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Con Irving with one of his many paintings

Con Irving with one of his many paintings

Con Irving isn’t letting the COVID isolation slow him down. Not only is he looking after his wife Dorothy, who is living with dementia, but he also sits on the Fish Creek Residents Council and is a talented wood carver and painter in his spare time. Now, he is taking on the challenge of helping other residents find some relief from isolation.

“I’m on the Residents Council so I know most of the people who live here,” said Con. “One day a few weeks ago I thought that there must be residents who don’t have family nearby and who could use an encouraging phone call.”

Every day, Con calls five or six people to see how they are doing, whether they need anything, and to listen.

“I’ve been a salesman all my life and one of the most important attributes is being able to listen, so when I call them, I always listen to them. People like to talk, especially if they don’t have a lot of family or friends,” said Con.

Being able to connect with others is therapeutic, said Con. “People need people, and you can’t visit in the hallways or at dinner anymore, so getting on the phone is a real morale booster. Plus, I’m getting to know a lot of people I might not normally visit with.

“Generally everyone is happy and feel fortunate that they are here. A lot of them have family in Calgary and can wave at them through the windows when they visit. The families write messages in chalk on the sidewalks and have a few ways to communicate with each other, such as phone and Zoom. Others miss out on that connection because their family isn’t in Calgary, so I see this as another way to build community. I hope my calls help them through this and let them know they have friends who care about them.”

Sheila Brinsmead with daughter at Fish Creek

Sheila Brinsmead with daughter Mary-Leigh Doyle at Fish Creek

Sheila Brinsmead is one resident who is thrilled with the calls. “I have a large family in Calgary that I speak with regularly, but to have a call from a friend in here just to chat was a complete surprise and most welcome. The isolation that we are all living with is difficult so the calls really speak to his kindness and thoughtfulness for other residents. It is the most wonderful thing. I think it is just superb!”

Con praises the efforts of United’s management to keep everyone informed, and the creative facilitators who are working hard to keep residents engaged. “Management has really stepped up to the plate and put things in place even before Alberta Health Services said we should. I’m so happy that Dorothy and I are here. I can’t think of a better place to be.”

Con Irving gets an ice cream treat on his birthday

Con Irving gets an ice cream treat on his birthday

And a happy birthday to Con and fellow resident Joan Galley. To mark the occasion, Con’s family paid for an ice cream cart to deliver treats to every resident at Fish Creek.

Photos by United Active Living, Sherana Productions.

Take a look at our Public Service Announcement.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once it’s safe to do so. If 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 future visit. We are happy to help! 

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

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

Contact us here!

 

 


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Garrison Green residents Lex and Meta Davis

Garrison Green residents Lex and Meta Davis

Employees are working hard these past weeks to ensure they deliver the best service possible under difficult circumstances. And families and residents are noticing.  They have written to United to thank employees for their extra efforts to keep everyone safe and looked after. The cards and letters have boosted everyone’s spirits.

Jean Saunders, daughter of Lex and Meta Davis, wrote: “I can’t tell you how thankful I am that my parents are at Garrison Green where I can see that they are being extremely well looked after. Thank you to you and your staff for all that you are doing. You have been far more proactive than any other community that I know. And I know that doesn’t happen without a lot of work and not without having all hands on deck!”

We spoke with Jean after she sent the note. “We really appreciate everything they are doing,” she explained. “My Mom and Dad have a lot of friends and family around the country, so they are used to having lots of company, but of course they can’t do that now. Employees come and go throughout the day and Mom and Dad often comment how cheerful they are. They do miss going down for meals and socializing with the other residents, but they understand that it’s not possible right now. Like everyone else, they want to know when this is going to end, but nobody really knows that just yet.”

The list of accolades grows each day, and United plans to post the letters in employee break rooms. Another resident said: “I want to pass on a message from my daughter, who lives in Vancouver. She said she is thankful that UAL has a strong protocol in place to deal with COVID-19. I’m sure she’s not the only relative of the residents of our community residents who feel this way.”

