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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“What we have come to expect in a traditional retirement community has been replaced by communities that offer more.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.

Contact us here!

 


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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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Serving breakfast for a hundred or more is nothing new for the chefs at United’s two communities. And when it comes to Stampede season, the breakfasts bring out the cowboy and cowgirl in all of us.

Fish Creek residents Bud and Betty Lou Purkiss, their son Jim and their great granddaughter Brielle

Eggs, sausage or bacon, and pancakes are traditional fare. Add in a healthy dose of fun, family and flare, and United’s residents enjoyed a great start to their 10 days of Stampede  activities. Bud and Betty Lou Purkiss who have lived at United’s Fish Creek community for 15 months, enjoyed breakfast with son Jim and great-granddaughter Brielle.

 

Chef Ryan Bourquin tops up his famous endless pot of coffee

Chef Ryan Bourquin tops up his famous endless pot of coffee

Over at Garrison Green, United joined forces with neighbour Carewest Garrison Green in a breakfast that brought both communities together to enjoy pancakes, sausage and beans along with a wide assortment of pastries. Singer Jeff Pedora provided the country tunes while United’s Cheryl Crich showed staff and visiting firefighters how to line dance.

 

 

 

Garrison Green residents enjoy their Stampede breakfast

Garrison Green residents Beryl Turner, left, Jim Dolph, daughter Laurie Dolph, Veronica Kubik and Doris Bingham enjoy their Stampede breakfast

United Garrison Green resident Carlo Romano (left), who has become a gifted artist and sculptor while at United, was joined by daughter Lucia Cousin and granddaughter Michela Cousin for a morning of pancakes and entertainment.

 

Stampede  breakfasts and barbecues are popular with United’s residents. They are an example of how United’s programs bring residents and families together into an active community that promotes friendship, activity and socialization.

Next up, a Stampede barbecue lunch at Fish Creek!

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 Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 


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Ross and Ellenore in their Fish Creek suite

Ross and Ellenore in their Fish Creek suite

When Ross and Ellenore Campbell made the decision to move out of their family home, they wanted to be confident their next move would be the right choice for their lifestyle. United’s Fish Creek community stood out as a perfect fit for the couple who sought to continue living full and active lives. United Active Living values their residents’ right to live life on their own terms. United communities are designed to promote lifelong learning, creativity and connection while at the same time providing residents with a variety of healthcare and service options. Ross and Ellenore’s five children were all consulted in the decision, but it was daughter Jean Edmonson who first encouraged a dialogue about their transition to a new home.

Daughter Jean Edmonson

Daughter Jean Edmonson

“I encouraged a discussion with them about moving,” said Jean, who lives in Victoria. “I knew they were fine where they were but I wanted to know where they wanted to be should they ever have to move. They have always been very proactive about where and when to make a move. I was thinking about their future needs at the time because I didn’t want the decision to be made in a panic.”

Although thinking about leaving your family home can be difficult, it’s beneficial to consider your options while you have the time and energy. It’s important that your desires and preferences are reflected in the community you choose. Ross and Ellenore made their decision while they had plenty of time to consider what community best suited them.

Daughter Arleen Yee

Daughter Arleen Yee

“So Mom and Dad started looking around, but they didn’t find a community that worked for them. That is until they found United,” said daughter Arleen Yee of Calgary. “They were extremely encouraged and after determining that the Fish Creek community met their financial, social, mental and physical goals, they sent the family an email saying ‘We’re moving!'”

“They looked at a lot of communities, but when they found United, they wanted to move in right away,” said Jean. “They didn’t need to move but it was the right place to be, and should they need extra assistance, the community offers that without them having to move again. They are healthier and happier since their move to Fish Creek,” said Jean. “They are exploring new things, and are more active than they were in their previous home. Dad is in the art studio every day and many of the things they enjoyed, such as theatre, come to them or are easily accessible.”

Ross and Ellenore at a New Year's celebration

Ross and Ellenore at a New Year’s celebration.

“Today they are thoroughly enjoying themselves,” said Arleen. “Mom will call to say that she hasn’t heard from me in awhile, but it’s because I can’t keep up with them! I tease them that they are acting like a couple of 18 year olds!” Arleen chuckles. “They aren’t marking time, they are extremely active. It’s like it has been a total reboot for them. They are always doing something. Dad had to give up some of his artistic endeavours because the last place didn’t have room. Now, he practically lives in the studio. They are definitely looking forward, not back.”

