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The United Active Living Foundation  is working closely with United Way and two of its agency partners to launch a six-week art and discussion pilot program that will focus on ageism and isolation and their effect on older adults.

The program is called Project Inspire, and involves older adults from LINKAges and the Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizen’s Association.

Social isolation is a serious threat to a person’s well-being. It occurs when older adults have few social contacts and lack mutually rewarding relationships. Social isolation can affect anyone, and bringing about connections for people is complex and needs to provide opportunity to connect with others.

“The idea for a community project benefiting Calgary’s older population was sparked by a donation by the Kanovsky Family Foundation to United Way of Calgary and Area,” said Gail Hinchliffe, chair of the United Active Living Foundation. “Our Foundation and United Way worked together to develop the pilot project that reaches into the community to foster engagement and dialogue among an older population.”

Acting as convenor, United Way contacted several seniors agencies they support. LINKAges and the Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizen’s Association demonstrated interest and willingness to participate in the initial pilot. The United Active Living Foundation is  using the resources of the Creative Expression department at Garrison Green Seniors Community to shape the components of the pilot and act as facilitators.

“From initial discussions on what this collaboration could look like, it became important to look at reducing isolation and building community in innovative ways,” said Nicole Moore, United’s learning and development coordinator. “Creative solutions to social isolation have to include real opportunities to express yourself. Creative expression is a great way to do this.”

Creative expression is a cornerstone of the activities within United communities as research has linked older adults’ participation in creative activities with a multitude of benefits from fewer doctor visits and less loneliness to higher optimism and self-esteem. Providing opportunities for participants to engage in a variety of stimulating creative workshops led by United’s practicing artists became the framework of the project.

“As organizations catering to aging populations, we all realized that we must consider the real impact of discrimination and exclusion of seniors in our society, because like social isolation, ageism is also a strong barrier to older adults’ participation in society,” said Nicole.

The partnership will see 15 older adults come together once a week for six weeks at United Active Living’s Garrison Green community. They will engage in critical discussions and creative expression activities about aging aimed at enhancing their self-esteem and community.

“This is an exciting program for us,” said Gail. “This program will use creative expression as a tool to raise awareness and improve participants’ emotional well-being and promote social engagement. Five of our Garrison Green residents are also involved.”

The first session on May 2 dealt with the theme of productivity and creativity in later life. “Unfortunately, many of us believe that we are only productive as long as we’re employed or that creativity is only for the young,” said Nicole. “In the session we asked participants if they’ve ever been told they’re too old for something, and questions who gets to decide what behaviour is appropriate for us as we age. Through group discussions, we hope to challenge these preconceptions.”

“To me this project is about opening the door for people to discover their own capabilities,” said Sage Wheeler, creative facilitator. “We don’t teach people how to paint, but we make every effort to show them that they already can. People put up a lot of artificial barriers because it’s scary to try new things and meet new people. It feels risky, so we try to make the space as safe and supportive as possible. Art is a really natural way for people to build that self-confidence because it happens in the body. Pick up a paint brush and before you know it there’s a bit of paint in your hair, you are laughing with friends, and your inner critic is left somewhere behind you.”

Over the next six weeks participants will reflect on their experiences of aging and isolation and create art that depicts their views. At the end of the program, the artwork will be displayed throughout the city in the hopes of initiating larger conversations about aging and the potential of later life.

“We are hopeful that this new initiative will provide participants with the tools to learn about themselves, connect with others and self-determine their relationship with aging,” said Sage.

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 Project Inspire or living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, come visit us or arrange a tour. We are happy to help! 

Contact us here!

 


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“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” – Author Betty Friedan

The common misconception is that older adults are “set in their ways”, and that once you reach a certain age, learning something new becomes difficult if not impossible. Think of the old adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

That’s proving to be absolutely wrong. Research into aging by Dr. Gene Cohen, a pioneer in the work around creativity and aging, said that research “vividly demonstrates that when the brain is challenged through our activities and surroundings, it is altered through the formation of new synapses (contact points between cells). More synapses means better communication among brain cells and increased opportunities for new ideas connecting.”

