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Garrison Green resident care manager Keziah Angeles with resident Jane Kelly

Garrison Green resident care manager Keziah Angeles with resident Jane Kelly

“It’s important to us that employees are engaged and feel empowered to give residents the best experience,” said Kelly Johansson, director of human resources at United. The interaction between leadership, staff and residents is paramount in contributing to a positive living and working relationship at United’s two communities. While United encourages honest communication to improve life at United, United surveyed staff recently in an anonymous, third-party survey to confirm the ongoing feedback they were receiving. “The response from employees was overwhelmingly positive, but also highlighted a couple of areas that can be improved, which will help guide us in making living and working at United even more rewarding.”

Seventy percent of United staff completed the engagement survey, providing United with a comprehensive assessment of employee perceptions regarding the workplace and culture.

United's two art studios help residents produce amazing artwork. Here, Betty Earle at Garrison Green shows off one of her paintings

United’s two art studios help residents produce amazing artwork. Here, Betty Earle at Garrison Green shows off one of her paintings

United’s philosophy centres around a people-focused culture. The two communities are built on a social model rather than on a medical model of operations. This means that programs, lifelong learning and an active lifestyle are in the forefront of operational decisions. While the medical side is important and necessary, it operates in the background to ensure residents are looked after without staff in white coats and stethoscopes being an obvious part of the landscape.

“What we found was very encouraging and confirmed that staff find United a great place to work,” said Kelly. “Some 95% of staff said that doing their work well was satisfying, they understand what is expected of them and they understand United’s goals and philosophy.  Being an inclusive community – one that includes residents with dementia in all of our programs – is a unique business model. Not many older adult communities have moved in that direction. We encourage staff to spend time getting to know residents. This includes housekeepers, food servers, reception, programming, etc. It takes more time, but these are areas that are very important to us and to residents in order to maintain the positive lifestyle that residents expect, and the positive work/life balance that we encourage for staff.”

“I like the people I work with, I’m making a difference in the lives of residents, I like what I do” were the three top reasons for the high level of job satisfaction found in the survey.

Licensed practical nurse Cristine Torlao checks in with resident Ron Fraser

Licensed practical nurse Cristine Torlao checks in with resident Ron Fraser

“When I came here in October, 2017, I walked through the front door and heard laughter,” said Cristine Torlao, a licensed practical nurse. “It’s a very welcoming environment and I’m excited to come to work each day. There is no feeling of boss and staff. We are treated as friends not just employees. Important for me is that my perception of aging has changed. The residents here are lively and friendly. It’s a good environment to work in.”

“The staff are great here,” said resident Ron Fraser, who with his wife Irene, celebrated their 65th anniversary last September. “After  Irene passed away in February, the staff would greet me with a hug.  We were blessed to have moved in here when we did. Everyone is so helpful and nice. The servers are excellent and very friendly. One could not ask for more!”

Resident Jim Dolph moved into Garrison Green in 2014. Shortly afterwards, his wife passed away. “I was amazed at how much the staff cared about what was happening in my life. They genuinely care and are always there when I need it. The staff in every department is so caring – nursing, the arts and music programs, food services, housekeeping. Because we live in a community, there is always someone around. That wouldn’t be the case if I lived on my own. There’s a comfort there.” Jim, who also sits on the resident council, said that United’s philosophy encourages resident involvement. “We give them suggestions for programs and food services. For instance, the chef, Ryan Chisholm, sends surveys around asking residents for suggestions about the meals they would like served.”

“I think understanding about United’s philosophy goes back to who we are hiring. United is very different than where they may have worked before. It’s not just about delivering medication on time,” said Kelly. “It’s about living and working in a community, getting to know everyone as you would a family member, and being there for support when it’s needed. It’s encouraging that the survey confirmed that employees not only understand United’s philosophy but are engaged in it in everything they do.”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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 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, who were married in 1998, chose a one-bedroom, two-bath suite on the fourth floor facing the mountains. 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. 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, April 13 from 11 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. so be sure to mark your calendar and let your friends and family know. Register at the open house for a chance to win an entertainment gift basket.

