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“I’m getting more out of this than they are, for sure!”

When 23-year-old Stephanie Wright saw an email from St. Mary’s University looking for students to live at United Active Living’s Fish Creek community for a semester, she jumped at the chance.

“I lived in Chestermere, so the daily drive to St. Mary’s was quite long,” said Stephanie. “United is right across the street from St. Mary’s, so the location is perfect. Plus, I’ve always wanted to volunteer at an older adult community. And I have a cat, which United accepts. Everything just fell into place!’

United Active Living’s student-in-residence program began in 2016 with a student from Mount Royal University living at United’s Garrison Green. It was so successful that it expanded to St. Mary’s University the following year. United’s residents play a key role in the process of choosing the student. Once applicants are shortlisted, they are interviewed by Bob Hann, St. Mary’s vice-president of student services; Dr. Alisa McArthur, associate professor, psychology; Kim Coulter, Fish Creek program development manager, and two resident volunteers.

Stephanie is in the second year of a four-year Bachelor of Science in Biology degree. When she graduates, she would like to go to medical school and eventually work in a medical clinic that specializes in the health of older adults.

“As a potential medical student, I find that it’s really awesome the way the nursing staff here work with the residents,” said Stephanie. “There are no white coats. Everything is relaxed. The residents are treated with dignity and respect. When I’m older, this is a place I would definitely like to live in.”

Barbara Amrisko shares a laugh with student Stephanie Wright

Barbara Amrisko shares a laugh with student Stephanie Wright

Resident Barbara Amrisko, who moved into Fish Creek last summer, has high praise for Stephanie. “I like having her here. She has a big smile all the time!”

Gerald Hankins, a retired surgeon, thinks Stephanie would make an excellent doctor. His advice to her? “Keep a positive attitude, no matter what.”

 

 

 

Ray Waldock shares his perspective on history with Stephanie Wright

Ray Waldock shares his perspective on history with Stephanie Wright

Ray Waldock is helping Stephanie appreciate philosophy and history. “He has shown me how important it is to understand what has gone on before, and the value of learning from history.

“My friends thought it was odd when I told them I planned to live here,” said Stephanie. “There is such a wide age difference, but we hang out, have lunch and talk. I really like the community environment and the focus on the active lifestyle. There is the stereotype about the lonely senior, but people can be lonely or isolated at any age, so it’s very important to become more involved. People like to sit and talk. It’s just a matter of making the effort to connect.”

Stephanie will live at Fish Creek for the next couple of months until the semester ends. She hosts a weekly game night, and likes to meet new residents and introduce them to others. “I like being around the residents. They have taught me to keep a positive attitude, to enjoy what I have. Being here has changed my life and my perspective on 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 Fish Creek community, watch this short video.

Contact us here!

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

 

 


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“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – James Sherman, author

Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? Most people at least think about change at this time of year. It could be health related, or revolve around money, time, family, or a host of other good intentions. Whatever you want, it’s never too late to try something new. Ageist attitudes in our society often tell us the opposite. In fact, older adults often have the time to pursue new interests that they put on the back burner while raising a family. Do you want to start a health or exercise habit? Do you want to start a new hobby? How about learning to play an instrument?

We’ve compiled a list of 10 New Year’s resolutions, in no particular order, to get you thinking about personal improvements you would like to make. And we’ve included links to articles on the United website to help further your research:

  1. Eat healthy

“Dietitians don’t talk about calories very much any longer, unless there is a concern with weight. Instead, we want to ensure the calories you do get come from quality sources,” said Marie-Anne Nason, United’s nutritionist. Chef Ryan Bourquin tells us more about United’s view of good nutrition in this article.

Of course, getting proper nutrition means preparing quality meals. Meals are based on feedback from residents. When they move in, food interests and issues are discussed with staff and noted in a database. When a resident comes in to eat, the kitchen staff knows what the person prefers and what ingredients to avoid.

2. Keep your brain active

We’ve written extensively on brain health and ensuring the mind stays active as an important component of active aging. Read more at these links:

The value of lifelong learning

Engaging in creative pursuits

Thriving as we get older

We also have a terrific video with professional artists that explains their creative process.

 

3. Exercise regularly

If you’re new to exercise, start slowly and build your way into a regular routine.  You can read more about the importance of regular exercise in this blog article.

4. Get involved

Isolation can seriously affect an older adult’s health. So get involved in community activities to make new friends and stay active. At United, there is a large variety of activities and ways to develop a community of friends.