Garrison Green resident and author Joan Clark

Garrison Green resident and author Joan Clark

Pam Clark, who is a daughter-in-law to resident Joan Clark, said the family is very grateful for the care Joan is receiving at Garrison Green. “When we talk with Joan, we joke that she’s getting room service, since residents are being asked to stay in their suites. Joan sees employees each day, and when we drop off flowers, magazines and treats, we really appreciate the staff taking the time from their busy schedules to take things up to her. Joan feels safe and content. She misses her exercise programs, but she has always felt a real sense of belonging and acceptance there, and it’s a relief to us knowing she is in good hands.” 

Thank you notes dot the walls along the main floor

Thank you notes dot the walls along the main floor

Here are a few more letters that have come in recently:

  • “Let me reiterate how grateful we are for everyone’s diligence and keen attention to all requirements to protect the population from COVID-19.  Right now all measures are critically important and we hope to see all your UAL family come through this in health.”
  • “I just want to take a moment of your time to thank you and the staff at UAL and Garrison Green for all you are doing to keep our loved ones as safe and healthy as possible.  I imagine the strain this puts on your team.  Please pass on my gratitude to the managers, coordinators and nurses, housekeeping, dining/kitchen and other frontline staff.”
  • “I just want to pass along the many, many expressions of gratitude that I have heard from Fish Creek West residents over the past two days. They are so grateful for the care that is being taken on their behalf, the obvious commitment by UAL to keeping them safe and they have sometimes very emotionally stated how fortunate they feel to be living in such a community.” – Jill LaForty, music director, United Active Living
  • “It’s all the frontline and integral staff at UAL that are making the COVID-19 virus bearable for me. Without your team of trusted caregivers and professionals I don’t think I could manage the physical distancing and emotional weight of concern for my mother.”
  • “Throughout this challenging virus our sensibilities and sensitivities to the demands on the personal and professional lives of the UAL staff has been heightened in every way … Our family is more than grateful for your professionalism and dedicated frontline commitment to the health and well-being of the entire community.

One of United’s employees responded by saying, “That is indeed empowering. There is NO doubt in my mind how entirely professional and compassionate this team is! Above and beyond!”

Photos by United Active Living, Jean Saunders, Sherana Productions. Videos by Sherana Productions.

Take a look at our new Public Service Announcement.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities Garrison Green or Fish Creek

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once it’s safe to do so. If 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 future visit. We are happy to help! 

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

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

Contact us here!

 


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Laurie Dolph in her backyard

Laurie Dolph

“I miss my dad a lot,” said Laurie Dolph, whose father Jim Dolph is a resident at United’s Garrison Green community. Laurie is used to spending time there four or five times a week, and volunteers running movie nights and hosting regular community sing-a-longs with Jim.

“My family is really close, and the priority for us is dad. He’s in good health, but there are some who aren’t so everyone is concerned about keeping this virus away from the community and the residents.”

Jim watches TV and enjoys painting, but admits that life isn’t the same. “Our way of life has changed quite a bit,” said Jim. “I miss being with my family, going out to restaurants and going for drives. We can walk around the neighbourhood, but the other recreational parts of life are restricted. I think we’re all fighting cabin fever, but we all understand why it’s necessary. Everyone is staying healthy.”

Jim Dolph with one of his many paintings

Jim Dolph with one of his many paintings

Laurie is very impressed with the procedures United has put in place. “United is giving residents and families lots of communication and a lot of heads-up about changes and why they are doing them. I’m very impressed with the food services staff who are very good at explaining things to residents. Garrison is really the best place for him right now. They are doing an excellent job at keeping everyone safe.”

Programs have been cancelled for the time being, and United will reassess as the situation changes. Residents who enjoy working in the art studio or who wish to exercise will be able to work on projects in their suites with the support of staff.

“We phone dad every day, and he phones us,” said Laurie. “I think that’s one of the best ways to stay in touch because we get to hear his voice. He doesn’t use Skype or Apple’s FaceTime, because he doesn’t use that technology, but that would also be a great way to stay in touch.”

