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

Calgary Civic Symphony conductor Rolf Bertsch often performs at United

Calgary Civic Symphony conductor Rolf Bertsch often performs at United

Listening to an exceptionally talented pianist or putting a paintbrush to canvas touch only a small part of the extensive list of programs that United offers residents at its two communities. United’s new winter program guides for Garrison Green and Fish Creek highlight a wide variety of exciting programs coming up over the next three months. Thanks to United’s partnerships, residents will be heading out to see the St. Mary’s University Choir, Calgary Civic Symphony, Lunchbox Theatre, Mount Royal Conservatory’s Sounds of the Season, Calgary Pro Musica, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and many others.

“Researchers have long studied how getting older affects us, but only recently has the research focused on the positive aspects of aging, including a renewed interest in creativity and the social aspects that brings. We’re finding that age is no barrier to creativity,” said Kim Coulter, United’s creative expressions manager. “United provides the right atmosphere and opportunity for residents to express themselves. 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.”

Resident Mary Fenwick performs with the Calgary Youth Orchestra

Resident Mary Fenwick performs with the Calgary Youth Orchestra

United’s extensive list of programs and activities – both specialty programs and events, and regular programs – sets 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.”

Resident Con Irving's wood carvings on display at Fish Creek

Resident Con Irving’s wood carvings on display at Fish Creek

United has fully stocked art studios at both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities, plus 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 researchers are just starting to understand.

As well, participation in the arts encourages connecting with others and making new friends – a cornerstone of United’s philosophy. Research shows that older adults who are the most socially engaged remain healthy and active. Communities develop 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 guides of upcoming specialty and ongoing programs at both communities is available online. Each contains about 30 pages of programs so that residents and their families can see what’s available and make plans to participate.

Both guides 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  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.”

Photos by Sherana Productions, United Active Living, Mount Royal Conservatory. Video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.


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“Someone once asked me how many balls of yarn I have. They’re still waiting for an answer. I’m still counting!” – Anonymous

Madge McAdam

Madge McAdam

When 101 year old Madge McAdam retired from nursing in the early 80s, she decided that the tiny babies she was looking after needed hats to keep them warm. She began knitting touques for them. Almost 40 years later, she still makes four or five each week. When she moved into Garrison Green, she found others who enjoyed knitting and a knitting club was formed.

A quilter and those who enjoy other fibre arts joined, so the name was changed to the fibre arts club, and is now one of the busiest groups in the community.

Learning to knit, crochet, quilt or do needlepoint are fine arts that many people are no longer familiar with. But as an older adult, these art forms were commonplace and remain an important place in their lives.

“I’ve done a lot of handwork over the years, both on my own and in groups,” said Chris Serafini. “I really like the camaraderie that exists with a group, which is why I’m working with the residents.”

Chris, who is the daughter of long-time resident Gladys Duffner, is an avid volunteer who spends a lot of time with her mom but also finds time to help with the fibre arts club as well as to volunteer with several other worthy causes.

“I really like the idea of building connections among residents, and knitting, crocheting, quilting and other fibre arts create a strong bond, especially when you have the same interests,” said Chris.

Wendy Martin

Wendy Martin

Wendy Martin agrees. She’s working on the pieces that make up a quilt. She says there’s companionship in the club. “We enjoy each other’s company. And that carries over to other groups here.” She gestures to others at the table. “Three of us play cribbage together regularly.”

Trudy Martin

Trudy Martin

“Do you knit?” Trudy Martin, no relation to Wendy, says it’s one of the first questions she asks new residents. “It’s a great way to introduce yourself and something lots of others have in common. Many of us have lost our spouses, so a club like this is an excellent way to make new friends.”

For the past several years Chris has supported the fibre arts club by finding supplies, working with their annual fibre arts show and sale and delivering the finished products to hospitals and charities. “When you have that many people making things, you end up with quite an inventory at the end of the year. After all, there’s only so many scarves and mitts you can give to family members!” jokes Chris. “That’s when the decision was made to hold a sale for charity.”

The eight to twelve regular members of the club create a variety of products that were put up for sale last week, with proceeds going to several charities. Last year, the residents chose the Children’s Cottage Society, Women in Need Society, the Mustard Seed and Sonshine Community Services to receive donations.

