ home. For today’s older adult, that ageist view is completely wrong and we need to change our view of older adults and stop putting limitations on them. When I became involved with United I was already at your typical retirement age. Everything we’ve done was done when society says we should have stopped working!”

Gail says that Dianne’s expertise as a registered nurse and educator brought a great deal of credibility to the new endeavour. “Nursing staff we hired came from a medical background and Dianne played a vital role in ensuring that they understood the new philosophy while also exceeding the necessary licensing and regulatory standards important in our industry.”

Gail noted that the final paper she wrote in Dianne’s gerontology program was on building community, and the importance of establishing community partnerships, which laid the groundwork for the Garrison Green community. Gail credits Dianne’s approach to aging and the ongoing support she provided for the successful community United has become.

“I taught Gerontology from a positive perspective,” said Dianne. “Getting older isn’t about decline, but opportunity. Because of my training my early perspective came from the medical model – the physical side of aging. But the physical side isn’t the whole person. Attitude is so important. Our attitude governs how we see ourselves as we get older. We really can thrive as we age. What I taught was subjective. What we are doing at United is putting theory into practice. The residents living here see the philosophy turned into reality, and we continue to focus on what people can do rather than on what they can’t.”

A few years ago we recorded a video that further explains United’s philosophy and includes an interview with Dianne. You can watch it here.

“I’m thrilled with how well United’s philosophy has been accepted. Residents see it every day in our extensive arts and music programming and in our unique United Minds memory care program. We believe that people with dementia should be part of the community, not shut away in a closed wing as happens so often in other places. Everything we do is centred around the person. Meals are available any time during the day rather than restricted to certain times for the sake of efficiency. Residents don’t have to conform to our rules, we conform to their lives,” said Dianne, whose role at United was director of quality enhancement, and who was instrumental in achieving United’s latest Accreditation with Commendation  rating from Accreditation Canada.

“That’s the way I’m going to live the next stage of my life. I’ve created an environment that I want to live in. I’m going to live my life according to my values and get only as much support as I need. I’m not going to change my routine just so I can fit in somewhere. Should I choose to move into an older adult community, it should fit my lifestyle, not the other way around, and it should accommodate the different stages I go through as I age. That’s what we’ve created at United.”

Dianne has always said she would work until 75 and then change her focus. Her future plans aren’t set in stone, but she will pursue what interests her. Just as she does today.

“I look back and compare how older adults were viewed 50 years ago and how we see them today and there has been a positive change, but it’s not enough. We still hold biases against older people, and even older people hold those biases about themselves. They restrict themselves by ‘acting their age’ or by dressing more conservatively. So not only does society’s views need to change but our own views about who we are and how we want to live our lives.

“If I have any advice to give, it would be to maintain a positive attitude. Don’t buy into the notion of limitations. Don’t limit yourself to meet someone else’s expectations, and don’t allow your chronological age to dictate how you live your life. I’m almost 75 but I feel like I’m in my 20s. That’s how I see myself and how I will continue to live my life.”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

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Two of the most prolific artists at United’s Garrison Green community are Hugh and Kay Kuwahara. Despite just turning 104, Hugh continues to paint every day and his wife of 77 years, Kay, who will be 98 years old in May, is keeping her easel busy as well.

Together with their son Doug, and his wife Anne, Hugh celebrated his birthday with about 100 of his closest friends, and at the same time, Hugh and Kay’s works were put on display.

Hugh Kuwahara at work in the art studio

Hugh Kuwahara at work in the art studio

“We moved to Garrison Green six years ago,” said Hugh. “I had been introduced to water colour painting by a friend at another community we lived in, and carried that over to here. I like doing mountain scenes. They are a lot easier than faces!” he jokes.

Hugh and Kay spend part of every day in the Garrison Green art studio, where they have become regular fixtures, working on a variety of projects.

Kay Kuwahara with one of her paintings

Kay Kuwahara with one of her paintings

“The art studio was one of the big reasons we suggested they move to Garrison Green,” said daughter-in-law Anne Kuwahara. “We looked at the creative programs and thought this would be an ideal place for them.”

“My dad has always been creative,” said son Doug. “After he retired, he took up wood carving and produced a large number of pieces. And then before coming here, he took up painting.”

Together, Hugh and Kay have produced dozens of pieces.

Time your visit to take in Stonehenge at dusk

Autumn Glory by Kay Kuwahara

Old Giants by Hugh Kuwahara

Old Giants by Hugh Kuwahara

“I really didn’t start painting until I came to Garrison Green,” said Kay. “I saw the art studio, saw what other residents were doing. Now it’s something I really enjoy doing. Living so close to the mountains is a real inspiration for my paintings.”