Jim Dolph shows off his paintings with his daughter and grandson

Jim Dolph, his daughter and grandson, show off his paintings

Laurie says another way people can stay in touch is to drop off treats. Even though visitor restrictions are in place, doing errands and dropping off special items are other ways to make a difference.

“My dad loves his port, so I found a special bottle for him and dropped it with someone at the entrance where it was sanitized and given to him. He and others enjoy the special effort. And I can wave at him, even though I would like to give him a hug!”

“And my granddaughter dropped off a beautiful bag with my favourite beer and cheese. I’m being well looked after!” said Jim.

“I’m not worried about him, I know he’s in the best, safest place right now. I trust that he is getting the best care there,” said Laurie.

Laurie has special praise for the staff. “They are really going above and beyond, and it’s really something that they are giving my dad and others the care they need while not always being able to be near their own families. They have become an important part of our family.”

Laurie has some advice for people who are also having to remain distant from their families. “If you’re feeling down, do something nice for  someone else. Take them treats, or find something special to do for them. You’ll find it will also lift your own spirits.”

Jim agrees. “We can’t be selfish and think only about ourselves. Listen to the health professionals, and think about others. We need to care about each other. This situation can either bring out the best or the worst in us. You have a choice. Nothing can be gained by bringing out the worst, but being your best can benefit everyone.”

Photos by United Active Living, Laurie Dolph. Videos by Sherana Productions.

Ask us about our short-term respite stays.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities 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 visit. We are happy to help! 

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

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

Contact us here!


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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 Fish Creek.

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, and 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 development coordinator and creative expressions manager. “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 of United’s programs 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 memory care program.

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.

One of United’s newest programs is respite care. Should you be recovering from a stay in hospital and need a little extra support, this program may be for you.

Photos by United Active Living, Sherana Productions. Videos by Sherana Productions

Ask us about our short-term respite stays.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities 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 visit. We are happy to help! 

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

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

Contact us here!

 


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Open houses are a great way to see a community such as United Active Living first hand, have a tour and ask questions. Open houses at our Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities last weekend generated a lot of interest in floor plans and amenities, United’s unique programming, dementia care and, of course, the meals.

Where you live and ease of movement is paramount when it comes to choosing the right suite. Are you independent, or do you need a little extra assistance?

Tell Me About Your Floor Plans

Suite at Fish Creek

Suite at Fish Creek

“United offers some of the largest suites in the market, some up to 1,300 sq. ft.,” said Daphne Reid, active living advisor, Fish Creek. “The suites come in a variety of styles from one bedroom, to one bedroom plus den to two bedroom floor plans. Each suite in Fish Creek West comes with full kitchens and washers and dryers, plus residents have access to our full dining options and our programming.”

United’s Fish Creek North  offers suites more suited to support assisted living and memory care options. They come with kitchenettes, washers and dryers and full access to dining and programming.

 

Suite at Garrison Green

Suite at Garrison Green

Garrison Green floor plans offer a range of lifestyle options to support your desire to live an independent life even if you need a little extra assistance,” said Tim Hinton, active living advisor, Garrison Green. “Many of the people who came to the open house remarked on the size of the suites and the ease of movement from the suites to the dining and programming areas.”

A Big Attraction for me is your Programming

Choosing a spacious suite is one part of the equation. The other is living well, among friends. This removes the concern about isolation. United’s philosophy reflects a growing demand for more in our later years. United supports the whole person, so the communities and programming are developed around a social perspective rather than a medical one. Friends and family are very important in developing programs. In fact, programs are based on what the residents want, which creates a rich and varied list of programs that promotes the well-being and interests of our residents.

Mark DeJong with saxophone

Mark DeJong

“United’s unique programming attracted a lot of attention at our open house,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek program development coordinator and creative expressions manager. “Mark DeJong and Mark Limacher brought their jazz impressions to residents and visitors at Fish Creek. This kind of high calibre performance is typical of the programming we have at both communities. Many performances are in conjunction with our arts and culture partners in the community.”