“The sale usually attracts the residents and their families, and staff,” said Chris. “This year, they raised over $1,000 for charity, plus we’ll be bringing about 200 of Madge’s newborn touques to the Rockyview Hospital.”

Margaret Hails

Margaret Hails

Along with the friendships that develop, Margaret Hails, who is busy today knitting mittens, says being in the club brings people of diverse backgrounds together. “There’s an understanding that develops. I was raised during the war in England, and one of my best friends was raised during the war in Germany. We talk about this all the time, how people are all the same. We were on opposite sides in the war, but we went through the same things, so we both know how important peace is.”

The members of the fibre arts club meet regularly, and pursue their passion for creating on their own. So if you’re looking for that perfect gift –  potholders, dish clothes and towels, scarves or mittens – just talk to the members of the fibre arts club. They just might have a little something left over from the sale.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 

 


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It’s a phrase we hear often, but in United’s case, the idea evolved literally into the making of a lemonade stand that was the catalyst for encouraging residents to contribute important life lessons they have gathered over the years.

“A lot of planning goes into our programming for every month.” Garrison Green creative facilitator Maddison Klein describes this planning process: “We try to make sure that we have an interdisciplinary focus to the programs that we offer, which means that we incorporate the arts, music, food and educational aspects into every month. We choose a theme each month that we can base some of our programs around, and for the month of September our theme was lifelong learning. Somehow that evolved into the idea of a lemonade stand, but instead of paying for a glass, we decided to ask residents to swap a life lesson in exchange for the lemonade.”

United’s creative facilitators planned an afternoon workshop so that residents could join in on the making of the stand itself. Residents painted letters onto pre-cut pieces of canvas for the lemonade stand’s banner. Martin Boutet, pictured left with Maddison, was eager to help and ended up painting all of the wood needed to construct the stand in a bright lemon colour.

Every month United hosts a Welcome Tea at each community where new residents are introduced to everyone, and are given a very warm welcome into their new home.

“The Welcome Teas are a very popular icebreaker and are designed to help residents mingle, start conversations and get to know each other,” said Maddison. “The lemonade stand got everyone thinking about positive life lessons that they could share.”

For this particular Welcome Tea the programming team set up the lemonade stand and distributed some conversation starters to get folks comfortable.

What did they come up with? Here are a just a few.

“Change the Love of Power to the Power of Love”

“Remember that not everyone does everything the same way you do”

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get”

“In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”

“Believe only some of what you see, less of what you hear”

“Go with the flow”

“Be kind to one another”

“Make every day worthwhile”

“Don’t go into debt!”

Adds Maddison, “Our goal is to always find new ways that residents can express themselves creatively, so while the lemonade stand was successful, we  are already thinking of ways we can expand it by combining it with a different program next time. It’s important that we keep our offering fresh and exciting.”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.


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United’s creative philosophy and its extensive list of programs and outings is driven by the residents.  Surveys are conducted and meetings held regularly to get feedback and suggestions for the programs planned at both Fish Creek and Garrison Green.

“Our programming is not about what we as staff think is best,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek’s program coordinator. “We draw on the residents’ interests, skills and experience. The most successful programs are those that are inspired by residents.”

Kim points to a film they showed recently in Fish Creek’s theatre. “Resident Inger Copland suggested we show a film about the life of Mr. Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor. It was released in June in the U.S. but wasn’t available in Canada yet, so she asked if I could bring it in for residents. Her daughter is a film distributor so together we brought the documentary in, and Inger introduced the film. It took some organizing to arrange the special screening, but it was worth it as the residents really appreciated seeing the film.”

“I was really pleased that Kim was able to bring this film here,” said Inger. “We had about 40 people in the theatre, and it was really well received.”

You can see the trailer for the film here.

In October,  a comic who does a tribute to Red Skelton will perform. “That was another program that came directly from resident feedback,” said Kim. “By listening to their likes and dislikes, we are continually refining the programs we offer. Resident participation is an important component in everything we do.”