United’s residents are confirming Dr. Cohen’s findings every day.

“Dr. Cohen broke older age into several stages,” said Gail Hinchliffe, president, United Active Living. “For instance, in our late 60s we start thinking, ‘If not now, when?’ and later our focus is on leaving a legacy; not necessarily money, but we have a wealth of experience that we want to pass on. Our programs capitalize on Cohen’s work. It’s not about warehousing people but about how to provide opportunities for an older population to continue to grow and develop.”

Garrison Green resident Hugh Kuwahara with two of his masterpieces

Garrison Green resident Hugh Kuwahara with two of his masterpieces

That view is evident in the programs and activities that United Active Living offers residents. Our philosophy promotes healthy and active aging. And that means endless opportunities to continuously learn new things. For many, this period of life might be the first time they have found the freedom to pursue interests that were set aside for family and career.

“We will often hear residents say, ‘why did it take me until 85 to realize that I’m an artist?’ There is nothing we like more than to hear the surprised adult children say ‘I didn’t know mom (or dad) was interested in that!’

“To be able to learn new skills is very, very powerful,” said Gail, “particularly in a society that tends to diminish our abilities as we get older.”

United’s programs and activities are created with input from residents. They are interesting and fun, but also thought provoking and challenging.  United’s programming is unique in that it offers a wide variety of experiences.

At last count there were more than 60 activities and programs available to residents. Community partnerships also offer experiences outside the community that many residents may not have been exposed to before or have had to stop attending for various reasons.

Calgary Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet performs at Garrison Green

Calgary Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet performs at Garrison Green

“It’s easy for our residents to get on the bus and attend a concert. We also have musicians come into our communities to perform and talk about the music, so it’s a very rich experience,” said Gail. “Our programming has evolved to where we hire professional artists who give our residents a depth of knowledge not available anywhere else. I really love is to see a resident come in who has been isolated in their home, and hasn’t had that social interaction or that sense of community. As they come into this community, other residents and the staff reach out to welcome them. They become involved in the activities and programs. It is such a wonderful thing to see their faces knowing that they’ve found that sense of community again.”

Gail talks about the ability of older adults to learn in a 10-minute audio interview available 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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United Active Living’s focus on active aging and the arts is introducing residents to the best classical and chamber artists, thanks to our partnership with Calgary Pro Musica.

For the past 40 years, the non-profit organization has brought in world-renowned chamber ensembles to perform in the Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall in the University of Calgary’s Rozsa Centre.

The New Orford String Quartet

The New Orford String Quartet

Their latest initiative brought in the New Orford String Quartet, who won a Juno Award this year for “Best Solo or Chamber Recording”.

“It was a well deserved award for a group of extraordinary musicians,” said Dean O’Brien, artistic director for Calgary Pro Musica. “The last time they played in Calgary they gave a spectacular performance, and their performance this time was no exception.”

United’s partnership also brings young musicians into United’s communities to perform and interact with residents. The musicians are part of Pro Musica’s Dick Matthews Young Artists Development Program, which was created to discover, nurture and promote young Calgary musicians. The program was named for the late philanthropist who was a long-time patron of the arts in Calgary.

“These young musicians will be coming to our communities for two concerts, which is a unique feature of life at our communities,” noted president Gail Hinchliffe. “Having access to some of the best emerging musicians in Calgary is a real benefit to residents, especially for those who have difficulty going out to concert venues.”

The young musicians will perform in their debut concert at the Rozsa Centre April 24. They will also hold special performances for residents in April at United’s Fish Creek community and in May at the Garrison Green community.

“The concerts, whether at the Rozsa Centre or in our communities, enables the music lovers, and music-curious to hear a wide variety of the highest-level Canadian and international chamber music,” added Jill LaForty, United’s music director. “This season the music has ranged from tangos to challenging contemporary South American music, to a whole program of French music. Our residents had rave reviews for all four concerts they went to at the Rozsa Centre and we were welcomed with such kindness by Dean, the staff and other patrons of Calgary Pro Musica.”

