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When St. Mary’s University student Dani Dykema decided to spend a school year living and working with the residents of United’s Fish Creek community, she wasn’t sure what to expect. The experience is part of a program at United called Students-in-Residence. As the name suggests, students move into United’s two communities. The experience is so profound that many former students-in-residence have remained connected to United after their residence term has ended. Dani expects the same after May when her term ends. Despite the age difference the residents have accepted her with open arms and now she is reluctant to leave her new-found group of friends. This is her farewell note to residents:

Dani with friends June and Eric Selgensen

Dani with friends June and Eric Selgensen

When I tell people that I live in a retirement community, I often get a tilted head or confused expression in response. To most people, a student living amongst retired older adults would seem like an odd mix, but what I can’t impress enough is how amazing this experience has been for me.

Living as a student here at United’s Fish Creek community has not only been transformative but it’s also been very healing for me personally. During my six-month stay at United, I have nurtured many close relationships with my fellow residents on a daily basis, whether it be having breakfast together in the morning, watching movies at night, or facilitating my music program.

I have been able to foster these connections at a deeper level as I am very invested in my neighbour’s lives, as they are in mine. The residents affectionately refer to me as “the resident granddaughter” and that seems to sum up this whole experience. This is particularly meaningful for me because prior to living here I did not have this in my life.

There’s nothing quite like knowing you have over 80 people fully supporting you on your journey.

A few months ago, I had the unfortunate experience of breaking my leg in a skiing accident. How convenient was it that I happen to live in a community without stairs, handrails in the shower and wide enough doors for my wheelchair! When I came home from the surgery, I was initially quite worried that I would miss out on a lot going on in the community, but was soon proven wrong. I had residents visit me twice a day while I was recovering, bring me little goodies and provide lots of words of comfort.

Dani plays regularly for residents

Dani plays regularly for residents

These are the outcomes of being able to cultivate meaningful relationships with others. You end up with a group of people that truly care about each other, through the investment of energy and goodwill. This is ultimately what the Student-in-Residence program at United Active Living seeks to accomplish; bridging the gap between generations and enriching lives through mutual encouragement and support. The kindness and love shown to me by my neighbours has ultimately been a healing experience and I will cherish this for the rest of my life.

I love being a part of this community and having the opportunity to further develop the skills it takes to interact with others. This experience has allowed a merging of worlds that might not have otherwise happened.

Not only are the residents now an extension of my own family, but I will continue to stay connected with them as I move on. I want to extend a formal thank you to my fellow residents and the staff members for their support. Thank you for making me feel welcome and included. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and experience.

Love, Dani

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!

 


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Often when an older couple considers downsizing, it usually means selling the family home and moving to a condo. But if their health changes, they may need to move again into a community that offers more assistance.

Couples who have moved to United’s Fish Creek West are finding that they have everything they need in one location, often removing the need to move twice.

Sharyn and Landis Krause are typical of a couple who skipped the interim move to a condo. You can read their story here.

The best time to think about making your life easier is when you aren’t facing a crisis; when you can take the time to weigh your options. Fish Creek West gives you a unique way to live your life that you may not have considered yet.

Ross and Eleanore Campbell in their Fish Creek West suite

Ross and Eleanore Campbell in their Fish Creek West suite

Fish Creek West is the first of its kind in Calgary. It provides you with the choice of elegant one bedroom, one bedroom plus den and two bedroom suites, some as large as 1,300 sq. ft. with many features beyond your expectations. No maintenance, no worries, everything is taken care of.

Ross and Eleanore Campbell were attracted to Fish Creek West because of its emphasis on independent living within an older adult community. You can read their story here.

Residents have access to the adjacent 30,000 sq. ft. of high quality amenities. Fine dining, a casual bistro, theatre, art studio and a stunning outdoor courtyard dotted with sculptures, a water feature, orchard, bocce ball court and putting green are all available to you.

United Resident Mary Fenwick performing with the Calgary Youth Orchestra

United Resident Mary Fenwick performing with the Calgary Youth Orchestra

Add to that the programs and activities, lifelong learning programs, art workshops, outings to galleries and a lot more. United’s signature Arts and Culture program features robust partnerships with leading organizations in the city. These partnerships not only take residents to concerts and lectures outside of the Fish Creek community, but bring artists into the community theatre for special concerts and workshops. You can also 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 conductor.