Here is a link to our activities brochures so you can see the variety of activities available. Here is an article on the importance of community.

As well, United has signed partnership agreements with music and cultural organizations in the city. You can read more about that here.

5. Challenge yourself

Expect more from yourself. Age is no limit. Make the rest of your life the best of your life by doing something you have always wanted to do. Here are articles about a couple of very inspirational people at United.

A 104th Birthday to Remember

Letting Go: One Man’s Journey

 

6. Planning for the future

Moving into a new year often means looking ahead and perhaps preparing to transition from your family home to an older adult community. Finances come into play, as does the psychology of moving. We’ve written extensively about this phase of an older adult’s life. You can read more in the links below:

The future of aging

Top 5 questions to ask yourself when searching for an older adult community

7. Make a new friend

Having someone to share your thoughts with is important for anyone, but especially so for older adults who can often find themselves isolated when friends and family move out of the community. At United, you are surrounded by potential new friends. Read more about new friendships here. And for those with memory issues, United ensures they are included in every activity.

 

 

8. Start a journal

One way to keep the mind active and the memories of a lifetime present is by starting a journal. United’s writing programs partners with students from Mount Royal University and St. Mary’s University. You can watch a video about that here. As well, residents can learn more about writing at poetry and writing clubs. Often, music and writing combine nicely to spark the creative impulse. Take a look at this video.

9. Discover a new hobby

Have you ever wanted to learn piano, or create a pot from a handful of clay? United has full art studios, staffed by professional artists to help get you started. Here are links to help you learn more.

Developing creativity

Pursuing creative interests

10. Decide what’s best for you

Most importantly decide what is in your best interest. Read, research and talk with your friends. Tour a few older adult communities to understand whether a move makes sense at this stage in your life. You can arrange a tour at United’s communities by clicking on the contact link below. And don’t hesitate to call and ask questions. You deserve the very best in your later years. We talk about that in this article.

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.

Contact us here!

Photos by Pixabay, United Active Living and Sherana Productions. Video by Sherana Productions.

 


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United residents and staff put their Christmas creativity into high gear to create this year’s Christmas card. The card is based on a small village, created in clay that both staff and residents worked on.

The village scene reflects the idea of a community that brings people together. It is a celebration of winter, and how working and living together creates a close feeling of community.

Along with the clay houses, staff signed the inside of the card, which will be distributed to residents and staff as one of several ways the community marks the season.

Residents and staff at both Fish Creek and Garrison Green communities decorated the Christmas trees, decorated their doors and created a number of Christmas-themed paintings and other art projects. And what’s for dinner? “The residents decided they wanted to do a ham dinner on Christmas Eve and a turkey dinner on Christmas Day,” said chef Ryan Bourquin. “And each location will be doing a special menu on New Year’s Day. At Fish Creek we are also doing a taco bar.”

Bob and Doreen Wolfe

Bob and Doreen Wolfe

Garrison Green resident Bob Wolfe was born on Christmas day. “We always had a small birthday party on Christmas Eve. My parents were always very good at keeping the two celebrations separate,” recalls Bob. “Our family didn’t make a big fuss over birthdays. The big celebration was always Christmas and New Years when all the relatives who lived on farms in rural Ontario would get together. It was a great tradition to see the whole clan in one house over the holidays.”

Today, Bob and his wife Doreen enjoy Christmastime with their daughter, who lives in Calgary, and their grandchildren. Even though the family gatherings are smaller, the community at Garrison always celebrates the season. “It’s always nice to see the Christmas tree up and all the decorations. I really enjoy it!”

From our communities to you, we wish you the best of the season, Happy Holidays and a very merry Christmas!

Photos by United Active Living; video by Sherana Productions

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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An integral part of how United’s Garrison Green community operates is by encouraging and supporting resident involvement. Through the resident council, the residents are directly involved in how they live, the programs that are offered, the menu and meal choices and other day-to-day details as well.

The council gives residents a focal point to discuss a wide variety of topics such as new programs, how the community functions and to contribute to the overall improvement of the community.

Nigel Way, left, and Ron Fraser sit on the council and actively participate in community events

Nigel Way, left, and Ron Fraser sit on the council and actively participate in community events

“The resident council is an important way for residents to communicate with our team and for us to understand what is important to the residents,” said CEO Kim O’Brien. “While daily communication is usually informal, and is always taking place, some residents like the idea of speaking with other residents about any issues they may come across. In our regular monthly meetings with the council it gives us a better perspective on what residents are thinking and creates a two-way dialogue that continually improves life at Garrison Green.”