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? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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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Older adults who have been living in the family home for many years may want to reassess their lifestyle by asking some basic questions. Does my home fit the lifestyle I would like to have? Is my house just a big to-do list? Is there too much house to look after?

At some point in home ownership, we often consider downsizing to a condo or moving to an older adult community where almost everything is looked after. So you should ask yourself, “If not now, when?” The best time to think about making your life easier is when you can take the time to weigh your options and make the decision for yourself.

United Active Living’s Fish Creek West gives you a unique way to live your life without downsizing your lifestyle.

United communities are nothing like the old nursing home. Everything is geared to the interests and likes of the residents. What you do is up to you. Enjoy your meals when you want and with whom you want. No assigned seating. Control stays in your hands.

That variety of choices extends to the type of suite you choose.

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.

Plus, there’s a new world of opportunity in 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.

In 2017, United invited the artists who crafted the courtyard sculptures to talk about their art and the process of creativity.

 

Join an exercise, music or dance class. There’s yoga, meditation, a walking group and a gym. Afterwards, relax in the spa tub or sauna. Most importantly, you have unlimited access to lifelong learning programs, art workshops, outings to galleries and a lot more.

United’s signature Arts and Culture program features robust partnerships with leading arts organizations in the city. These partnerships not only bring residents to concerts and lectures outside of the Fish Creek community, but bring artists into the community for special 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 available to you are endless.

CEO Kim O'Brien shares a laugh with resident Jim Dolph

CEO Kim O’Brien shares a laugh with resident Jim Dolph

“Today’s older adults have higher expectations about where and how they will live in their later years,” said Kim O’Brien, president, United Active Living. “What we have come to expect in a traditional nursing home 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 is no longer the best option for them. Instead, the focus should be on ‘aging in community’ where there is more support to ensure that a person ages well.

“It’s important to us that residents feel at home,” said Kim. “As such, our lifestyle programs and activities, our 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.”

Sharyn and Landis Krause moved into Fish Creek West 18 months ago, and enjoy the art studio and the variety of programs. “But you know one of the things that really impresses us is that the dining room is open 12 hours a day,” said Sharyn. “We can go any time and order anything off the menu. Plus, there is the freedom to sit with whom we want. That flexibility is really important to us. Plus the staff are all so friendly and kind!”

Fish Creek West is hosting an open house Saturday, April 13 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Let your friends and family know. We are happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have. RSVP at 403-471-3735, or by email at rsvp@unitedactiveliving.com. Or, if you can’t make the open house, simply click the “get in touch” link below, and we would be pleased to arrange a private tour at your convenience.

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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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Jean and Dean Geddes have lived at United’s Fish Creek community for less than a year. They moved to Fish Creek West because the suite they chose was a perfect fit for their lifestyle.

“I’m a professional painter and find the north light is just perfect for my home studio,” said Jean. The dining room is large enough that they have set up an easel and paint supplies and still have plenty of room for a dining table.

Jean and Dean, who are both in their 80s, had been thinking about a move to an older adult community for several years. They shopped around and settled on Fish Creek West.

“We wanted to be proactive and make our own decisions about where we wanted to spend our senior years, and not be under time pressure to do so should something happen to either of us,” said Jean. “We’ve seen it with friends whose family had to take over in an emergency, and although they did their best, finding lodgings for the old folks, it could very well not be what they would have chosen for themselves. We didn’t want that and we didn’t want our children to take on that responsibility.”

Added Dean. “We didn’t want to continue living in a house we may not be able to look after as the years went by, so we started looking at downsizing three years ago. Our daughter-in-law suggested we look at United’s Fish Creek community. Its location put us closer to our family, and that was important to us.”

For the past 15 years, they had lived in a community just outside the city limits,  whose atmosphere was changing from the neighbourly interactions of a brand-new development to one of more social distance and with little community spirit. All this began to impact their social connections. “At United, we have the opportunity to be more social,” said Jean. “We’ve met some fabulous people from all walks of life, and have established a great network of friends here!”