Conrad Irving proudly displays one of his paintings

Fish Creek resident Conrad Irving proudly displays one of his paintings

The annual Fall Fair is a prime example of directly involving residents. “We let residents know several months a head of time that the fair is coming in October,” said Monica Schmidt, Garrison Green’s program development coordinator. “In an effort to create a Fall Fair atmosphere – think baking championships, quilting shows, a sense of community, and the like – we have connected with some of our food and beverage vendors, our residents and our staff to put this event together. The art studio has curated a show of past works that residents now living at both of our communities created before moving in. This provides not only a visual and artistic aspect to the fair itself but also gives us greater insight into our residents lives and helps us to know them even better. Our Garrison Green Fibre Arts club will have a booth to display some of their current work and to advertise their upcoming charity sale. In short, we are excited with the way this Fall Fair is coming together as an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships among the residents, staff and the community.”

Plus, United’s arts and culture partners offer residents the best music, theatre and educational programs both outside the two communities and during more intimate performances within the communities. See our blog on fall programs for more program details.

“I’m really impressed with the partnerships,” said Garrison Green resident Alexis Beddoe after a recent concert by the Calgary Jazz Orchestra. “They keep surprising me with the professional level of the programs we have here.”

“The variety of programs is one of the reasons my wife and I chose to move to Fish Creek three months ago,” said Fish Creek resident Fred Heintzman. “I’m an active person, so staying active appeals to me.”

MRU Political Science professor Duane Bratt

MRU Political Science professor Duane Bratt

“We recognize that at times our programs can be weighted towards music and art, so we’ve asked the residents what else they would like to experience. They let us know they would like to have more lectures and discussions on history and political science. These talks have been well received as well,” said Kim.

Kim notes that an interesting result of consulting with residents is the shift in interests as new people move in. “Everyone is different and has different interests, likes and experiences, so when new residents move in they bring those interests with them, which we then incorporate into our programming. We don’t do the same programs over and over again.”

Garrison Green residents Hertha Reich (left) and Betty Earle share a laugh in the art studio

Garrison Green residents Hertha Reich (left) and Betty Earle share a laugh in the art studio

Monica also sees interests change among those who have lived in the communities for some time. “As we continue to offer new outings, events and groups we find that people who may not have been participating in anything, suddenly start coming out and getting more involved in the community. As they find people to connect with through that ‘gateway’ program or outing, they’ll often start branching out into other areas as well and bond with even more people. Sometimes these new endeavours might be something more intellectual like our newly minted Civil Conversations discussion group while others may be more playful and informal like spending an afternoon at a Cat Café. Regardless, residents often inspire each other to try new things and everyone – staff, residents, community partners, and family members –  is proud and excited when a program they have suggested and helped to build takes shape.”

“This kind of interaction is quite unique in an older adult community,” said Kim. “When you combine the interests of residents with the partnerships we have with the various organizations in Calgary, we really do offer one-of-a-kind programming that is as varied as the people who live here. It’s what makes living here exciting and fun. There’s always something new and the programs are changing and evolving all the time based on the residents’ feedback.”

Photos and video by Sherana Productions, United Active Living, Focus Features

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

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

Contact us here!


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United’s arts and cultural partners will once again display their talents to residents of both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities as the fall program guides highlight events from September through November.

The Calgary Jazz Orchestra performing

The Calgary Jazz Orchestra is one of United’s newest partners

“United has always taken pride in the wide variety of speciality programs and ongoing, regular programs that we offer residents of both communities,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek program coordinator. “We work closely with residents regularly to determine the type of programs and outings they would like us to make available. Plus, our arts and culture partners offer residents the best music, theatre and educational programs both outside our communities and during more intimate performances within our communities.”

Lifelong learning is one of our guiding themes at United,” said Monica Schmidt, program development coordinator, Garrison Green. “When residents move here, they may choose to continue to pursue a lifelong interest, explore new concepts or delve back into an interest that had taken a back seat. Regardless, there are a great many options available within our unique programming.”

2015 Honens Laureate Luca Buratto performed at United several times

2015 Honens Laureate Luca Buratto performed at United several times

Lifelong learning options include in-house programs such as music appreciation discussions, TED Talks, resident choirs, art workshops, educational lectures, fitness classes and a variety of outings. On top of this, our partnerships with professional organizations throughout the city bring performances into the two communities. One of the highlights in September will be selection of the new Honens Laureate. As part of that partnership, several finalists will perform for United residents in September, and the chosen Laureate will perform for residents several times over the next three years.