United’s partnerships include the Calgary Philharmonic, Honens, Calgary Opera, Calgary Jazz Orchestra, Mount Royal University, St. Mary’s University and many others.

These partnerships not only bring residents to concerts and lectures outside of the community, but bring artists into the community for concerts and workshops. You can attend art classes guided by professional artists, hear lectures from visiting professors, choose from a variety of fitness programs or attend a concert by a world-renowned musician.

The activities and programs offer a wide variety of entertainment and educational options to residents, many arranged at the request and support of residents.

“Many of our residents have chosen United because of the variety of programs whether it’s music or our professional art studios,” said Kim. “As one resident said recently, ‘United is heaven for artists!‘, so whether prospective residents are looking for support for an existing talent, or are interested in pursuing an interest that’s been on the back burner while raising a family, living in a United community is the place to expand your creativity.”

Tell Me About Your Dining Options

When United Active Living opened Garrison Green more than a decade ago, it introduced an innovation in older adult dining – flexible meal times, an all-day menu and no assigned seating. “United’s approach to serving nutritious meals makes perfect sense,” said Ryan Bourquin, United’s food services manager. “Our residents are attracted to United because of the lifestyle, the community, the social aspect, the activities and programs. Healthy, nutritious meals go hand-in-hand with the lifestyle.”

One of the attractions of living at United is the flexible mealtimes and all-day menu. The kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and features a menu that is available throughout the day.

Residents can choose what to eat, when to eat, and with whom to eat. Plus, the all-day menu gives residents flexibility should they arrive back home after an outing and want a meal or snack.

United has also created a new dining experience leader position in its two Calgary communities to enhance the dining experience for residents and their guests throughout the day. The implementation of this new position raises the dining experience to a new level.

What About Your Approach to Dementia Care?

A CPO quartet performs for residents

A CPO quartet performs for residents

Some visitors at the open house wanted to know more about United’s groundbreaking approach to dementia care. Unlike other older adult communities that segregate residents based on their cognitive or physical abilities, United chooses not to. Residents with dementia live on the same floors as everyone else, they eat in the same spaces and attend the same programs. Importantly, couples stay together even if they have differing needs.

“In our United Minds program, we focus on who the person is and build a relationship with them,” said Amy McDonough, United Minds manager. “We focus on including people with dementia in our community. There is more to someone than their diagnosis. The person with dementia isn’t lost; they are still there. Our job as caregivers is to find out who they are. It’s a relationship-centred approach. We truly get to know them, what’s important to them.” That approach recently earned the support of two major advocates of inclusive community living.

Ask us about our short-term respite stays and other short-stay options.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities 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.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

Contact us here!


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“The first half of our life is about being interesting. The second half is about being interested.” – Chip Conley, author of Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder.

Residents enjoying a meal in the Garrison Green dining room

Residents enjoying a meal in the Garrison Green dining room

“A very beautiful place.”

“What a stunning courtyard!”

“This is what I’ve been waiting for!”

Those are just a sampling of comments from visitors to one of United’s open houses earlier this year. This Saturday, we’re opening our doors to the public once again to show you a new vision of what aging well can mean. United’s approach to active aging is based on what is called a social model. While medical care is available, the emphasis is on encouraging socialization and creativity to keep the mind and body strong.

While the common expectation is that older adults will “age in place” – often in the home a person has lived in for many years – but that home may no longer be the best option. Instead, the focus should be on “aging in community” where there is more support to ensure that a person ages well.

Diane Osberg in her spacious suite at Fish Creek

Diane Osberg in her spacious suite at Fish Creek

“The first impression a person gets when they walk in the door is that this is a warm, inviting place to be,” said Fish Creek resident Diane Osberg, who moved into the community after attending an open house last April. She was so impressed, she held an open house of her own for her friends. “What attracted me was the vast number of exceptional lifelong learning opportunities at United –  art programs, fitness classes, musical performances and visits to art and music programs outside the community.”  Diane said that what is also very appealing is the flexibility in dining. “You can eat any time you want, sit where you want, and your food allowance gives you flexibility to use it at your convenience.”