Council chair Mary Fenwick moved into Garrison Green eight years ago. She has seen the many benefits that having a council has brought to the community. “I think that communication is the most important function of the council. It runs both ways. If residents have a question or concern, we work on it or pass it along to staff and administration. As well, if administration wants residents to be aware of something important, such as the availability of the annual flu shots, we spread the word to make sure everyone knows.”

Council member Jim Dolph, left, with resident Carlo Romano in the Garrison Green art studio

Council member Jim Dolph, left, with resident Carlo Romano in the Garrison Green art studio

Resident Jim Dolph also sits on the council. “I really like what the council is doing to continuously improve life in the community. Everyone has the best interests of the community at heart. It’s also interesting to see how departments work, and the whole process of keeping a community running efficiently. For instance, residents may not understand how food is ordered or any of the other processes and we can help explain that. We have to give a lot of credit to our chefs, Ryan Bourquin and Ryan Chisholm. We have seen a marked improvement in the food and service over the last few years.”

By its very nature the council is focused on concerns raised by residents, but also handles requests for programs, outings and other lifestyle requests. The results improve the operation and well-being of the residents. “Recently, we’ve been looking at safety, and educating residents about the proper use of elevators,” said Jim.  “If there’s an emergency, everyone needs to know what happens to the elevators, and how residents who are less mobile get to the ground floor. These questions have been answered, so we help ensure that residents understand how the whole process works.”

Along with the resident council, which meets once a month, residents are welcome at a general town hall meeting where administrative departments provide updates and residents ask questions. As well, residents are encouraged to make suggestions for new programming or other areas of the community’s operation via a suggestion box that sits in the bistro.

Council members Ron Fraser and Jane Kelly, left, and Nigel Wright, far right with residents in the life writing workshop

Council members Ron Fraser and Jane Kelly, left, and Nigel Wright, far right, with residents in the life writing workshop

“Having the council and the regular town halls really focuses on what is important to residents,” said Kim. “This is our residents’ home and we want to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. It’s also a great way to improve the overall communication and collaboration between residents, staff and administration. It helps to reinforce that Garrison Green is a community where everyone has a voice.”

“Residents don’t live in a vacuum. There is constant communication between us and staff and management. Being on the council, I know they really care about the health and well-being of residents,” said Jim.

“Garrison Green is truly a community,” said Mary. “It has that easy, welcoming feel to it. I’m a big fan!”

Photos by United Active Living, video by Sherana Productions

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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Moving into United’s Fish Creek community doesn’t mean giving up the things you enjoy doing. In fact, many residents find that their lives expand – new friends, new opportunities to learn, more socializing.

If you or a family member are finding that living in the family home is no longer working as well as you would like, consider attending our open house at Fish Creek this Saturday. Learn more and RSVP here.

“What we have come to expect in a traditional retirement community has been replaced by communities that offer more. While the common expectation is that older adults will ‘age in place’, often the home a person has lived in for many years no longer meets their changing needs. What we are seeing are the benefits of ‘aging in community’ where there is more support to ensure that a person ages well, and has more opportunities to thrive.”

Living in a United community brings a host of benefits – health care options that fit your needs, fine dining or bistro meals on your schedule, larger-than-average suites, programs that stimulate your urge to continue learning.

Programming Inspired By Residents

A wide range of programming is a definite plus.  “Our programming is not about what we as staff think is best,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek’s program coordinator. “We draw on the residents’ interests, skills and experience. The most successful programs are those that are inspired by residents.” You can read more about United’s unique approach to programming here.

A big part of United’s programs is the professional art studios at both Fish Creek and Garrison Green. “The most rewarding moments for me occur when people realize they don’t have to be good at art right away in order to be a part of the studio and have fun,” said creative facilitator Maddison Klein. “As soon as our residents decide to ignore their hesitations and break that initial barrier of uncertainty, they realize that they can, in fact, make art!”

The Calgary Jazz Orchestra is one of our newest partners

The Calgary Jazz Orchestra is one of our newest partners

Another important distinction between United’s programs and those of other communities is the partnerships with community groups and organizations. “We have many successful partnerships that promote United’s philosophy to promote creative expression in all of its forms,” said United’s music director Jill LaForty. “We’re always looking to broaden our offerings to meet our residents’ interests.” The newest partnerships include Lunchbox Theatre and the Calgary Jazz Orchestra. Partners regularly bring performances into United communities, giving residents an up close and personal experience.