“Learning new things doesn’t stop at a certain age,” said Kim. “Learning continues throughout your life, and our in-house programs and outings promote an active, thriving lifestyle that you won’t find anywhere else.”

“The variety of programs is one of the reasons my wife and I chose to move to Fish Creek three months ago,” said Fred Heintzman. “We really like the independent living aspect and the size of the suites. I’m an active person, so staying active appeals to me.”

A significant part of United’s ongoing programs centres around the two community art studios. Supported by professional artists, residents are encouraged to explore new art forms and use their imaginations to create paintings, sculptures and other works of art that are regularly displayed in the two art galleries.

The fall program guides together offer more than 60 pages of events, programs and outings, with a special emphasis on the arts.

View or download the Garrison Green community fall program guide.

View or download the Fish Creek community fall program guide.

Photos by Honens, Calgary Jazz Orchestra. Video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.


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“Creativity is important at all times in our lives,” said Sage Wheeler, a creative facilitator at United Active Living. “I’d call it a function of being human. So accessing our deeper creative selves can be healing. It’s something I think we could all use more of, but for older adults it can be a vital addition to their experience during a time of significant life changes.

Resident Jim Dolph with an ocean painting

Resident Jim Dolph with an ocean painting

Sage recalls a workshop that the studio did on artist Maud Lewis, who became successful despite lifelong rheumatoid arthritis. “Using artists like Maud gives a framework for a more expansive way of looking at art. It’s not about rendering a tree so it is perfect, but taking our rich inner lives and expressing them through art. It reminds me of one of our artists, Jim Dolph, whose artwork is focused so much on happiness and humour. He went from trying to recreate images in realistic detail to experimenting with impressionist styles and changing subject matter.”

Sage is one of the professional artists who works with residents to introduce them to the world of art, and open creative channels that many aren’t aware of. The facilitators see first hand that age isn’t a barrier to creativity.

“Quite often people tell us they aren’t artistic, therefore they don’t feel comfortable coming down to the studio,” said creative facilitator Maddison Klein. “Most people who have spent their lives working in other fields have always wanted to explore their creative side, but have never had the time. 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. 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!”

Jeff Chan and resident Al Gething in the Fish Creek art studio

Jeff Chan and resident Al Gething in the Fish Creek art studio

United’s Fish Creek community opened in December, 2015, with the studio quickly becoming a focal point for the residents. “Since then we have seen the community grow in all aspects, and the art studio is no exception,” said Jeff Chan, creative facilitator. “It has become a staple of the community and a social hub for interaction.  We see all people of varying backgrounds come through, with limited to extensive backgrounds in the arts.  No matter their previous experience, each participant equally creates and contributes to the community.”

“In the art studio, perfection is outdated, messy lines are cool, and mistakes are master pieces,” said Lulu Souraya, a creative facilitator who sees the excitement in residents each time she introduces them to clay.  “We strive to communicate the importance of being free through art and to recognize that it is limitless. Clay, as well other mediums, allows that freedom. Whether it is hand built or thrown off the wheel, there is a sense of fulfilment and comfort that it creates.  It is fascinating how sharing ideas and new techniques can trigger residents who have never used clay before, to try it for the first time. I am enlightened by the positive energy and engagement in the clay workshops and hope to inspire others to explore the world of ceramics.” 

United’s creative philosophy is driven by the residents. United caters to the individual and creates programs that draw on the residents’ interests, skills and experience. The most successful programs are those that are inspired by residents.

The studios in both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities are open 24 hours, which allows the residents to work on projects whenever the muse strikes. Those who are new to painting or sculpture can often be seen on their own, or working alongside new-found friends.

Residents may be unsure of themselves when trying something new, but the facilitators and other residents provide a supportive atmosphere where experimentation is encouraged.

“It isn’t necessarily about what somebody pursues creatively, but that they are pursuing something,” said Sage. “We offer a wide range of options—painting, ceramics, poetry, writing, music, collage—because different people have different interests. It creates an atmosphere of non-judgmental exploration, which is so important to give everyone the permission to create.”

“The creation of art allows for one to delve deeper into their personal lives and spark conversations,” said Jeff. “Through art we are able  open up a channel for communication that may have not existed otherwise.  The studio is a safe place for anyone to explore these avenues and share their ideas. All the artwork produced is unique and we strive to showcase that.”