Diane was also very complimentary about the attentive service at meal times, and when her suite required simple maintenance. “They treat you like you are in your own home and are very quick to respond to little things when they need servicing.”

Mark DeJong

Mark DeJong

Diane sees open houses as a great way to see a community without needing to make an appointment. “There is no pressure. You’re there just to look around, and if you like what you see, you can make an appointment. It’s an easy, relaxed way to see what a community has to offer.”

Aaron Young

Aaron Young

Mark DeJong and Mark Limacher will perform jazz favourites at United’s Fish Creek community in the afternoon during the open house, and Denis Dufresne and Aaron Young will perform popular fiddle and guitar favourites in the afternoon at Garrison Green.

United’s open houses are at its Fish Creek and Garrison Green communities this Saturday, Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Win a week’s stay at either Garrison Green or Fish Creek by entering our draw at the open house.

 

 

Fish Creek is at 51 Providence Boulevard SE, near St. Mary’s University

Garrison Green is at 3028 Don Ethell Boulevard SW, near Mount Royal University

Please RSVP to: 403-873-3953
or by email at: rsvp@unitedactiveliving.com

 

 

 

 

Ask us about our short-term respite stays and other short stay options.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities 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.

Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

Contact us here!


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United Active Living is opening its communities for short-term respite care stays. These stays are intended to help you recover from surgery, to provide a supportive environment while your caregiver is away, or to simply give you a much-needed break from life’s hustle and bustle.

Guest suite at Fish Creek

Guest suite at Fish Creek

A respite stay includes:

– Three professionally prepared meals each day;

– A private furnished suite;

– Care provided by professional nursing staff including Registered Nurses and LPNs;

– Access to all of United’s amenities including art studios and musical performances.

 

 

“Spending a few days or a couple of weeks to recover from surgery is a great way to experience the community,” said Daphne Reid, active living advisor, Fish Creek. “People gain a better understanding about what living in an older adult community would be like, and when they go home many people tell us they really miss the community.”

Calgary Philharmonic quartet performs at Garrison Green

Calgary Philharmonic quartet performs at Garrison Green

One person, who came to stay in August for two weeks was excited about experiencing the programs the community offered, and when she went home, decided she wanted to move permanently. She will move in this month.

“I think the experience of a respite stay really helps someone get over any nervousness about living in a community,” said Tim Hinton, active living advisor, Garrison Green. “A respite stay also helps the family understand the support the parent will have in a community, which gives them peace of mind.”

“We will do a wellness assessment with the person when they come in,” said Nikki Bonsall, director of health and wellness. “From that, we develop a wellness plan for them. This helps us determine whether there are any food allergies, what medications they require and whether they might need help showering or getting dressed. At the same time, we introduce them to the community and answer any questions they may have about meals, programs and their time with us.”

Daphne has also seen family members of existing residents use the convenience of a respite stay. It allows the family member and the resident to spend more time together. “It’s not like staying in a hospital while they recover. It’s more like a hotel or a resort coupled with the care they need.”

Casual bistro at Fish Creek

Casual bistro at Fish Creek

In our communities, you will find a range of independent and assisted lifestyle choices, rental and life lease options, world-class arts and culture programs, fine and casual dining that fits your lifestyle and your schedule. Our kitchen is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with no restrictions on meal times or table assignments.

 

 

Call us today to make your arrangements.

Garrison Green 403-685-7200

Fish Creek 587-481-7907

or contact us through the “Start Now” button below.

 

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

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities 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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“When I came here, I was looking for a community. Then I realized I was helping to create one.” – Unknown

What does community mean? Depending on your perspective, community can mean simply a building, its activities or the people in it. Or it could be defined in a larger perspective to include friends and family in the greater community.