Last summer, residents were treated to presentations by three world-class artists who developed artwork for the Fish Creek courtyard. You can view the video here.

One thing we often don’t think about when we are healthy and active is a possible future event in your later years that requires an unforeseen level of care.  As a resident of Fish Creek West you can access services when you need them. Housekeeping, full meal service, nursing care – all are available when needed.

You also need to be aware of costs, and if the need for extra care should mount, the last thing you want to worry about is outliving your financial resources. Our exclusive Life Lease program helps ensure that future, unexpected needs can be met.

United’s Life Lease is a good option for many people. In many cases, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the family home covers the entrance fee, which then reduces the monthly lifestyle fees for the chosen suite.

“It’s important to us that residents feel at home,” said director Gail Hinchliffe. “As such, our Life Lease program, our lifestyle programs and activities, our five-star dining options with complete dining flexibility really promote that feeling of home, where the residents are in control. Don’t feel like cooking tonight? Pop into the bistro or dining room for a chef-inspired meal, or arrange takeout from the deli and enjoy the meal in your suite.”

Live life your way at Fish Creek West. Tours are available. Simply click the “contact us” link below and we would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!

 


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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.” – Author Virginia Woolf.

Ryan Bourquin with Fish Creek resident Landis Krause

Ryan Bourquin with Fish Creek resident Landis Krause

United’s new food services manager is carrying on the tradition of serving fresh, unprocessed foods at United’s two communities, but with a few twists of his own. Ryan Bourquin joined United in October, and oversees a team of eight cooks and about 10 serving staff at Fish Creek, and eight cooks and 15 servers at Garrison Green.

“I began apprenticing as a chef in 2002, and worked at a number of Calgary’s well-known restaurants, and introduced healthy, chef-prepared take-home meals at several restaurants and stores since that is a growing lifestyle trend in the city right now,” said Ryan. “To me, food has to be fresh, which means no preservatives and prepared as close to mealtime as possible. We don’t have large freezers at United, and we ensure that food is delivered at least three times a week so that we are always serving the freshest food possible.”

Fish Creek chef Mike Banville serves up a special order

Fish Creek chef Mike Banville serves up a special order

Ryan was attracted to United’s philosophy of community and finds the atmosphere at both Fish Creek and Garrison Green comforting and inviting. “United’s approach to serving nutritious five-star meals makes perfect sense,” he said. “Our residents were 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.

Ryan regularly discusses food with residents and ensures their concerns or suggestions are considered when planning menus. “We operate on a four-week rotational menu, which means the same meal is never served twice over a 28-day period. This gives us a great deal of latitude to provide a wide variety of meal options. Residents’ preferences are noted and when a resident comes in to eat, we know  what the person prefers and what ingredients to avoid.”

Ryan is working on introducing a new menu in February. “About half of the menu will be new dishes. The other half are favourites that the residents told us they wanted to keep.” The all-day menu will expand to include lactose-free and gluten-free options and diabetic alerts. “I’ll also be looking at introducing smoothies, which is a quick, tasty way to introduce more ‘greens’ into the diet.’ He works closely with dietitian Marie-Anne Nason, to ensure that the menu reflects the Canada Food Guide and offers the best nutrition.

“To enhance the dining experience, all of our staff go through customer service training. It’s all part of the five-star dining experience,” said Ryan.

What’s on Ryan’s wish list? “Our relationship with suppliers will give us access to demonstrations here in the community so residents will be able to see how the food is grown and ask questions. I will also be introducing cooking classes, Sunday brunches and family dinners. Plus, we have space in the courtyard at Fish Creek for a garden, so that would be a nice addition to meals.”

Sous chef Albert Kuhn puts the finishing touches on a side salad

Sous chef Albert Kuhn puts the finishing touches on a side salad

In some cases, Ryan and his staff can see a positive change in residents who are eating better than they did on their own. “Often it can be difficult for an older adult to prepare nutritious meals if they are on their own. When they come here, we often see a healthy weight gain because they are eating complete meals and have access to healthy snacks.  That’s an important factor when considering a move to a United community.”

Ryan is new to the United community, but residents have been quick to count him as a member of the family. “The sense of community is strong here, and it’s nice to be part of that. Being able to deliver something that makes people happy – that’s what transforming the experience of aging is all about!”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!