At 104 and 97, the Kuwaharas are an inspiration when it comes to creativity. “I don’t think about age,” said Kay. “It’s not something that stops us from painting. We really enjoy it so we’ll keep doing it.”

As Kay mentioned, age is no barrier to creativity. See what other artists say about it in this video.

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

Contact us here!

 


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Life is about creating our own stories, and the memories we create are the photos that go with the stories. But stories are meant to be shared, and the partnership between Mount Royal University and United’s Garrison Green community ensures some of those stories and memories are passed on.

Professor Richard Harrison with the collected works of residents and students

Professor Richard Harrison with the collected works of residents and students

What has become an annual Life Writing Project, first proposed by the late residents Cam Mitchell and Tim Tyler, pairs English students with residents. They tell and record the stories, which have sometimes profound effects on both. As Mount Royal’s Richard Harrison, professor of English and Creative Writing, says in the introduction to volume 4 of the collected stories of Garrison Green residents, “The result is that beautiful moment the world becomes larger because the people on both sides of the story they are making become less alone, less defined by where they live or how old they are. Instead, those parts of us that often confine become gifts.”

The stories in volume 4 carry with them a range of emotion – drama, comedy and tears.

The cover of this year’s book shows two arms intertwined. They belong to resident Nigel Way and student Annie Wauthier, and expresses the bond that develops between resident and student that often remains long after the project has ended.

Annie Wauthier with Nigel Way

Annie Wauthier with Nigel Way

“Working with Nigel has allowed me to reflect on our society and how we treat seniors,” said Annie. “I think about our indigenous population and how they value their elders. Storytelling in that culture gives the elders a voice to their experiences. For me, I’ve learned a lot about how society has changed. Through this experience I’ve developed a close relationship with Nigel and his family.”

Others in the program have come away with similar thoughts. Former students Logon Pollon, who now facilitates a poetry program,  and Monica Schmidt, now Garrison’s program development coordinator, continue their relationships with residents. For a look at the first project, watch this video.

Student Megan Nega and resident Hertha Reich

Student Megan Nega and resident Hertha Reich

There are six stories in this year’s book. One story by student Megan Nega and resident Hertha Reich spoke of making a difference. While teaching a young class, Hertha had a difficult student who was often angry and refused to participate. At one point he storms out of the class in anger but comes back and asks to rejoin the class. The story continues, “Paul sat in her lap, put his arms around her and said, ‘I like you Mrs. Reich.” With tears in her eyes she said, “I like you too, Paul.” She had got through to him. It was a victory to see him join hands with the other children. It was those moments where Hertha thought, “I have made a difference.'”

 

Resident Wendy Martin reads an excerpt from her story

Resident Wendy Martin reads an excerpt from her story

Richard Harrison, who recently won a Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, spoke of the impact that storytelling can have. “Telling a story to someone who has never heard it before changes the teller and the listener. Families may have heard the stories before, but telling them to a new audience can often enrich the dialogue, and the stories are told in a new way. It lets them see their lives in a new way.”

Richard encouraged the students to write the stories as if they were listening in on a conversation, and the result is often candid and humorous. In his introduction Richard noted that the process changes lives. “In short, in this book there is life. And stories.”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

Contact us here!

 

 

 


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President and CEO Kim O'Brien

President and CEO Kim O’Brien

Kim O’Brien joined United Active Living as president and CEO just seven weeks ago. During that time she has met residents and staff and immersed herself in United’s unique, older adult lifestyle. She describes what is happening at United as “something special”.

“I’ve really been taken by the progressive view of aging that is the basis for everything United does,” said Kim. “Before coming here, I’m sure I had a preconceived idea about what growing older meant and how that affected my own approach to aging, but it’s clear from seeing how active and involved residents are in the programs and activities that age is something to celebrate rather than fight.”

Her view of aging came from a positive experience with her grandparents. Her grandfather recently passed away, and her grandmother lives on her own and remains very active. “I see my grandparents from a different perspective now. Growing up, I didn’t give a second thought to how active they were. But I realize now that staying active was a choice they made. Here’s a good example. It turns out that a good friend of mine has a grandfather who was a resident here. He was very involved in the art studio, and that choice, his family shared with me, added years to his quality of life.”

