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One of the centrepieces of United’s programming, the art studios, are welcoming residents back after being closed because of COVID for about five months. The studios are a welcoming home for budding – and professional – artists who can enjoy bright, well-stocked spaces for their creative projects. All residents are welcome, from lifelong artists to anyone who wants to have fun and create for the first time. This may be the perfect time to work on a project or learn and new technique.

Fish Creek resident Olive Hein takes advantage of the re-opened studio

Fish Creek resident Olive Hein takes advantage of the re-opened studio

“It’s comforting to be back,” said Amy Bouchard, a creative facilitator at Fish Creek. “It’s been great interacting with the residents in the studio.”

The facilitators developed a wide variety of programs to accommodate the physical distancing required under the current COVID protocols. Some programs, such as painting, could be done in a resident’s suite, but until recently, group programs were cancelled until small groups could be accommodated. Expansion of the programming has been welcomed by the residents. For instance, sketching workshops have been held in the courtyard and more recently in the art gallery.

“It means a lot to me to have the studio open again,” said resident Olive Hein. “I would normally use it every day. It’s my second home.” During COVID, Olive had a supply of watercolours in her suite and a variety of projects to pursue. “But I like using acrylics, so it’s nice to have access to them again in the studio. I have a spot in the studio that I use regularly. It’s nice and quiet and the surroundings really help spark the creativity.”

 

A socially distanced pottery class at Fish Creek

A socially distanced pottery class at Fish Creek

“At Fish Creek, the studio is open for individual projects, but group activities have been moved just outside the studio to our art gallery,” said Amy, who is a professional artist. “There is a great deal of open space that gives us the opportunity to hold workshops while maintaining appropriate distancing. Usually we have paint brushes and the like within easy reach at the work spaces, but for now, residents have to ask for any tools they need, just so we can sanitize them after use.  And having workshops in the gallery means we have quick access to the studio should we need something there.”

At Garrison Green, access to the studio is giving residents a wider choice of workshops, and a greater ability to pursue individual projects.

“I think it’s very important to have the studio open again,” said Garrison Green creative facilitator Maddison Klein. “The studio is a great place to socialize – at a distance of course – and to find inspiration for individual creativity.”

Louise Dean concentrates on a project in the Garrison Green art studio

Louise Dean concentrates on a project in the Garrison Green art studio

For several weeks, the programs resuming at both communities have been expanding. A workshop this week at Garrison Green focused on perspective and composition, teaching students the how-tos of creating a foreground, middle ground and background in their drawings and paintings. This past week the creative team put on a virtual gallery tour in the theatre as well as an art history program. Workshops this weekend include watercolour, poetry illustration and a clay demonstration to top it all off.

“I had been in the studio a lot, and to be able to go back in again was absolutely wonderful,” said Garrison Green resident Louise Dean. “You can do whatever interests you and the facilitators are there to help with advice if you need it. I like the clay work and really enjoyed working on the wheel before everything closed down. I’m also in the fibre arts group. I do crocheting so there’s a lot that I’m involved with.”

 

 

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

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once we are able to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

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

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

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Students at two universities have painted cards of support for residents and employees at United’s Fish Creek and Garrison Green communities. This week, the students dropped them off.

“Students from Mount Royal University [Calgary] and Emily Carr University [Vancouver] came together to paint and design the cards. [The students] and their families saw that many people are expressing their concerns and thoughts about the seniors in Calgary communities. We felt the seniors and care workers should know that everybody in Calgary is thinking about them during this difficult time. We wanted to send them strength and hope that we will all get through this together. We wanted to find a way to make sure that every senior in every community in Calgary knew that regular people were thinking about them,” one of the students replied by email, saying they wished to remain anonymous.

Resident Doris Grimm, right, and her daughter Gabby show off their cards

Resident Doris Grimm, right, and her daughter Gabby show off their cards

Liz and John Traber with the card they received

Liz and John Traber with the card they received

“It was very thoughtful,” said resident Doris Grimm. “We really liked the cards we received.”

Liz and John Traber were also impressed. “It was really encouraging to receive the cards,” said Liz. “And we were impressed that someone would take the time to make them. It was nice that employees also received them. They are doing an exceptional job and are very helpful.”