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

The time between Christmas and New Years is a good time to think about what you want to do and where you want to be in 2018. It’s never too late to try something new. Ageist attitudes in our society often tell us the opposite. In fact, older adults often have the time to pursue new interests that they put on the back burner while raising a family. Do you want to start a health or exercise habit? Do you want to start a new hobby? How about learning to play an instrument?

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

  1. Eat healthy

“Dietitians don’t talk about calories very much any longer, unless there is a concern with weight. Instead, we want to ensure the calories you do get come from quality sources,” said Marie-Anne Nason, United’s nutritionist, in an article we published in April. You can read more from Marie-Anne here.

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

You can watch our video on nutrition here.

2. Keep your brain active

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

The value of lifelong learning

Engaging in creative pursuits

Thriving as we get older

And you can watch our video on brain health here.

3. Exercise regularly

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

4. Get involved

lauren-woods-calgary-opera-small-op

Calgary Opera regularly performs at Garrison Green

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

Here is a link to our activities brochures so you can see the variety of activities available. Here is an article on the importance of community, and a video we produced on the value of community.

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

5. Challenge yourself

quenten-with-viola-small-op

Quenten Doolittle performs on his viola

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

Mary Fenwick’s piano passion

The Doolittles: a passion for music and theatre

6. Planning for the future

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

All about United’s unique Life Lease

The future of aging

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

7. Make a new friend

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

8. Start a journal

One way to keep the mind active and the memories of a lifetime present is by starting a journal. United’s Writers-in-Residence program partners with students from Mount Royal University. You can watch a video about that here. As well, residents can learn more about writing at poetry and writing clubs and through a journaling program.

9. Discover a new hobby

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

Developing creativity

Pursuing creative interests

10. Decide what’s best for you

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

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!


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United residents and staff put their Christmas creativity into high gear to create this year’s Christmas card. Residents of United’s Fish Creek community created figures that represent themes of the season. The result was a collection of intriguing figures that grace the cover of this year’s Christmas card.

The card, entitled Holiday Huddle, reads in part “Christmas brings people together. This lighthearted scene was made as a community collaboration among residents at our Fish Creek community. It is a celebration of how working together builds us all up, especially in the cold winter months.”

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

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

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!


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92-year-old Mary Fenwick doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Last year, she performed during Mount Royal’s Sounds of the Season concert, playing a Christmas favourite on piano, supported by a full orchestra.

On Saturday, Mary will bring greetings from United Active Living – sponsors of the Sounds of the Season concert event.

“For the past six years that I’ve lived at United’s Garrison Green, my life has been full of joy and never-ending new experiences,” said Mary. “My first experience was in the Writers-in-Residence program [watch the video below], where students from Mount Royal’s English program interviewed us and captured highlights from our lives. That was a marvellous program. The students even made a children’s book from my life, which I treasure to this day.

 

Mary doesn’t equate life to a cup half full. To her, the cup is always completely full.
“United’s philosophy is to engage and excite and enlarge our lives, and that is what has happened in my life. Take last year’s Sounds of the Season concert. When Mount Royal first approached me I thought they wanted me to sing in the choir. But I soon realized they wanted me to play piano on stage. I thought I would just die, but when I walked out on the stage and whole orchestra gave me a thumb’s up, all the stage fright fell away and I had absolutely the best time.”

Mary, like so many other residents at United’s two communities, are shining examples of what life can be like in our later years.

“United’s partnerships with Mount Royal and other organizations in Calgary bring a lot of joy into our lives, and the opportunity to experience new things. I’m having so much fun right now!”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!


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Jim Dolph is an older adult who embraces life. If he isn’t attending a concert, he’s in the art studio painting, or taking in an exercise class. “I often don’t have time or energy for all of the things I would like to do!” he said.

Jim will figure prominently this Sunday afternoon when Mount Royal University Conservatory will open the holiday musical season with its annual Winter Fantasia concert. It will showcase the work of the MRU Conservatory choral ensembles with the Conservatory Strings and a performance of A Christmas Wish by author Lori Evert and illustrator Per Breiehagen, courtesy of the MRU Speech Arts performers.

United Active Living counts Mount Royal as one of its key partnerships, and each year sponsors Winter Fantasia and Sounds of the Season (Dec. 16). Jim, who lives at United’s Garrison Green community, next door to Mount Royal University, will speak on behalf of United at the performance’s opening.