 

United Minds – A Unique Memory Care Program

Calgary Opera's emerging artists perform often for residents

Calgary Opera’s emerging artists perform often for residents

United’s approach to supporting residents with memory issues is on the leading edge of a movement that integrates them into the active community rather than segregating them in separate wings. “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 Crich, United’s director of quality enhancement and innovation. “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.” Read more about United’s innovative approach to wellness.

Residents Give Fish Creek A Thumbs-Up

Inger Copland with one of her paintings

Inger Copland with one of her paintings

Is Fish Creek a great place to live? Here’s what residents have to say.

“We fell in love with it right away! We didn’t need to look anywhere else. This is exactly what we wanted.” Read more of Inger and Bill’s story.

“When we looked around, we discovered that there are very few places that focus on an independent lifestyle. 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.” Read more of Ross and Ellenore’s story here.

Check Out The Suites At Our Open House

The suites available at Fish Creek are large and well appointed. Click on our Fish Creek page to see the details.

Are you intrigued about what United has to offer? Come to our open house this Saturday at United’s Fish Creek community. Times and address are in this link. Or, if you can’t make it to the open house, click on the links below to set up a personal tour.

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.

Contact us here!

Photos by United Active Living and Sherana Productions. Video by Sherana Productions.

 


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“There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger, and live just a little bit better.” – Anonymous

What began as a simple, friendly gesture has turned into a close friendship.

Joan Patterson, left, and Sheila Brinsmead share a laugh at lunch

Joan Patterson, left, and Sheila Brinsmead share a laugh at lunch

“I was sitting down for dinner in the dining room, when I noticed a new lady with a beautiful smile come in,” recalls Fish Creek resident Sheila Brinsmead. “I know how difficult it can be to come into a room full of strangers, so I got up and invited her to sit with us. We got to talking and that’s how it started.”

Joan Patterson, who had just moved into Fish Creek was recovering from a broken shoulder after a fall. The same thing had happened to Sheila, so they had a connection to get to know each other. The two have become “sisters from another mother”, as Joan likes to say, and they often eat their meals and attend concerts and outings together.

“I don’t think we would have connected like we did had we lived in a place that had assigned seating at mealtimes,” said Joan. Sheila agrees. “The freedom to choose where to sit and with whom to eat really opens the door to meeting new people and finding new friends.”

Sheila, who is an accomplished artist who has participated in art shows with her daughter, moved into Fish Creek in March of 2017, just a few months before Joan moved in.

“I was recovering from my broken shoulder, and it became clear that living in my home with several flights of stairs wasn’t going to work for me any longer,” said Sheila. “My family drew up a short list of places for me to consider and I knew that Fish Creek, with it’s professional art studio, was the place for me.”

One of Joan's quilts on display in the Fish Creek art gallery

One of Joan’s quilts on display in the Fish Creek art gallery

“For me, I made the decision to move on my own. I fell at home and broke my shoulder. My daughter lived next door and just happened to be there so she could help,” said Joan. “I realized that I should move into a community where I could get help right away should something like that happen again.”

The two of them are independent, make their own decisions and pursue their own interests. They take advantage of the many concerts and other programs that Fish Creek offers. “Just last week we attended three performances!” said Joan, who is an ardent quilter and music enthusiast. “We have met so many people here. Because of that, we don’t always sit together. We each keep so busy there are times we don’t even see each other, but we always find time to get together.”

“Fish Creek has so many programs. It’s a marvellous place for learning,” said Sheila. “As well, I really like the idea that everyone is included. You’re not separated by physical or memory issues that limits your association with other people. Here everyone is encouraged to mingle. I like that.”

Joan has a corner of her suite where she creates her quilts, and Sheila works in the art studio, often alongside her daughter, who comes to visit and paint with her. “We cheer each other on,” said Sheila. “Joan makes such beautiful quilts. That’s nothing that I could ever do!”

 

 

Standing in the art studio next to her most recent painting, Sheila, who has been an accomplished painter for more than 20 years, has nothing but admiration for the space and the creative facilitators, who are all professional artists. “This is one of the best studios – the space, lighting, instructors – it is so well equipped.”

“I really like Sheila’s work,” said Joan. “Once I finish my latest quilt, I’m going to try my hand at painting. I did try pottery and it was a lot of fun. It’s always interesting to try new things.”