As an artist, Jean gets her inspiration from nature, so she and Dean regularly spend time in the mountains, sometimes for just the day, but often for a week or more, so Jean can search out the scenes that catch her eye. “I set up my easel, paint, take photos, and Dean helps carry everything I need. In fact, his business card says ‘Sherpa’! she laughs.  “And,” she adds, ” because we are in wild animal country, Dean watches my back for bears.” Her work is currently displayed at a gallery in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and at the Collector’s Gallery of Art in Inglewood.

Jean is very impressed with the quality of the Fish Creek art studio, where professional artists work with residents of varying experience and talent. “They have very skilled and well-trained artists and teachers here,” said Jean. “Jeff Chan is so skilled at initiating projects for people who have never picked up a brush before. Every month there is something new!” The art studio is currently establishing a woodworking area, and also features a clay wheel and kiln where artist Lulu Suraya teaches residents about working with clay, and Chantel Traub and Maddison Klein bring their multi-disciplined creative skills.

Dean likes United’s philosophy and says it contributed to their decision to move here. “So often you hear about couples who are forced to separate when one develops a health issue. That doesn’t happen here. If one of us eventually needs extra assistance, we can move across the garden to Fish Creek’s North building, but the important things are that we will stay together and that we will stay in the same community with all of our friends.”

As well, Dean liked the fact that United is a Calgary company. Corporate decisions are made locally and quickly, and small requests are handled without delay. Both are pleased with the decision they made and don’t hesitate to have their friends and family over for visits or meals.

“Recently we invited some old friends over and we ate in the main dining room,” said Jean. “They really liked the ambience of the formal dining room, and were impressed with the food and service. There’s lots of variety and they have special menus for the various holidays. The kitchen staff is meticulous about cleanliness and the quality of the food, and the wait staff is friendly and well trained. A big plus for me is that at the end of the afternoon of painting in my studio, I no longer have to prepare a meal if I don’t want to.”

Check out Jean’s work at www.jeangeddesart.com

Fish Creek West is holding an open house Saturday, April 13 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 14720 – 1st. St. S.E., just south of St. Mary’s University. Let us know you’re coming by calling 403-471-3735, or emailing to: rsvp@unitedactiveliving.com

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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

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

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

Contact us here!

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

 


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Residents and staff at United’s Fish Creek community have created close working relationships that have evolved, in many cases, into meaningful friendships.

While employees are traditionally seen as separate from residents because of their role, many staff at United find themselves becoming an integral part of a family’s inner circle due to the relationships they create.

“I’m very impressed with the caring and respect shown by the staff here,” said Conrad Irving, who with his wife Dorothy, moved into Fish Creek North. “It’s hard to put into words, but the relationship with staff has grown deeper. In the couple of years we have lived here, we have found that staff have become more like family.”

Both Conrad and Dorothy are very involved in the arts and music programs that United offers. Dorothy, who is experiencing memory issues, is also part of United’s unique United Minds program.

“I was one of their first contacts when they moved into Fish Creek,” said Becky Robertson, United Minds aide. “We built up a trusting relationship and I feel a deep connection with them. They are very welcoming people and I feel that I’m part of their family.”

“I would adopt her if I could!” laughs Conrad. “She is more than simply a staff member. There is such energy and compassion in the time she spends with Dorothy.”

Becky is one of several staff members that Conrad and Dorothy consider as close friends. Jeanette Padilla is another. She became involved with United more than eight years ago, first as a volunteer in the art studio at Garrison Green, then she moved full time into food services.  “I treat everyone with TLC (tender loving care), like they are close family members,” said Jeanette, Lead Server at Fish Creek. “If Dorothy usually comes in for a meal, but misses a day, I always ask if everything is okay. It’s important to me that the residents are happy and comfortable.”