Ray Waldock's community extends well beyond his home

Ray Waldock’s sense of community extends well beyond his home

“It depends on the context that you bring to a community like this one,” said Ray Waldock, a resident of United’s Fish Creek community. “What we see here is a community that is working to redefine the psychology of aging. You can live here and plan to do nothing for the rest of your life, or you can see this as an opportunity to see yourself in a new context that has lots of possibilities.”

Ray knows about possibilities. Ray and his wife LaVerne, who passed away in 2017, spent a lifetime involved in their church. This gave them the opportunity to travel – 10 years in India, another five in Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) in Africa. Along the way Ray learned two languages (French and Swahili), earned degrees in philosophy and theology and eventually a PhD in theology from the University of Montreal.

Ray and LaVerne first moved into United’s Garrison Green community, but when Laverne’s dementia progressed, she and Ray became two of the first residents at United’s Fish Creek community in 2016. Eventually, LaVerne transferred to long-term care at the nearby Father Lacombe Care Centre while Ray remained at Fish Creek so he could visit her regularly.

Ray Waldock on the putting green at United's Fish Creek community

Ray Waldock on the putting green at United’s Fish Creek community

Garrison Green became our community because of the people in it. We have friends there, and I still see them regularly,” said Ray. “My community extends beyond Fish Creek to Garrison Green and to my friends from our church, so community to me extends well beyond these four walls.”

Ray says that moving into an older adult community doesn’t signal the end of life. He prefers to see his home as a new opportunity.

“Our travels helped us learn that home is wherever you are at the moment. We see that life in the present is based on our experiences in the past. My experiences living overseas, learning new languages and experiencing other cultures opened the door to new possibilities here. And this place accepts those changes,” said Ray.

Ray is particularly pleased with how the staff and residents interact. “It’s not a ‘them or us’ mentality that you might find at other places. Instead, there is a free and easy attitude. The staff and residents depend on each other, and that creates a supportive environment that encourages new opportunities.”

Ray recognizes that not everyone is comfortable with change, so when new residents arrive, or someone is simply checking out the community, Ray likes to meet them and make them feel welcome. “This is their new home, or likely could be, so I want to be sure they are comfortable.”

In many ways, Ray is extending his personal community each time he meets a prospective resident and sits down over a cup of coffee with them.

“I see life as possibility. I’m 90, but I still see a lot of open doors ahead of me.”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities 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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Diane tends garden on her deck overlooking Fish Creek Park

Diane tends garden on her deck overlooking Fish Creek Park

When Diane Osberg moved into United’s Fish Creek West a month ago, she wanted to wake up on the morning of her birthday and look out over the expanse of green grass and trees that opens up onto Fish Creek Park. She lived in another older adult community, but fell in love with her new suite on the fourth floor of Fish Creek West with north and east-facing windows. “On the advice of my children to enjoy the summer on her new deck, I decided there was no point in waiting.  What sold me? The programming sold me, the building sold me, the flexible meal schedule sold me,” said Diane. “And when I moved here, my friends wanted to see what I was so excited about.”

Diane invited her friends, many of whom already live in older adult communities, to her suite and let them know why she decided to move. “So instead of showing them the suite and the amenities one or two at a time, I decided to hold a large house warming, or open house. Forty of my closest friends came out, and United was very gracious to help out with catering and facilitating tours to show them around. It was an amazing afternoon!”

Diane invited 40 friends to her suite at United's Fish Creek West

Diane invited 40 friends to her suite at United’s Fish Creek West

“We helped out with the food, beverages and wine as a way to contribute to Diane’s house warming,” said Daphne Reid, an active living advisor at Fish Creek. “We also decided to give everyone who attended a small gift package on her behalf that included a gift certificate for dinner any time they want to come back.”

Diane already has a friend who is talking with Daphne about moving in, and others have expressed interest.

Diane and her husband Robert had lived on an acreage and lived into their “forever” retirement home in Black Diamond, and she served on the Black Diamond town council. When Rob passed away suddenly, Diane moved to an older adult community. But after a couple of years, she wanted more. “I’m a social person, and I wanted a variety of programs. When I toured here during an open house in the spring, I was blown away.”