Dean O'Brien, artistic director, Calgary Pro Musica

Dean O’Brien, artistic director, Calgary Pro Musica

Dean particularly appreciates the active, artistic lifestyle that United promotes. “My mother has developed memory issues and is living in an older adult community in the U.S. With our partnership with United, I’ve been impressed with the approach that Gail is taking, particularly with the large variety of activities that residents have access to.”

The partnership with Calgary Pro Musica ensures that residents will continue to enjoy a high calibre of musical talent that Calgary – and international – musicians have to offer.

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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“We shape clay into a pot, but it’s the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” – Taoist saying

Clay pots sitting on a table in the art studioWhen we talk about art in a United community, it means more than just painting or drawing. United residents also have access to clay classes, complete with a kiln for firing the finished product.

Amy Bouchard working with the potter's wheel

Creative facilitator Amy Bouchard working with the potter’s wheel

“Clay is a medium that brings a community together,” said Amy Bouchard, creative facilitator. “I don’t tell residents what to create, but rather, I guide them by showing them the methods such as using coils, slabs or the potter’s wheel at United’s Fish Creek community. Ceramics is a unique addition in an older adult community.”

Amy often sees residents working together on projects, and giving each other encouragement. “We all dip into the same bag of clay, we put our work together into the kiln and we admire the finished product together. There is a definite sense of community involved with ceramics. Clay is not only a fun medium to work with, it’s an introduction into the art world as a whole.”

Carlo Romano making a clay figureUnited’s Garrison Green resident Carlo Romano is an example of someone who is new to clay but has since produced hundreds of sculptures of people and animals that represent images from his hometown in Italy. Last year, the art gallery at Fish Creek hosted a solo show of Carlo’s sculptures and paintings.

“It’s wonderful to see a budding artist at a later point of life,” said Amy. “For many, it’s a new way of creating, inspiring the creative spark in the interest of continuing to learn. Recently, I’ve been leaving materials out on the art studio tables when I’m not there. It doesn’t take long for them to start their own projects and work on them independently.”

The art studios are staffed by professional artists – creative facilitators who are there to support and encourage residents. With a wide variety of skill-building workshops, collaborative and conceptual projects, art education sessions and outings to local galleries, the artistic avenues reach far beyond the studio.

Carlo's painted clay figures in the art galleryAmy holds weekly clay workshops at United’s Fish Creek community.

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!

United is changing the conversation around aging. From our innovative United Minds (memory care) program to professionally staffed art studios and extensive creative programming, our communities offer more than you might expect. If you have questions or topics you would like us to cover in future blogs, let us know.


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“Age is no barrier to creativity”. – Gail Hinchliffe, president, United Active Living

Calgary Civic Symphony partners with United to bring music to residents

Calgary Civic Symphony conductor Rolf Bertsch has played several times for residents in both communities

One resident recently stated, “There are so many things to do here. It’s just awesome!” That sentiment perfectly sums up the variety of programs and activities available to residents at United Active Living communities. Music, drawing, painting, dance, pottery, sculpture – and those are just some of the ongoing programs. When you combine those with programs inspired by United’s community partners, the list is even more impressive.

“We embarked on the partnerships because many of our residents used to enjoy going to the Calgary Philharmonic or Calgary Opera, but as they got older, it became more difficult for them to go as often,” said Gail. “So we struck up partnerships with seven music and educational partners so that residents can once again attend concerts, and just as importantly, enjoy performances by our partners right at the Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities.”

Calgary Opera is a partnership that brings music to residents

Calgary Opera’s Johnathon Kirby discusses a finer point of the music with a Garrison Green resident

Bringing performances into the communities gives residents and the performers an opportunity to engage in discussions that might not otherwise be possible. Performers get to know their audience, and residents get to mingle one-on-one with some of the most talented performers in Calgary.