Resident Jim Dolph shares a laugh with new CEO Kim O'Brien

Resident Jim Dolph shares a laugh with new CEO Kim O’Brien

Kim says that United has achieved a perfect blend of community and individuality. Residents can be as involved as they choose to be, meals are served when its convenient for residents, and programs, activities and outings ensure there is something interesting for everyone. As resident Jim Dolph said after emerging from an exercise class, “There is so much to do here, I can manage only a quarter of what I want to do!”

Kim is well aware of the questions residents and family might ask when a new CEO comes on board. But she is committed to watch, listen and learn, and to build upon what United has already achieved.

“My focus right now is on deepening my understanding of what works and – in some cases – what doesn’t work for staff and residents so that I can see the areas that we can build upon. This is a collaborative effort and I’m eager to hear from residents and staff so we can collectively build an even better community,” she said.

She describes her hiring as putting her in a unique position. She isn’t replacing former president Gail Hinchliffe, but rather continuing to work closely with her as both transition into their new positions. “Bringing in a new CEO usually means the former CEO has left, but in this case, Gail has simply shifted her role. She has been a valuable resource to have at my side. There is a strong foundation that has developed here that we can continue to build on as a team.”

Kim has noticed a strong sense of community when she visits with residents and families. “When people ask what living at United is all about, we invite them to come to see for themselves. There is nothing better than experiencing what happens here for yourself. There is a real sense of vibrancy.”

She points to the lack of imposed structure in how residents live. “Living here doesn’t mean giving up your ability to choose. You can participate in whatever you want. We don’t dictate your meal time, or when to go to the art room.”

She pauses to find the right words, and says, “United’s philosophy and approach to aging is challenging the stereotypes about what growing older means. There is definitely something special here.”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

Contact us here!

 


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The large variety of unique and interesting programs and activities makes United’s communities a good fit for the active older adult. One of those programs brings together students from Mount Royal University’s English program and the residents at United’s Garrison Green community in a writing program that shares the residents’ stories and experiences.

Monica Schmidt with resident Mary Fenwick in the writers-in-residence program

Monica Schmidt with resident Mary Fenwick in the writers-in-residence program

“In September 2015, Mount Royal introduced a pilot program with United that paired English students with United residents,” said Monica Schmidt, a graduate of the English program. “That really appealed to me.” So much so that Monica has stayed connected to residents through several other programs and has made the career decision to join United as a program development coordinator.

The pilot program was called Writers-in-Residence, and over the course of that first semester she and the other program volunteers worked with residents on telling their life stories. The program was so successful that it has carried on each year. This semester, Monica remains involved with this partnership as a mentor to the English students currently involved.

Monica and her mom Mary Lynn Schmidt

Monica and her mom Mary Lynn Schmidt

While volunteering with the writing program, Monica also worked with her mother, Mary Lynn Schmidt, who restarted the choral program at Garrison Green.

In the summer of 2016, Monica and another Mount Royal student, Erika Bloedorn, began offering a bi-weekly writing program to residents where residents share their writing and collaborate on writing projects. Today, Monica and Erika work with residents in the program, guiding discussions and inspiring connections between residents.

“The residents have such a large variety of experiences; some that even their family and friends haven’t heard,” said Monica. “We get them thinking about those experiences and provide the space and encouragement for them to put those thoughts to paper. What is especially interesting to me is that even as each person is undoubtedly unique, there are struggles and triumphs that we all share. From being the wallflower at a school dance to times spent marvelling over a winter sunrise, our human experience is more alike than it is different. In many ways, sharing stories – both verbally and in writing effectively dissolves the time and distance between generations.”

Monica says that working full time with the people she has come to know and respect over the last two years is an amazing opportunity. “Witnessing first-hand the many ways that residents engage creatively – whether through trying out new artistic techniques or honing lifelong skills, writing inspired works or singing in the choir – is life-affirming and inspiring. The residents here are proof positive that age is simply not a factor in creative endeavour. People of all ages can be curious and engaged and interested in exploring ideas and this, as I see it, is a fantastic jumping off point to foster deeper and more meaningful connections.”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

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When Ross and Ellenore Campbell started looking for an older adult community, they had two criteria – that they would make the decision when to move, and not leave it to someone else to choose for them, and second, that they could live completely independently within the community.

“When we looked around, we discovered that there are very few places that focus on an independent lifestyle,” said Ellenore. “Most focus on providing assisted living or have amenities most people our age don’t want. We went on United’s website and discovered that United’s Fish Creek community attracted us because we could live independently but still have access to assistance if and when we ever needed it.”