Server Willow Addiscott with her card

Server Willow Addiscott with her card

Eric Miller was pleasantly surprised to get his card

Eric Miller was pleasantly surprised to get his card

Willow Addiscott is a server who started with United only three months ago, just when the COVID restrictions began. “Receiving cards like this, or seeing the drive-bys really tell us that what we are doing is worth it. It’s nice to know that people outside the community are behind us. Everything we do is for the residents, so it’s a nice gesture to be recognized for that,” said Willow.

Employee Eric Miller was appreciative when he received his card. “I think it’s a great gesture. It shows the community is reaching out to the residents and employees. It’s certainly appreciated because it’s a reflection of how the employees are doing in keeping everyone safe.”

At the end of May, a similar project was initiated by the Leighton Art Centre. Both of the projects brought smiles and warm responses from the residents.

Photos by United Active Living

Take a look at our Public Service Announcement.

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

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once we are able to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

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

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

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When it’s not possible for residents to get out to watch a musical performance, why not bring the performance to the residents? That’s what happened Monday when three of Calgary’s top Jazz players came to United’s Fish Creek and Garrison Green residences for a parade of New Orleans-style favourites and familiar ballads that saw United residents clapping their hands and singing along.

Jazz trio, left to right, Mark DeJong on sax, Carsten Rubeling on trombone and Andre Wickenheiser on trumpet

Jazz trio, left to right, Mark DeJong on sax, Carsten Rubeling on trombone and Andre Wickenheiser on trumpet

“Jill LaForty, United’s music director contacted me and suggested a unique way to bring live music to the residents at a time when current restrictions are preventing that from happening,” said Mark DeJong, who along with Andre Wickenheiser on trumpet and Carsten Rubeling on trombone, serenaded residents with a wide selection of festive tunes including swing, dixieland and blues.

Mark and a roster of musician friends often play for United’s residents, holding musical chats about music’s cultural, economic and social background through a range of music styles – jazz, folk, country, blues and swing.

“The three of us work together a lot, so we decided on a collection of tunes that were upbeat, melodic and from an era familiar to the residents,” said Mark.

The trio started in the courtyards of both residences with residents watching from their windows or on balconies. They performed for an hour at each community, walking around the buildings to ensure every resident had the chance to listen and participate. For a little taste of what the residents were treated to, click on the video below.

“They were almost under my window,” said Garrison Green resident Joan MacKenzie. “Everybody really enjoyed it. They played songs that were popular in our day, and there was very nice interaction. We shouted and cheered, and they waved and called back. It was a very friendly and unique performance. I appreciate the time they took. It really made my day!”

Residents at Fish Creek heard the concert from their own "box seats"

Residents at Fish Creek heard the concert from their own “box seats”

“It was very heartening to play for the residents who were very appreciative. They waved, smiled and applauded and thanked us for playing for them. It was a very positive experience from our perspective. We can’t share the music the way we are accustomed to, so to bring the music to the residents was a great experience,” said Mark.

Mark said the restrictions have made it difficult not to play for an audience in the traditional way. “We want to believe that the arts and music are essential, but in many ways the restrictions have made performing very difficult, so being able to share what we love in such a unique way is a wonderful experience for us.”

Photos by United Active Living

Take a look at our Public Service Announcement.

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

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once it’s safe to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

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

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

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When the coronavirus hit in early March, the Leighton Art Centre ran with an idea to use art to bring a little joy to older adults in isolation. They asked their 300-plus artist members to create handmade greeting cards with personal messages of support from each of the artists. The Leighton Centre chose to distribute the cards to the residents of long-time supporters United Active Living.

Resident Marjory Koop with her hand-made card

Resident Marjory Koop with her hand-made card

“We looked at what we could do to provide some support and encouragement during this difficult time, and decided to connect our artists with the residents,” said Alison Marshall, the Leighton Centre’s gallery manager and workshop coordinator. “We did a call out to our artists, and expanded it to include families and children. Over the last two months, some 600 cards – all individually made – were created. We dropped them off to United last week, with any extras going to the Bethany Care Centre.”

“We have had a great relationship with the Leighton Art Centre for many years, so when they called us with the idea, we were thrilled and knew this would be a  hit with residents,” said United creative facilitator Maddison Klein. “We went door to door, giving a card to each resident. They were particularly struck by the fact that each card was an original piece of art with a separate message from the artist. I think these are going to be collector’s items they will treasure for a long time.”