Jenny from the nursing department, who comes in each morning to help Dorothy get ready for the day, and Kim Coulter, who oversees the programming at United are also counted as close friends.

“Jenny has become part of our family,” said Conrad. “I hear Dorothy and Jenny laughing and that starts our day off on such a positive note. As Dorothy’s main caregiver, I always put her needs first and sometimes forget about mine. But with Jenny here, her presence and support is invaluable.”

“Every time I come in to work, I look forward to connecting with our residents. Dorothy is special to me. I treat Dorothy and all the residents as I would my own family,” said Jenny. “I always bring a smile and laughter. I want to make each day a good one for them!”

Conrad also considers Kim Coulter a good friend. “With Kim, I can speak with her about anything I might have on my mind. She is a terrific listener, and always has a way of giving me the right advice just when I need it.”

Kim said that building trust and truly caring about the residents is what leads to meaningful friendships. She recalls a time when a new resident was reluctant to go on an outing. She agreed to go but only if Kim went with her. The two held hands the whole way and the resident was glad she had made the trip. That small gesture opened the door for the resident to go on more outings and explore new things.

Kim, Conrad and Dorothy have built a similar friendship, and she is honoured that Conrad trusts her to share his concerns. “He is very supportive of the programming work that we do. The programs are based on what the residents want so their input is very important. The residents are so involved in everything. Building friendships and trust – it’s a two-way street and a big part of what strengthens our community as a whole.”

“The staff at Fish Creek have made our stay here enjoyable,” said Conrad. “They really care about us. They just want to be here for us, and that has become something special for our family. Coming to Fish Creek was a lifestyle change for us, but the staff has gone above and beyond to make our new home enjoyable and comfortable. I can’t say enough about how positive that’s been for us.”

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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, Sherana Productions. Video by Sherana Productions.

 


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When you’ve spent many years living in your home or community, it can be a difficult decision to move, especially when moving to Calgary from another province.

“It was a tremendous change for me to come here,” said Dagmar Albert, a long-time resident of White Rock, B.C. She moved in October to United’s Fish Creek community. “I had a townhouse in B.C. but I fell and had trouble getting around, so my daughter in Calgary started looking around and found that Fish Creek was a great place to live. My family was very supportive and helped make the transition a smooth one. There are a lot of little things that need to be handled but having family and friends to help makes the job much easier.”

 

Barbara Burns moved into the Fish Creek community last summer from her home in Kelowna, B.C. She lives next door to Dagmar in Fish Creek West, which offers a completely independent lifestyle. “The hardest part was leaving my friends. I got pneumonia and my family from Calgary drove out often to see me, but it was hard on them, so when they suggested I move to Calgary, I knew it would make things easier for everyone. The move was very easy, and I kept most of my furniture, so my new suite feels in many ways like my home in Kelowna. We love our kids and their children. Moving here gives them peace of mind, and I know they are nearby.”

While leaving friends behind is difficult, Dagmar and Barb have become close friends, and living in a community gives them a chance to make new friends and explore their interests.

“I was sitting in one of the chairs near the elevator when Dagmar was moving in,” explained Barb. “We got to talking and found out we had a lot in common. There was something there, so our friendship just grew from that.”

Both Barb and Dagmar were attracted to the openness of their new home. “As soon as I saw how open and spacious the common areas are, that was what made my decision,” said Dagmar. “There are so many glass doors, large windows and the large courtyard. There is so much light, I really get a sense of freedom here.” Barb agrees. “We looked around at other places before deciding to move. I really liked the courtyard, the spaciousness. There is lots of light. You don’t feel constricted. Plus my suite faces west, the same as my condo in Kelowna so I get the sun in the same way.”

Barb was also drawn to the variety of programs Fish Creek offers. “We like to go to the concerts they have here. I haven’t tried the art studio yet, but I might give acrylic painting a try.”

“For me, I’m more into writing,” said Dagmar. “I was a member of the Langley Writer’s Guild for many years. I’m drawn to fiction and history. Right now I’m tracking my ancestry, which I find fascinating.”