Photos by United Active Living, video by Sherana Productions

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.


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Lunchbox Theatre and United Active Living have signed a partnership that will bring special talks and a full production, complete with sets and costumes into United’s Fish Creek community.

“We have many successful partnerships that promotes 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. Teaming with Lunchbox Theatre was a natural step given that some of our residents already attend their productions. Now, with this partnership, we can bring professional theatre directly to those who find it more difficult to go out.”

Jamie Konchak as Peggy Ann Douglas in Miss Caledonia. Photo by Benjamin Laird

Jamie Konchak as Peggy Ann Douglas in Miss Caledonia.

Lunchbox To Go is a relatively new program for Lunchbox Theatre that focuses on bringing theatre into older adult communities and to community centres. “The program is an opportunity to promote theatre in the larger community,” said Valmai Goggin, development associate with Lunchbox Theatre. “We pick one of our shows that is performed in our theatre downtown and take it on tour. This year it was Miss Caledonia by Melody Johnson. The touring version is about 80% of the theatre version, including sets and costumes. We don’t take the lighting with us because each venue is so different.”

“I have never seen our Fish Creek theatre as full as when Miss Caledonia came to us in April,” recalls Jill. “Our residents were absolutely captivated and their enthusiastic response signalled we were on the right track in pursuing this partnership.”

“I’ve been going to Lunchbox since it started in 1975,” said Garrison Green resident Joyce Doolittle, who is a recent recipient of the Order of Canada for her work in Calgary theatre. “It’s a wonderful place for young playwrights and for actors at the beginning of their careers. Having the plays come here is a good thing as not everyone can get out, and you can always count on the quality of the productions.”

An in-house production isn’t the only way that aspects of the theatre will be brought to United residents. “We’re also delighted that as part of this partnership, members of Lunchbox’s artistic team will come into our communities at least three times this season,” added Jill. “They’ll give our residents back stories and added insight into current productions before some of them head out to see the shows.”

Jamie Konchak as Peggy Ann Douglas and Aleksandra Danicic as the Fiddler in Miss Caledonia. Photo by Benjamin Laird

Jamie Konchak as Peggy Ann Douglas and Aleksandra Danicic as the Fiddler in Miss Caledonia.

Lunchbox Theatre is located at the base of the Calgary Tower. It has been running noon-hour plays – usually one-act plays written by Calgary playwrights – for more than 40 years, and is considered to be one of the most successful and longest running noon-hour theatre companies in the world.

“We think that as many people as possible should have access to the performing arts,” said Valmai. “People can’t often come downtown, so the more we can diversify and bring theatre into the community, the more we will connect with older adults and the more our theatre productions will resonate with them.”

Next year’s visiting production for United residents – Gutenberg! The Musical! by Scott Brown and Anthony King –  will tour in the spring, from April 23 to May 5.

Photos by: Benjamin Laird

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

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

Contact us here!

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A collaborative piece, with each participant contributing a painted square

A collaborative piece, with each participant contributing a painted square

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

To learn more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.


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“Coming to a place like this where there are so many options, it’s just awesome!” – Resident Hertha Reich

Resident Hertha Reich in the Garrison Green art studio

Resident Hertha Reich in the Garrison Green art studio

United’s summer program guides are out for both Fish Creek and Garrison Green communities. Each contains over 30 pages of programs and ongoing activities that make living in the two communities fun and engaging.

Music, drawing, painting, pottery, discussion groups and fitness are just some of the ongoing programs. When you combine these with programs offerred by United’s community partners, the list is even more impressive.

“We have a wide range of partnerships with some of the best artistic, cultural and educational organizations in the city that give residents the opportunity to learn and experience a wealth of programs that broaden their horizons,” said Fish Creek program coordinator Kim Coulter. “The partnerships expose residents to plays and concerts outside our community. They also enable us to bring world-class performers on site, making the offerings accessible to all.”

Calgary Civic Symphony performing at Fish Creek

Calgary Civic Symphony performing at Fish Creek

“The programs and activities we offer residents are unique,” said Monica Schmidt, program development coordinator, Garrison Green. “At United, being creative is a way of life. We have professional artists on staff who provide support to everyone, from those who have never picked up a brush or a handful of clay, to those who were attracted to United specifically because they can continue their lifelong passion for art.”