As a former head of continuing education at SAIT, Diane is an advocate of lifelong learning. She recognized that what United had in place fit her idea of what active aging is all about. “I love this place. It’s full of programs and activities with a lot of opportunities to learn. There are partnerships with Mount Royal University and St. Mary’s University, Honens, the Calgary Philharmonic…and the art studio is unbelievable!”

Diane is a big fan of the arts. She has done some painting, and may indulge that passion again this fall, but she really likes quilting, and has produced a large number of works, some of which hang in her quilting room.

“It’s like being in a grand hotel,” said Diane. “I’m so impressed with everything. The meal schedule – the kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with an open menu. You can have anything you want, any time you want. I’ve only been here a month and I’ve already booked the private dining room in December for my book club.”

Photos by Sherana Productions and Diane Osberg. Video by Sherana Productions.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities 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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United Active Living has created a new dining experience leader position in its two Calgary communities to enhance the dining experience for residents and their guests throughout the day. United has always had a flexible dining philosophy – eat what you want, with whom you want and whenever you want. There is no assigned seating and the kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The implementation of this new position raises the dining experience to a new level.

Food and beverage manager Ryan Bourquin shares a laugh with a resident

Food an beverage manager Ryan Bourquin shares a laugh with a resident

“The dining experience is very important in an older adult community,” said Ryan Bourquin, food and beverage manager. “That’s why we have such flexibility, but we’ve always wanted to add a front manager position – similar to a maitre ‘d position in any fine restaurant – who is essentially the head waiter, and who manages the service staff. The new position complements the chef’s position in each community. In this way, we will be able to ensure an even better experience for residents and their guests.”

The two dining experience leaders have long experience with United. They know the residents by name and are familiar with many of their preferences. By removing them from serving duties, they have more time to talk with residents and work with the servers. As well, the leaders will be involved in redecorating and redesigning the dining areas in each community. They attend financial meetings and new resident transition meetings, plus weekly wellness committee meetings where any significant changes in residents’ eating habits are relayed to every department in case the change might signal a general health issue that might need to be explored with the resident or family.

Jeanette Padilla discusses a special menu request from resident Diane Ness

Jeanette Padilla discusses a special menu request from resident Diane Ness

“I will often check with residents during meal times to be sure they are happy with the food and to ensure they get the best service possible,” said Jeanette Padilla, dining experience leader, Fish Creek. “The servers get to know each resident, and their food and seating preferences. Staff training is part of my responsibilities. While servers might have experience in restaurants, they may not have experience serving older customers, or residents with dementia, so I ensure the servers are trained to serve all residents with respect and patience.”

 

 

Violeta Cacho sets a table for four

Violeta Cacho sets a table for four

Violeta Cacho is the dining experience leader at Garrison Green. “It has always been my goal to provide exceptional food and service to residents and their families. I see that everybody works as a team and that residents are served with respect, much like you would find in a high-end restaurant.”

Ryan says one of the main responsibilities of the dining experience leaders is to be accessible to residents. Should a question or issue arise, the leaders are there to answer questions or resolve issues immediately. “Our flexible dining schedule also creates complexity. For instance, residents may wish to have family or friends join them at dinner. The dining experience leader will let the kitchen know that family members are coming in, and will ensure that seating is arranged to accommodate them. The leader position greatly improves communication. So far, the new positions have been well received by residents.”

“My wife and I chose Fish Creek because of the flexible dining options,” said Con Irving, who also sits on the resident council’s food committee. “As a former senior server, Jeanette really knows the job and how to talk with people. She’s the right person for the job. She watches for people coming in, and can move the servers around to accommodate them. The goal is to provide the best service possible. The dining experience leaders listen to the residents and promote communication. That’s so important.”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

Contact us to learn more!

Imagine! Live the life you've always dreamed of at one of our United Active Living communities. Please contact us today to learn more about our two communities 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!