What’s next for this active pair? Both Joan and Sheila are working with St. Mary’s University students in a life writing project, and Sheila is working towards an art show that she and her daughter are involved in next spring. Joan is putting the finishing touches on her latest quilt. And, oh, isn’t there another concert to attend this weekend?

Interested in learning more about life at Fish Creek? We’re having an open house in the community on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. so be sure to mark your calendar and let your friends and family know. Click this link to learn more. 

If you plan on coming out, please let us know at rsvp@unitedactiveliving.com or call us at 403-471-3735.

Photos by United Active Living and Sherana Productions. Video by Sherana Productions.

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.

Contact us here!

 

 

 


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“We fell in love with it right away!”

Inger Copland, who lives with husband Bill Fennell at United’s Fish Creek West, recalls the day they visited the Fish Creek community during an open house in 2016.

“Bill and I had been talking about making a move from our home, but we weren’t sure what that would look like,” said Inger.

They saw an ad for Fish Creek in the newspaper and toured the new community during an open house. “We didn’t need to look anywhere else,” she said. “This is exactly what we wanted.”

Inger and Bill put their home up for sale and it sold within a few days, which put them in a bind. “We thought it would take longer, which would allow us to move in October when the suites would be ready,” said Inger. “Management was very kind and allowed us to move in August, so we were the first ones to move into Fish Creek West.”

The community took a unique approach when it was planned. Fish Creek West is designed for independent living, while Fish Creek North is intended for those who need extra assistance.

 

Inger and Bill chose a one-bedroom, two-bath suite on the fourth floor facing the mountains. They were married in 1998. Bill, who retired some 15 years ago after careers in construction and financial management had a condo in Mckenzie’s Mountain Park Estates. Inger was born and raised in Norway, but moved to San Francisco in 1962. She worked for Norwegian Cruise Lines and met Bill on a cruise. She moved to Calgary after they were married.

“Inger likes to paint and really likes the art studio. She has produced some very impressive paintings since we moved here,” said Bill. “I have Parkinson’s so I exercise in the fitness studio, and we’re very close to Fish Creek Park, so I can walk there when the weather is nice. When we lived in our house, we were often by ourselves. Here, there are other residents, so you never have to be alone.”

Both Inger and Bill are impressed with the quality of the programs available to residents. “There is more opportunity to do more things,” said Bill.  He plays cribbage in the evenings while Inger pursues her painting in the art studio.  Bill also enjoys the political discussions with visiting academics. “We wouldn’t have those if we still lived at home,” said Bill.

Inger with St. Mary's student Sean Burman

Inger with St. Mary’s student Sean Burman

Both Inger and Bill are working with students from nearby St. Mary’s University who are involved in a writing program similar to United’s writers-in-residence program, which has been operating for several years with students from Mount Royal University. The students conduct interviews, and are considering producing a book and a video about the residents’ lives.

 

 

Interested in learning more about life at Fish Creek? We’re having an open house in the community on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. so be sure to mark your calendar and let your friends and family know.

If you plan on coming out, please let us know at rsvp@unitedactiveliving.com or call us at 403-471-3735.

Photos by United Active Living, Video by Sherana Productions.

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.

Contact us here!

 

 

 


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“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!” – Benjamin Franklin

Resident throws a dart at a paint-filled balloon

Throwing a dart at a paint-filled balloon can be messy!

Staying active is a cornerstone of United’s philosophy. So is community, and when you put the two together, the result is a lot of fun and laughter! The United Games is a great way to keep the brain and body moving, and includes a trivia game, balloon painting, balloon volleyball, a ball toss and an egg race.

“The games can be seen as two levels of competition,” said Felicia Agyekum, United’s therapist/kinesiologist, and one of the event coordinators. “The most obvious is the competition between residents, but as in any sport or competition, the real value is in competing with ourselves. For residents, the games celebrate life, talent, their abilities and their spirit. Just because you are getting older, it doesn’t mean you have to place limitations on yourself.”

For the residents, it was all about the fun and friendships. “The best thing for me was the community aspect of the games,” said Fish Creek resident Willi Mackey. “The games were a lot of fun, and it was a very good way to get to know the other residents here.”

Jean and Gordon Schnell echoed that. “We loved it! We got to meet some of the other residents from here and from the other community [Garrison Green].”

“It was a lot of fun. Everyone was having a great time,” said Fish Creek resident Jim Ion.

And resident Inger Copland congratulated the staff for putting so much effort into developing the games. “My husband Bill and I both thought it was great fun. There was a nice mix of mental and physical games. I really liked the balloon volleyball!’