 

“I like the whole package – the dining room, coffee bar, the suites,” said Jean. “I stayed in the guest suite at Fish Creek earlier this year and was very impressed. Staying in the suite gives them the space they need yet I was able to be in the community with them for the time I was there. It makes visiting very easy. It also gave me a different perspective. I wasn’t coming and going, I was there all the time. There is no doubt in my mind that this was a wonderful move for them.”

“Having all of the amenities that United has, and all of the support the staff provides, it really gives us peace of mind that they are being taken care of, but also that they are taking care of themselves,” added Arleen. “They have jumped right in and are thoroughly enjoying themselves!”

The decision to move can be overwhelming for older adults and their families. However, being proactive allows you to take advantage of all of the wonderful new opportunities, experiences and connections that a supportive community provides.

Photos by: United Active Living, 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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When people get together to discuss issues and create art, the result can often be inspiring. That was the basis for Project Inspire, a collaborative project involving older adults from United Active Living, the United Way, LINKAges and the Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association.

For the past year, the project combined discussions on matters that affect older adults – ageism, health and isolation – with the creation of artworks that reflected their thoughts.

For the participants, it opened discussion on a variety of sensitive subjects while bringing them together as new friends. “It’s a very worthwhile project,” said United Active Living resident Betty Earle. “It brings the different cultures together in a way that encourages friendship.”

The idea for the project was sparked by a donation by the Kanovsky Family Foundation to United Way of Calgary and Area. A six-week pilot project was developed that focused on ageism and how it affects older adults. The project was so successful, three more six-week projects were developed that expanded into discussions around health, spirituality and wellness, which were reflected in the art the participants produced.

“This project created opportunities for social inclusion,” said Alicia Lewis, LINKAges. “For our seniors in the East Village, social isolation is a concern, so seeing them so involved and interested in meeting others, and making friends with those in a different culture has been very important. It would be great to see this type of project expand to include other communities and other cultural aspects such as music and theatre.”

Social isolation can affect anyone, and Project Inspire provided an opportunity to connect with others. In fact, connections and friendship were two of biggest benefits for those taking part.

 

“What really impressed me about the project was that there was always something new to learn, both from our perspective as facilitators, and by the participants who learned from each other and by trying their hands a creating art, even though painting and drawing may have been new to them,” said Chantel Traub, creative facilitator, United Active Living.

A collaborative piece, with each participant contributing a painted square

A collaborative piece, with each participant contributing a painted square

For the participants, strangers became friends who opened up to each other with respect.”The most incredible thing came from being asked a question at the start of each session, and the people just relaxed with each other, the barriers came down,” said Frank MacLeod, who lives in the East Village. “There was no criticism of anyone’s point of view. Everyone was so respectful.” Chantel agreed. “There was no criticism or judgement despite the differences in culture, and the different educational backgrounds and life experiences. Just a simple respect for the different points of view.”

United’s creative facilitators who are also professional artists introduced a variety of creative elements to the participants. They encouraged them to express their thoughts through paint and paper. Creative expression is a cornerstone of the activities within United communities. Providing opportunities for participants to engage in a variety of stimulating creative workshops led by United’s practicing artists formed the framework of the project.

Wendell Yu and others from the Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizen’s Association were keen participants, who hosted one of the sessions and were quick to accept their new friends. “The project made me so happy!” he said.

Chinese interpreter Louise Lee, who participated in the project said that increased socialization was an important result from the sessions. “They encouraged each other, and gained confidence to express themselves through art, which some of them hadn’t done since school.”

“This project was all about making connections with others, and sharing their experiences with each other,” said Maddison Klein, creative facilitator, United Active Living. “It truly was inspiring to see the energy that everyone brought to the table and the relationships that developed.”

Artwork from the latest Project Inspire session was displayed at C-Space in Marda Loop. The results have been so inspiring that there are now discussions about how to expand the program, either to other communities or to other generations.