Jim is an avid guitar player, singer and painter who never runs out of interesting things to do.

“The partnership between United and Mount Royal gives us opportunities galore!” said Jim. “We are able to attend professional concerts, and often, those same musicians and gifted students come to our community to perform. That’s a real benefit for the residents who are less mobile.”

Jim has lived at Garrison Green for four years. He first heard about United while leafing through the Kerby Directory. He discovered several friends had moved to Garrison Green, and after speaking with them, he and his wife Laura decided to make the move from their home in nearby Lakeview.

In his opening remarks, Jim will thank Mount Royal for its partnership, and all of the programs and activities that go with it.

“I want to thank you for your support in participating with United,” he writes. “You bring entertainment and information into our homes, ranging from music to political discussions.”

The partnership with United brings musicians from the Conservatory and professors such as political science professor Duane Bratt and pianist and professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, Charles Foreman, to both United communities, and provides opportunities for residents to attend concerts. A second resident will also speak at Mount Royal’s Sounds of the Season concert Dec. 16.

“Personally, I enjoy singing in the choir led by Mary Lynn Schmidt. We learn and laugh and are becoming expert choristers. A little bit of arthritis has kept me away from the guitar, but recently I’m getting back into playing, and I really enjoy painting!” he said. “We also have writing workshops, which I’m also enjoying doing.”

So far, Jim has produced 25 water colours, many of which dot the hallways at Garrison Green.

“I have lots to do,” said Jim. “Laura died in 2015 and I think she would be pleased to see me enjoying interesting activities,” he said. “Because many of us here have lost a spouse, we can offer comfort and support to those who are going through the same thing.”

To read more about Garrison Green residents and their connection to Mount Royal’s winter concert season, read about resident Mary Fenwick who spoke and performed at last year’s Sounds of the Season. Read the story here.

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!

 

 


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“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” – Albert Einstein

Listening to an exceptionally talented pianist or putting paint brush to canvas highlight the extensive list of programs and activities available to residents who live at United’s two communities. United’s new program guides for Garrison Green and Fish Creek point to a wide variety of exciting programs coming up over the next three months.

“We have long known that age is no barrier to creativity,” said Kim Coulter, program coordinator, United’s Fish Creek community. “United provides the right atmosphere and opportunity to express ourselves. Our philosophy is to encourage residents to do that through the arts: singing, music, drawing, painting, dance, pottery and sculpture, plus the opportunity to attend professional and amateur performances both outside the community and in our own theatres.”

United’s extensive list of programs and activities – both specialty programs and events, and regular programs – set United apart through the variety that is offered, and the program partnerships with Calgary’s art and cultural organizations.

“At United, being creative isn’t a hobby. It’s a way of life,” said Monica Schmidt, program coordinator, United’s Garrison Green community. “We have professional artists on staff who provide support for every level, from those who have never picked up a brush or a handful of clay, to residents who were attracted to United because they can continue their lifelong passion for art.”

garrison-green-art2United has fully stocked art studios at both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities, plus one-of-a-kind art galleries to display resident artworks as well as showings of professional work. Not only is it fun, but expression through the  arts can have health benefits we are just starting to understand.

As well, participation in the arts encourages connecting with others and making new friends – a cornerstone of our philosophy. Research shows that older adults who are the most socially engaged remain healthy and active. Community develops when everyone has a choice, when residents are active, learning new things and participating in community events that they find interesting and stimulating.

United’s comprehensive list of upcoming specialty and ongoing programs at both communities is available online so that residents and their families can see what’s available and make plans to participate.

Both lists are online at these links:

Garrison Green program link

Fish Creek program link

“When you see everything written down in one location, you realize just how extensive the programs and activities are,” said Kim. “It’s what makes living in a United community exciting and fun. There’s always something new and the programs are changing and evolving all the time based on resident input.”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!


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Con and Dorothy at their 63rd wedding anniversary

Con and Dorothy at their 63rd wedding anniversary

When Conrad and Dorothy Irving decided to look for an older adult community, they were faced with a lot of choices. “We looked at four places before choosing a suite at United’s Fish Creek,” said Conrad. “My daughter is in the business of helping seniors to downsize and she suggested we look at United. She liked the atmosphere here.” The Irving’s chose a suite in United’s Fish Creek North, which offers assisted living and memory care support, fine and casual dining, theatre, spa, an art studio and art gallery.