“This kind of interaction is quite unique in an older adult community,” said Gail. But then United isn’t your average older adult community. With a focus on the arts, creativity and socialization with others to keep the mind active, United’s extensive list of programs and activities ensures there is ample opportunity for ongoing learning and creative expression.

“At United, being creative isn’t a hobby. It’s a way of life,” said Gail. “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.”

The Garrison Green art studioWhen you move into a United community you will find fully stocked art studios 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.

Connecting with others and making new friends is a cornerstone of United’s 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 has compiled a comprehensive list of upcoming specialty programs and ongoing programs at both communities so that residents and their families can see what’s available and make plans to participate.

Both lists are available as printable PDFs at these links:

Garrison Green program link

Fish Creek program link

The list is constantly evolving, so check with the monthly calendars that are sent out to each resident for any additions and changes.

“While the partnerships provide us with 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,” said Gail. “That’s why the list of programs is so varied. It’s as varied as the people who live here. And that’s a definite benefit of living in a United community. 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 what the residents want.”

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!

United is changing the conversation around aging. From our innovative United Minds (memory care) program to professionally staffed art studios and extensive creative programming, our communities offer more than you might expect. If you have questions or topics you would like us to cover in future blogs, let us know.


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Kim with Carlo in Fish Creek art gallery

Kim Coulter with resident Carlo Romano in the Fish Creek art gallery

“People often have a preconceived idea about what older adults can do or what they might be interested in. We shatter that myth,” said Kim Coulter, community outreach coordinator, United Active Living.

The programs, outings and activities at United’s two communities are not about “keeping busy”. There is no bingo or shuffleboard. Instead, the programs are varied, engaging and are geared toward the understanding that older adults are keen to continue learning and experiencing new things.

All of our programs are based on what the residents tell us they want,” said Kim. “Residents are interested in politics, lectures, music and the arts, so we develop programs that are engaging and interesting.”

Calgary Civic Symphony conductor Rolf Bertsch at Garrison Green

Calgary Civic Symphony conductor Rolf Bertsch at Garrison Green

United has partnered with some of the best arts and culture organizations in Calgary to provide a broad array of music, theatre and opera performances. These partnerships not only open doors to concerts and lectures outside of the Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities, but bring artists, sometimes world-renowned, into the communities for special concerts and workshops and lectures from visiting professors.

The current Garrison Green program guide is available here.

Visits to art galleries, creative writing workshops, art studios staffed by professional artists, concerts at the Mount Royal Conservatory. The programming has raised the bar and created a creative atmosphere that is far more than you might expect in an older adult community.

Nerissa Shan awarding resident Ray Waldock at the United Games

“Each program is special with a focus on promoting a higher quality of life,” said Nerissa Shan, program development coordinator.

Many residents had memberships to Calgary Philharmonic or Calgary Opera but mobility issues prevented them from attending as often as they would have liked, so United has developed programs that reconnect them with those performances. Often, United goes a step further and brings artists into the communities, and invites residents’ families to join in.

“Such high quality programming give residents an opportunity explore different kinds of music,” said Jill LaForty, United’s music director. “Some have never gone to the opera or heard a string quartet. We have unique partnership agreements that put music and the arts front and centre at United.”

Jill notes that residents are much more open and adventurous than she expected. “The other day we went to hear South American 20th century classical music, which is a far cry from Beethoven. Our residents were very open to the new and sometimes challenging sounds and shared their impressions spent time afterwards. It was extraordinary.”

“Residents are continuing to enjoy life,” said Kim. “They don’t stop because they are older. If anything, they are expanding their involvement, taking the opportunity to learn about something new and sharing those experiences with others in the community. It’s very inspirational.”

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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Sage Wheeler with resident Ginny Stewart at art class

Sage Wheeler with resident Ginny Stewart

“It’s really a special moment for me when someone has an ‘aha’ moment,” said Sage Wheeler, one of the creative facilitators at United Active Living’s Art Studios. “Older adults are capable of so much more than what society expects of them.”

Sage is one of the professional artists who work 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.