Resident Jane Kelly with her card

Resident Jane Kelly shows off her card

Garrison Green resident Jane Kelly was one who received a card from a 10-year-old. “I really appreciated it. It was really terrific! It shows a popsicle with sunglasses, and the message was ‘to a cool customer’. It was a lovely thing to do. It really lifted my spirts and made my day. I laugh every time I see it.”

 

Watch the delightful response from Garrison Green resident Allan Holbrook.

 

“This project has been absolutely delightful,” said Alison. “It really warmed our hearts. When we received the cards from the artists, we went through them and sorted them. The artwork and the messages brought tears to our eyes. The messages of encouragement and support are so beautiful, we were thrilled to pass them along to the residents.”

Photos by United Active Living

Take a look at our Public Service Announcement.

Contact us to learn more!

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

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once it’s safe to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

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

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

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Grandparents have a lifetime of experience to share, but often we don’t capture their important life stories. The Grandparent Project was initiated by Fish Creek resident Les Stewart who suggested that families take the isolation opportunity to learn more about their grandparents by keeping a journal of the important memories and events in their lives, or by doing informal interviews to learn more about them.

“One of my daughters, Lisa, thought that a family heritage project would be a great learning experience for her twin 10-year-olds Brycen and Renee,” said Les. “She created a list of 81 questions, grouped by subject, that covers basic family information but also expands into what school friendships I had, life during the Depression, the war and other major life events.”

“I was brainstorming ideas one day of how to maintain a strong connection with dad while he was in isolation and thought that having my children interview him about his heritage might be a fun and educational experience for everyone, but it has become a terrific way to create an even deeper relationship between my children and their grandfather,” said Lisa Stewart. “Once we got dad set up with the video technology, the project has produced some wonderful stories that have made a big impression on them. I’m also learning some interesting things about him. Everyone’s getting a big charge out of it.”

The questions Lisa came up with range from the serious to the whimsical. For example:

  • What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your life?
  • What are your top three tips for me to remember?
  • Did you have a nickname?
  • What are some practical jokes you played on someone?
Lisa and her children stay in touch with Les

Lisa and her children stay in touch with Les

“Grampy told the kids a few things that made them gasp a little and really surprised them,” said Lisa. “For example, he was born in a house, not a hospital. There were no cell phones, and the home phone was a party line with the neighbours. He earned only $2 a month for doing a large number of chores around the house. He was a spotter for airplanes in case enemy aircraft flew over his home in Nova Scotia.”

“I think a project like this is extremely important,” said Les. “So often the children and grandchildren in our families know very little about the early lives of their parents and grandparents. It’s only later in life that they might begin to wonder what life was like back then. This way, we can tell our stories and those memories will remain part of our family’s history.”

The project is now about to grow. United is excited to be supporting the project by sharing the list of more than 80 questions developed by Lisa to other families and residents for them to use to get their own stories started.

The list of questions is extensive and is sure to promote some lively discussions. If you would like to download a copy of Lisa’s questions, click here.

“My plan is to write up a summary of grampy’s stories to send along to relatives,” said Lisa. “So many of them would love to hear more about his life along with any stories which may contain information about their own parents and grandparents. It’s so important to hear those stories. Often, young children aren’t that interested, but if we make the process and the information appealing to them, there is an opportunity to bond the generations.”

Since those discussions are now done over the phone or on a video call, United is helping residents set up video calls with friends and family. Families who wish to set up a video call can contact the reception desks at both communities and book a time. It’s a great way to stay in touch with family and friends.

Photos by United Active Living, Lisa Stewart

Take a look at our Public Service Announcement.

Contact us to learn more!

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

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once it’s safe to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

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

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

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Luka Coetzee on the phone with one of the residents

Luka Coetzee on the phone with one of the residents

Being isolated means finding creative ways to enjoy your favourite music without actually being there. United Active Living arranged for small, intimate concerts with a performer from Mount Royal University’s Conservatory.  The performances were done over the phone, and gave residents the opportunity to talk with the performer and enjoy a concert just for them.