Painting of church by Conrad Irving

One of several paintings that Conrad has produced

They were attracted to United for several reasons, including the wide variety of unique programming. “My wife has memory issues and United has a lot of programs that help keep the mind active. As well, there are no separate units for those with dementia. I really like the way that everyone is integrated into the community. In fact, through the United Minds program, Dorothy keeps busy with United Minds coordinator Becky Robertson by participating in games, baking, walking, crafts and many more activities that are offered. Other nice features are the heated underground parking and the arts and culture programs they have.”

Conrad and Dorothy know that United’s philosophy includes keeping couples together as long as possible. “We’ve seen the stories in the news about couples who have been forced apart due to health issues. We know that at United we will be able to stay together and receive the health support we need for as long as is practical.”

Painting of a car loaded with flowers

Conrad Irving has become a talented painter while at United

Conrad, who worked in sales all his life, doesn’t stand still. “I’m a very active person and I don’t sit still when I see something that needs doing,” he says. He is very involved with the food committee and is working with other residents to create a residents’ council, which works closely with United staff to ensure programs and services are first rate. He is particularly supportive when new residents move in.

On the arts side, Conrad is an experienced wood carver, and has joined several other residents who have a similar interest. He recently discovered a knack for painting and pottery. He has completed three paintings, and is working on a fourth.

The arts and culture programs offered to residents is lengthy and varied. It means that for Conrad and Dorothy, their social calendar is full. “We go to the music performances that appeal to us, the theatre and other programs. There are a lot of choices!”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!

 


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Eighty-nine year old Betty Earle and her husband moved into United’s Garrison Green community seven years ago. They decided to make the move while they were healthy and independent. Betty is grateful for that decision because she is surrounded by friends and a community that has supported her during some difficult times. Along the way, Betty has become a gifted artist. We sat down with Betty to discuss the importance of community in her later years.

“My husband Ed and I decided to make the move from our family home to United’s Garrison Green community seven years ago, and it was one of our best decisions. It was important that we make the decision while we were healthy. A few years later, in 2012, my husband passed away. It was a very difficult time, but I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I was living by myself in our home. I’m very glad that I’m here. I would hate to be out there all alone with nobody to talk to. Here, I have so many friends and there were a lot of people who helped me get through that time.

“Then a couple of years ago I was out shopping and tripped on the sidewalk outside the store. I hit my head very hard. I went to the hospital, but the doctors said everything was fine. Very shortly after that I started having memory problems. I was forgetting the names of familiar people, and not remembering my phone number. Since then, the memory problems have been sneaking up on me quickly, and I’m getting quite worried about it. My son is very helpful, making sure that I make my appointments and getting me to write down the things I need to remember.

“It’s embarrassing and frustrating at times, especially when I can’t find the right word when I’m telling a story over dinner, but I have a great group of friends here who don’t mind filling in the blanks. We laugh about it and that makes a big difference.

“I can’t say enough about the staff and, of course, the people who live here. We are all very supportive of each other and it’s that kind of community that makes all the difference.

“Another very important difference at United is the intelligent programs. I say intelligent because the programs aren’t intended to just keep us busy. There are lectures from Mount Royal University, all kinds of music programs from the Calgary Philharmonic and the Calgary Opera and others. It’s gives us a lot of new things to experience.

“One of those for me, was opera. I was never a fan. I’m more into jazz, but when a friend suggested we go watch an opera from New York that was showing at Chinook Theatre, I gave it a try. Now I’m hooked. The performance was very interesting and now I go whenever I can.

“The art studio is another place that I really enjoy. A few years ago we did a paint pour, where various colours of paint were poured down a pole so they mixed at the bottom. The result was an amazing kaleidoscope painting. I saved a few of the dried pieces and use them in my artwork. The professional artists here give me suggestions and it really sparks my creativity. The staff and residents – we’re all part of this wonderful community.

“I think it all comes down to community – having a group of friends and knowing I’m not the only one who might be having memory concerns. This is life, and it’s going to happen to everyone to one degree or another. If I have any advice for someone – don’t forget to laugh. Find something that makes you happy so you don’t worry about things all the time. That’s what I like about living here. I’m surrounded by friends who make me laugh.”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

Contact us here!