Jeff Chan and resident with a fruit carving

Jeff Chan and resident with a fruit carving

“The interesting thing about getting older is that we have more stories to tell,” said Jeff Chan, creative facilitator. “This gives everyone a different entry point into their art. Some residents are attracted to the art studios because they are accomplished artists, while others might have been interested in art in their early life, put it on the back burner for various reasons and now they are coming back to it. It’s our job to open that doorway.”

 

Amy Bouchard with residents in Fish Creek's art studio

Amy Bouchard with residents in Fish Creek’s art studio

“Clay is a perfect example of an art form that can be interpreted so many ways,” said Amy Bouchard, a creative facilitator who sees the excitement in residents each time she introduces this versatile medium. “It might start with a class where we make a bowl using coils or slabs but as people become more proficient we can move to other options such as the potters wheel. It’s wonderful to see so many budding artists at a later point in life!”

United’s creative philosophy is driven by the residents.

“We try to cater to the individual, and create programs that draw on the resident’s interests, skills and experience,” said Cailey Massey, creative facilitator. “Our most successful programs are those that are inspired by United residents.”

An example of this is the Coffee, Tea and Poetry program. It’s designed to include everyone regardless of experience. “Some are very keen to write poetry, while others simply enjoy listening, or are drawn to the discussion of poetry,” said Cailey. “Often the poems are interpreted into visual works in the art studio. We work with the residents to find a medium that best expresses their written words.”

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.

While the arts can be solitary, Amy notes that forming a community is one of the benefits. “We don’t usually create just one sculpture or bowl and go through the entire process of drying it, glazing, firing and painting. In most cases, we work with a group of people who become fast friends because they are going through a new experience together.”

“The residents have taught me to always keep learning,” said Amy. “Age isn’t a barrier and in fact is helpful in lending life experience to the creative process. My advice? Keep going. Get involved!”

Cailey Massey working with resident in the art studio

Cailey working with a resident in the art studio

Residents may be unsure of themselves when trying something new, but the facilitators and other residents provide a supportive atmosphere where experimentation is encouraged. “A physical limitation may keep someone from expressing themselves artistically, but together we find unique ways to overcome those obstacles and even use them to fuel their practice,” said Cailey.

“The art studio is more about building relationships so that we can personalize the experience for residents,” said Jeff. “Creating art is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. It’s about the freedom to express, and once people start on that path, the studio becomes a community that supports each other without judgement. In art, there are no wrong answers.”

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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“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is ultimately to be at peace with himself.” – Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist

In 1874, Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky composed a suite of ten pieces known as Pictures at an Exhibition. It was inspired by the artwork of his friend Viktor Hartmann. Mussorgsky based his work on the drawings and watercolours that Hartmann produced during his travels to Italy, France, Poland, Russia and the screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-1-59-57-pmUkraine.

Since Hartmann’s artwork inspired Mussorgsky to create the music, what would happen if the idea was reversed and the music inspired art? Through Mount Royal Conservatory’s Arts and Culture program, Rolf Bertsh, the coordinator of the Academy Piano program, worked with United’s Garrison Green residents to find out.

 

residents-painting-at-bertsch-concertOne afternoon a week for four weeks, Rolf played parts of the suite, and residents drew pictures, quilted and wrote poetry to interpret what they heard. The result was an inspiring collection of artwork that lines the hallways at Garrison Green.

rolf-bertsch-with-wendy-small“I was pleased and, frankly, amazed at the results,” said Rolf, who is also artistic director and conductor with Calgary Civic Symphony. “There was a great deal of interest from the residents. They produced a wonderful scope and variety of painting, sketches – even a quilt and poetry!”

Rolf said the experience in working with the United residents made him think about creativity and how it can grow and deepen with the passage of time. “The talents demonstrated by the older adults and their willingness, even eagerness, to dare were remarkable. My own experiences, both in music and life, have led to more understanding and more profound expression. Will I stay active into my 80s and 90s? Absolutely! I expect to continue to be active at all levels. I don’t have a ‘best before’ date!”