While this year’s games were held indoors, this video shows the first United Games played in the expansive courtyard.

“The United Games connect our residents with a sense of community as well as bridging the relationships between our two locations,” said Jenn Kitchen, kinesiologist. “These types of activities are a fun way of exercising our bodies and our minds. I believe our residents enjoy participating because it offers an opportunity to work together towards a common goal, while strengthening relationships not only between residents themselves but with staff as well.

“At the end of the day, we aren’t really looking for the winner but it was more important that the residents had a great day filled with laughter and fun memories,” said Jenn.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

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.

Contact us here!


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Fish Creek's resident council: From left, Joan Patterson, Ellenore Campbell, Con Irving, Linda Bolton, Mahesh Shah

Fish Creek’s resident council: From left, Joan Patterson, Ellenore Campbell, Con Irving, Linda Bolton, Mahesh Shah

When residents live in a community it’s important that they have a voice in how they live, the programs that are offered, the meals and the other details that make up their new home. United’s two communities were created with a commitment to supporting Resident Councils. The council at United’s Fish Creek community gives residents an opportunity to share in how the community operates, and provides a focal point to discuss new programs, how the community functions and contribute to the overall improvement of the community.

“We are committed to working collaboratively with the resident council,” said CEO Kim O’Brien. “It’s an important way for residents to communicate with staff and administration. I sit in on the monthly meetings, and it gives me a better perspective on what residents are thinking and creates a two-way dialogue that continually improves life at Fish Creek.”

Linda Bolton, chair of the Fish Creek resident council

Linda Bolton, chair of the Fish Creek resident council

Council chair Linda Bolton, who moved to the Fish Creek community a year ago, said she joined the council because she wanted to be involved in all aspects of her new home.

“The council is in regular contact with Kim and others in the administration so if there are concerns or questions, the residents know they are being addressed,” said Linda. The council looks at issues big and small from building maintenance and food services to programs and care services.

 

 

Con and Dorothy Irving at Fish Creek

Con and Dorothy Irving at Fish Creek

Council member Con Irving, who moved to Fish Creek 20 months ago, says that by its very nature the council is focused on concerns raised by residents, but the results improve the operation and well-being of the residents. “Being on the council gives us a much better understanding and appreciation of how departments work and the day-to-day issues that departments face in running a community like this. While a complaint may be valid, there also may be circumstances we aren’t aware of that give us a fuller picture. For instance, the delivery of a certain food item may have been cancelled by the supplier, or delayed. That necessitates a last minute change in the menu, which can be complicated by dietary needs of the residents. While it might be annoying, we know the staff is working to rectify the situation.”

Con says one of the benefits of having a council is that he and the others on the council can act as a voice for the residents of the community. “We have quite a few people living with dementia so it’s important that their voices be heard, so we speak to administration on their behalf plus on behalf of others who may ask us to raise an issue for them. I have to say that the staff is very good at getting things done. We won’t just complain about something. We spend a lot of time thinking through the details, building a business case if its needed so we can show the benefit of making a change.”

Linda noted that one of the changes that was quickly addressed was a routine one, but still annoying. “A  family of Northern Flickers found one of the buildings at Fish Creek to be an ideal home. They are woodpeckers so it was quite annoying, especially if your suite is next to them. Management worked with a contractor to apply a woodpecker-proof material to the top edge of the building, which will hopefully solve that issue.”

Along with the Resident Council, which meets once a month, residents are welcome at a general town hall meeting where administrative departments provide updates and residents ask questions. As well residents are encouraged to make suggestions for new programming or other areas of the community’s operation.

“When a resident passes away, some of our residents asked to use the community bus to transport them to the funeral, which is being done,” said Linda. “As well, we’ve started holding Celebrations of Life at the community, which is very nice for those who can’t always get out. Another suggestion was to have a doctor come into the community regularly rather than the residents having to make the trip out, so a number have signed up for that service.”

“Having the council and the regular town halls really focuses on what is important to residents,” said Kim. “This is their home and we want to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. It’s also a great way to improve the overall communication between residents, staff and administration. It helps to reinforce that Fish Creek is a community where every person has a voice.”

“I’m a big supporter of what United is doing. It’s a great place with wonderful staff who really work hard to look after us,” said Con. “Being on council is a terrific experience and I would absolutely encourage residents to serve on it. It’s a great way to see exactly how things operate, meet everyone who lives here, and make the community an even better place to live.”

Photos by United Active Living, video by Sherana Productions

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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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.