Both Dagmar and Barb can’t say enough about the staff. “This place has it all,” said Dagmar. “The staff are simply amazing. It’s so nice to see how they treat people who need a little extra help. So much kindness, dignity and respect.”

One question prospective residents ask themselves is, “Would I be happy inviting friends and family over?”

Both were enthusiastic in their response. “We’re really proud to have our families over for dinner. The dining room is open any time during the day. The meals are great and the staff is so welcoming. Even though moving was stressful, we couldn’t be happier with our decision.”

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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, Sherana Productions. Video by Sherana Productions.

 

 


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United's Fish Creek courtyard

United’s Fish Creek courtyard

The best time to research an older adult community either for yourself or a parent, is when you don’t need one. Time is on your side, and the pros and cons can be weighed without the stress of a time constraint. Searching when a crisis occurs can limit your choices without thorough consideration for the results.

Besides the usual questions about cost, size of the suites, floor plans and amenities, there are other questions that should be asked that can have a big impact on your quality of life.

I may be healthy now, but what happens when I experience a health change? How will the community respond to that?

United ensures that health issues are well managed, and provides residents with the peace of mind that such a crisis won’t force a move away from the community. There is nursing support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Will I be separated from my spouse if one of us develops health issues?

Hugh Kuwahara celebrates his 104th birthday with wife Kay and their two children

Hugh Kuwahara celebrates his 104th birthday with wife Kay and their two children

Husbands, wives or life partners want to stay together no matter the health issues they face. United communities focus on supporting the close ties that spouses have by ensuring they remain together. The two then participate in programs and activities, which support the general well-being of both.

Will I be able to continue living in my suite should my cognitive abilities change?

Research has shown that those with dementia do better when included within the general community population. At United we are an inclusive community and do not segregate based on level of care. All residents are encouraged to participate in programs and events.

I want to continue to enjoy life and learn new things. What types of programs are offered?

Calgary Civic Symphony is a regular performer at United communities

Calgary Civic Symphony is a regular performer at United communities

Living a full life in your later years is a focus at United communities. Programs are designed around the interests of the residents. The art studios, for instance, are open 24 hours and facilitated 7 days a week by professional artists. There is a kinesiologist on site who leads exercise classes and can also design individual programs. We have several partnerships which give the residents opportunities to be involved in different aspects of arts and culture in Calgary –  for example Calgary Civic Symphony, Lunch Box Theatre and the Calgary Philharmonic.

What is your initial reaction to being in the community? Do you feel comfortable and welcome? Could you see yourself living there?

Residents have told us that they felt immediately at home when they first entered one of our communities. That’s the way it should be. Making new friends, learning new things and enjoying life are some of the reasons new residents choose a United community. This is your new home and it should feel that way.

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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, Sherana Productions. Video by Sherana Productions.

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

Barbara Amrisko shares a laugh with student Stephanie Wright

Barbara Amrisko shares a laugh with student Stephanie Wright

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

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

 

 

 

Ray Waldock shares his perspective on history with Stephanie Wright

Ray Waldock shares his perspective on history with Stephanie Wright

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

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

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

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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

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

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

Contact us here!

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

 

 


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

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

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

  1. Eat healthy

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

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

2. Keep your brain active

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

The value of lifelong learning

Engaging in creative pursuits

Thriving as we get older

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

 

3. Exercise regularly

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

4. Get involved

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

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

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

5. Challenge yourself

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

A 104th Birthday to Remember

Letting Go: One Man’s Journey

 

6. Planning for the future

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

The future of aging

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

7. Make a new friend

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

 

 

8. Start a journal

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

9. Discover a new hobby

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

Developing creativity

Pursuing creative interests

10. Decide what’s best for you

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

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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

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

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

Contact us here!

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

 


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

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

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

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

Bob and Doreen Wolfe

Bob and Doreen Wolfe

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

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

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

Photos by United Active Living; video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Arrange a tour today! Lunch is on us!

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.