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-2-02-23-pm

A collage of images derived from the music

The project with Rolf fits perfectly into United Active Living’s view that age is irrelevant when it comes to learning and creativity. United takes the latest research and creates programs that promote the expression of creativity in the residents. The results have brought residents in the communities closer together, and for many, art has opened up a new world.

United partners with a number of arts and cultural organizations in Calgary to connect performers with residents. These partnerships are unique to United and often brings performers into United’s two communities to give residents a more intimate experience.

Residents at United’s Fish Creek community will experience the magic of transforming music into art later this month when Rolf once again performs Pictures at an Exhibition for residents.

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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“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” – Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), from How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The holiday season is a special time of year, when we get together with our families to reminisce, laugh, tell stories and look ahead to an exciting new year.

Kuwahara's small OPBelow is a special card created by two of our Garrison Green residents, Hugh and Kay Kuwahara. These two have found their passion for art and creativity, and wanted to share their wish for a happy holiday season with you through art.

From all of us at United Active Living, we wish you and your family peace, love, health and happiness.

 

happyholidays_hugh-and-kayHappy Holidays

Acrylic on Canvas 2016

Kay and Hugh Kuwahara are artists living and painting in the Garrison Green community. Partners in art and in life, neither Kay nor Hugh painted before living at United. Accomplished artists in their own right, they decided to collaborate on this holiday painting. Incredibly gentle and warm, their spirit shines through in this thoughtful artwork.

United Active Living builds and manages communities in Calgary designed to change the way we think about how we will live as we get older. Our communities promote physical, social and intellectual programs that transform the experience of aging.

United’s Garrison Green community is a winner in the Calgary Herald’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

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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Mary Fenwick at Piano OPMary Fenwick doesn’t have time to sit around. The energetic 91-year-old is too busy learning the piano, going to concerts and taking art classes. When she first arrived at United’s Active Living’s Garrison Green community five years ago, Mary rediscovered her love of piano. She hadn’t touched a piano in more than 30 years, but the Steinway in the corner intrigued her, and she found she wanted to get back to those familiar keys.

“I called the Mount Royal University Conservatory and asked them if they had a piano teacher who can teach someone who hasn’t played in 30 or 40 years,” said Mary. “Kathy Dornian offered to teach me. She is such a highly respected teacher and musician, I was thrilled. I practice now for two hours a day. She gave me a Chopin nocturne to start with, which is a challenge, but I’m getting there with it!”

In Saturday night’s Sounds of the Season concert, Mary will perform Hark the Herald Angels Sing on stage with the Calgary Youth Orchestra, choir and the Heebee-jeebees.

“When Kathy suggested I take part in the concert, I thought I would simply be part of the choir, but when she suggested I play the piano, that was something else! I’m a little nervous about it, but I’ve been practicing every day so I’m confident I will give it my best. After all, it’s Christmas!”

Since starting lessons with Kathy, Mary has expanded her repertoire to include minuets by Beethoven and Bach, Voices of Spring by Strauss, and the Spanish love song, La Paloma.

“I remember when I first started, someone asked me why I was taking up piano again at my age, and I replied that I wasn’t doing it to become a concert pianist, I was doing it for my own joy, for my soul! And I’m getting so much fun from it,” said Mary.

Mary is very appreciative of the approach that United takes to encourage the arts – music, theatre, dance, painting.

“That’s why Garrison Green is such a great place to live. We have so much going on here. We go to the CPO, the opera, and they come here. And all of these things stimulate you,” said Mary.

One of the groups on stage will be Calgary’s a capella group the Heebee-jeebees. “We’re excited about this performance because we will have a very young performer in the Dec. 11 concert and Mary – our most mature performer – performing tonight,” said Heebee-jeebee Jonathan Love. “It’s all about the sharing of music, especially at Christmastime.”

readers-choice-awards-logo-croppedUnited’s Garrison Green community, where Mary lives, has been named a winner in the Calgary Herald’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

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

Have a question about United Active Living’s unique approach to aging?

Contact us! We are happy to help!

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