Ross and Ellenore Campbell in their spacious suite

Ross and Ellenore Campbell in their spacious suite

Ross and Ellenore moved into United’s Fish Creek West building a couple of months ago and found it to be everything they wanted. Their 1,350 sq. ft. two-bedroom suite overlooks the unique courtyard complete with putting green, bocce ball court and one-of-a-kind Canadian sculptures. Inside, they prepare most of their own meals in their full kitchen, and do their own cleaning and laundry. They continue to drive and appreciate the heated underground parking.

The Fish Creek community offers two lifestyle options.  Full health and wellness service including 24-hour care staff, housekeeping and all meals, or the ability to access services as requested.  All residents enjoy access to the large variety of programs and amenities.

Being independent, the question arises about why they chose to move to the community now.

“We wanted to choose where to go while we are healthy and independent,” said Ross. “If we waited too long, the decision would be taken out of our hands. We wanted to be sure we were in the right place for us, and if we should need assistance, it’s just over in the next building. We would stay in the community, which is an important social consideration.”

Ross Campbell with one of his woodcarvings.

Ross Campbell with one of his woodcarvings.

Ross is an avid woodcarver and painter, but until they moved to United,  he didn’t have the space to pursue his artwork. At United, the complete art studio gives him the space to once again pursue his passion.

Ellenore Campbell working on her knitting

Ellenore Campbell working on her knitting

Ellenore knits for family, friends and charities. “My motto is ‘If I’m sitting I’m knitting’.  But I look forward to expanding my horizons. I know I do not have any artistic talents but if Picasso could become famous painting two eyes on one side of an ugly face maybe I have potential after all!” she laughs.

Both Ellenore and Ross suggest older adults who are looking to move ask themselves two questions:

Would I be happy living here? and Would we be proud to have family and friends visit us here?

“When we took those two questions into consideration, it was amazing how many places we looked at didn’t work for us,” said Ellenore. “But when we took a tour here, it was clear that this was going to work very well.”

Ross and Ellenore often have friends and family visiting and they are pleased to show off their suite and the community’s amenities. Their family is very supportive of their decision.

 

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

Contact us here!

 


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A 60-year age gap between students and United Active Living residents is erased in an instant when the two generations get together to share stories, experiences and laughter.

United offers Mount Royal University and St. Mary’s University students the unique opportunity to live at United’s two communities to work, eat and live with the residents.

Breanna Massey, who is in her final year in Mount Royal’s English program first worked with residents at United’s Garrison Green last fall in a life writing program that encouraged residents to share their stories. During the program Breanna encountered other students who were living with the residents at Garrison Green and United’s second community, Fish Creek.

The live-in experience interested her so this past March Breanna moved into Garrison Green.

“This is a great place to be,” said Breanna. “It has been a pleasant and enlightening experience so far.”

Breanna Massey with resident Doug Rathwell

Breanna Massey with resident Doug Rathwell

Until Breanna worked on the writing project, she had no experience with older adults living in an older adult community. “I had no idea what to expect, but I have to say that I’ve made a large number of friends.” One of them is Doug Rathwell who enjoys woodworking. When Doug moved into Garrison Green, United worked with Doug to create a woodworking shop. His first project was a ranch home complete with moving windmill and well.

“Since March, the residents and I have been involved in a short story program. We meet every two weeks to read a new short story and discuss it.”

Two Mount Royal English graduates who became involved with residents several years ago during United’s Writers-in-Residence program, have stayed connected through an ongoing writing program, which speaks volumes about the bond that is formed between the students and the residents.

“After seven months here, I’m finding that I’m a lot more empathetic, especially after talking with people whose views are different from my own,” said Breanna. “I didn’t have a preconceived idea about what to expect in an older adult community, but I knew that United’s approach is more focused on the wellness of the residents, and that’s inspiring.”

Breanna at the Honens Festival with her new friends Alexis Beddoe (front) and Hugh and Kay Kuwahara.

Breanna at the Honens Festival with her new friends Alexis Beddoe (front) and Hugh and Kay Kuwahara.

Breanna says that living at Garrison Green has given her a glimpse of what she expects when she is older. “There have been some incredible experiences. Last week we attended the Honens Festival. Earlier this summer the Calgary Opera was here. And there have been other social events such as a wine and cheese. I’m experiencing things I never would have if I didn’t live here. And for residents, some are experiencing new things and others are re-experiencing things they previously enjoyed. It’s been very cool!”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

Imagine! Flex your creative side. Fine dining. New friends. Luxurious suites. Live the lifestyle you deserve at one of our United Active Living communities. Click the button on the right to arrange a tour at Garrison Green or Fish Creek

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