“The intergenerational aspect would be a really good thing,” said Frank. “The different ages think very differently. People think about things differently based on their life experiences, so having a program like that would be very interesting.”

“Even though we spoke different languages, we found that it wasn’t a barrier to being friends. Today, I was given hugs from the people I met in the program from the Chinese community. That was great. That’s what friendship is all about,” said Betty.

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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Living with dementia is life changing and everyone experiences the journey differently. Regardless of having a diagnosis, people with dementia deserve to have a good quality of life, whatever that may look like for them.

United Minds is a service offered at United communities for residents living with memory loss or some form of dementia. Our ultimate hope is by getting to know the resident, we can ensure that they are living life to its fullest within our environment.

The United Minds team empowers individuals to make decisions throughout their day, direct their care and services, live lives that are reflective of their personal preferences and goals, and have the opportunity to not be defined by their diagnosis.

Musicians from the Calgary Philharmonic perform

Musicians from the Calgary Philharmonic perform at United’s Garrison Green community

“We don’t rely on formal cognitive assessments to determine resident suitability for our community or their level of service. Instead we spend the time getting to know them and how they spend their day,” said Bridget Coulter, United Minds coordinator. “Our United Minds team connects with each resident and our programs promote a sense of personal achievement and belonging. This is often lost with a diagnosis when someone is no longer seen as a vibrant contributing individual.”

United Minds offers small, intimate programs which are led by dedicated program facilitators who tailor the experience to the resident’s abilities and interests. This ensures their active participation and encourages them to be present in the moment. United Minds has a variety of customizable services available to meet the needs of each person.

Upon move in, residents who require the United Minds service are invited into the United Minds Welcome Program to ease their transition into our communities. In the same way you prepare your garden soil in the spring, our three-month Welcome Program is intended to set up new residents to thrive in their new home. Our other available programs support residents in getting rooted into the community, branching out and connecting with others to flourish.

Here’s what a day in the life of two United Minds residents might look like. Jerry has a difficult time navigating familiar places. She often gets confused about where her kitchen is located. Through the United Minds service, she is able to attend the intimate music programs she enjoys and arrive at the bistro at her leisure free of stress.

Alice has always been a shy person and never one for joining clubs. Alice receives one-on-one programs from the United Minds team because of her preference for quiet interaction. She enjoys the personal touch of a private program brought to her suite where she can relax with a United Minds staff member as they explore Spain and armchair travel together.

Claudia Collins sits with her mom Elsie at Garrison Green

Claudia Collins says her mom Elsie has really come alive at Garrison Green

The benefits of the United Minds program are vast. Staff and families alike have shared stories of the positive changes they have seen in the residents because of their involvement with United Minds.

Claudia Collins is the daughter of 91-year-old Garrison Green resident Elsie Collins. She believes that her mom has blossomed with the support given by the United Minds team.

“We wanted her to live in a place where she wouldn’t have to be on a locked ward. She is now living in her own one bedroom suite with regular support from staff and happily participating in daily, stimulating activates that she loves.” Claudia said her mom is making jokes, following conversational threads, attending two exercise classes per day, singing with a residents’ choir, having meals with friends, going to a music therapy group, and attending musical and cultural events.

Elsie with her music therapist

Elsie with her music therapist, Elaine Cheung of JB Music Therapy

“We can’t believe the change in mom,” said Claudia. “Rather than living on her own at home, which can be socially isolating, she has really come alive. The staff have been amazing! Everyone has been so friendly, patient, welcoming and kind. Mom calls the staff her friends. They gently and consistently monitor Mom’s well-being and get her to activities and meals. Mom feels safe and cared for; she knows she matters. There is tremendous dignity and fun in the program.”

“Just because someone sees the world differently than we do doesn’t mean they can’t continue to be valuable, contributing members of the community,” said Bridget. “Everyone has a strength even when other skills may be declining. They still have a lot of life to live. We find out what connects them and anchors them and then we work on that. It doesn’t take much to find out what their passion is and then we focus on how we continue to support that passion and those strengths.”

The approach and benefits of the United Minds program are summed up in an online brochure available for viewing or downloading on the United
website. Take a look at the brochure and contact us if you would like to know more about our unique approach to dementia care. Check out this blog article on resources that can help you make the right choices for your family.

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!