To keep the mind active we foster a focus on the arts, creativity and stimulating social interaction. United’s extensive list of programs and activities ensures there is ample opportunity for ongoing learning and creative expression.

In collaboration with the residents, United has compiled a comprehensive guide of upcoming specialty and ongoing programs at both communities. Residents, along with their friends and families can use this resource to make plans to participate.

Both guides are available as printable PDFs at the following links:

Garrison Green program link

Fish Creek program link

Check with the monthly calendars and newsletters for any additions or updates.

“While the partnerships provide a number of one-of-a-kind opportunities, it’s often the residents who suggest programs or activities they would like us to put together. That’s why the list of programs is so unique. It’s as varied as the people who live here,” said Kim.

“Check back often,” advises Monica. “There’s always something new and the programs are always evolving based on resident feedback.”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

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

Contact us here!

 


You're Browsing Creative Expression

“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” – Author Henry David Thoreau

As the population ages, and is staying healthy longer into their later years, older adults are looking for lifestyles that support their interests. Health, community and creativity are the new expectations of those in their 70’s and beyond.

While lifestyle is about people, the environment and infrastructure around them must support their lifestyle choices.

“The last thing an older adult wants is to move into a community that reminds them of a hospital,” said Kim O’Brien, CEO. “Anyone can build four walls and a roof, but a great deal of care must be taken to ensure amenities function well and that residents feel at home.”

To support your lifestyle needs, United has used its more than 20 years of experience to look at the kinds of programs and activities residents want, then design communities around them.

United offers a range of suites to suit your lifestyle, from smaller studios, up to large two-bedroom suites, some up to 1,300 sq. ft.

A great deal of thought went into the design of the two United communities – Garrison Green and Fish Creek.

What are residents looking for? Creative activities and amenities are high on the list of importance. United’s activities are designed around the idea that an engaging and interesting lifestyle shouldn’t end when we hit 65. Research into aging shows that learning continues well into our later years. United’s Garrison Green community boasts one resident in her 80’s who earned an English degree, others are learning to play piano and guitar, while others are discovering hidden talents as artists.

Residents have the same freedom they enjoyed at home to do what they want, when they want and to come and go as they please. Communities are designed to ensure the safe movement of those who need the extra care, and United fully supports an integrative model where everyone is included in activities.

In each community there are green spaces, dining spaces for casual, formal or family get-togethers, where executive chef-designed menus offer variety and flexibility in meal times, a theatre, heated underground parking, an art studio and fitness area.

The Fish Creek community boasts a stunning, professionally designed open-air courtyard accessed from the dining room, art gallery and fitness areas. Walking paths, a water feature, orchard, putting green, bocce court, barbeque area, and sculpture gardens are all there for the enjoyment of residents, friends and families.

The building designs include spaces where guest lectures and other gatherings can be held. “We fully support the concept of lifelong learning. A person is never too old to learn something new. That’s why we have established close connections with St. Mary’s University, Mount Royal University, the Esker Foundation, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and many other groups that extend those learning opportunities for the residents,” said Kim Coulter, program development coordinator, Fish Creek. “These partnerships allow for professionals to come to our communities to host lectures and musical events. They provide the opportunity for intergenerational programming and bridge the gap for accessibility.”

Included in the  Fish Creek community is an expansive art gallery. This main floor gallery displays art by residents, staff and greater community artists. In addition, the courtyard is highlighted by sculptures created by well-known Canadian artists.

“Art and creative applications are an integral part of our programming,” said Jeff Chan, creative facilitator, Fish Creek. Residents have the capacity to create and express themselves through a variety of creative outlets no matter their age. Just recently we celebrated Hugh Kuwahara’s 104th birthday with a display of artwork created by him an his wife, Kay. Our art galleries have become a place to share resident artwork with the greater community, creating a sense of belonging and empowerment.”

“The whole focus on creativity and lifelong learning really highlights the fact that no matter a person’s age, the creative spark remains as strong as ever,” said Kim O’Brien. “And it’s such a pleasure to watch someone who is new to painting or working with clay, achieve something they never thought possible!”

Why wait? Call today to arrange a tour!

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

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

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

Contact us here!