“We used to perform quite regularly at United’s Garrison Green community,” said Conservatory cellist Luka Coetzee. “Since that isn’t possible right now, I was asked if I could play for several residents over the phone. I chose Going Home by Antonin Dvorak.” You can watch Luka play a similar piece by going to her YouTube channel below.

Resident Marion Enta on the phone with Luka Coetzee

Resident Marion Enta on the phone with Luka Coetzee

“Playing for residents this way was a new experience for me,” said Luka. “I really enjoyed playing for them. Some of them remembered seeing me play when we were able to go into the community. I know they are isolated, so hearing their reaction filled me with gratitude. I was so glad I could bring them a little joy.”

“I heard her before when they played here,” said Garrison Green resident Marion Enta. “She is a very impressive cellist. Hearing her on the phone isn’t the same as being able to see her play live, but it was a very nice thought to give us the opportunity to hear her play.”

Marion has been involved in music for many years. Her children went through the Suzuki program at Mount Royal, learning to play the violin and cello. “Any way United can find to help us stay active and engaged is most welcome. I look forward to being able to go to concerts again.”

Trudy Martin shows off the ear protectors she and others have knitted

Trudy Martin with some of the ear protectors she and others have knitted

Speaking of staying engaged, the creative facilitators at Garrison Green interested residents in knitting ear protectors for employees who wear face masks all day. “They have become quite the rage on the Internet,” said resident Trudy Martin. “Creative facilitator Monica Schmidt found a pattern on the Internet and we started making them a few weeks ago.”

The ear protectors lift the mask’s elastic band off the top of the ear. The elastic is held in place with two buttons sewn into the fabric. It makes wearing the masks for long periods of time far more comfortable.

“We’ve made about 25 so far. It’s gone crazy! The employees have fallen in love with them and are always asking for more. We will need to do another 25 or so just to keep up with demand. We gave a few to the chefs in the kitchen. They aren’t just for women. The men appreciate them as well. It’s been a really positive thing for everyone,” said Trudy.

Photos by United Active Living, the Coetzee family.

Take a look at our new Public Service Announcement.

Contact us to learn more!

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

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once it’s safe to do so. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help! 

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

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

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United’s residents and creative facilitators are stretching their creative muscles to develop new programs at a time when gatherings aren’t possible.

What's better than an ice cream cart? Two ice cream carts!

What’s better than an ice cream cart? Two ice cream carts!

“Our usual programs include lectures, concerts and creative workshops, which typically bring people together into a single space. Now that that is no longer possible, we are working with residents to develop a range of alternative programs,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek program development and creative expressions manager. “We are staying informed about what is going on but not focusing on the fear and uncertainty. Instead, we are putting our attention towards finding safe, enjoyable and imaginative ways to keep residents engaged physically, socially and mentally.”

Residents and staff participate in recommending fun and interesting things for residents to do in their suites. One such outcome is the creation of an ice cream cart complete with colourful streamers and traditional ice cream cart tunes. The creative facilitators do double duty as ice cream delivery people, ‘riding’ the carts down the hallways, knocking on doors and sharing ice cream and a little laughter with the residents.

Ice cream puts a smile on every face

Ice cream puts a smile on every face

“It gives us an opportunity to let them know that we’re thinking of them,” said Kim. “We will also be asking for any positive message that they would like to share with our employees. We will write their quotes on colourful paper and put them up in the staff room. Having direct quotes from the residents is very much appreciated and it helps to lift the spirits of staff who are working hard to keep everyone safe.”

As an example, one resident at Fish Creek, Jack B. , has left several messages for the employees thanking everyone for their hard work in keeping the community safe. In one message he included a smiley faced sun.

In place of regular programming, a Good News Bulletin goes out each week, as does a weekly email, with links to various online events, such as art documentaries, concerts and virtual museum tours. Twice a week Kim and others help residents get set up on Zoom and FaceTime so they can stay connected with families. “The residents are learning some new skills, and we’re finding they are enjoying the challenge of mastering the technology. It’s fun watching their faces light up when they connect with family or friends.”

Kim said that although it has been challenging adapting to all the changes over the last few weeks, the staff has found a rhythm in adhering to the new processes, which allows their creativity to shine. “We don’t do average. We never have,” said Kim. “That extends to finding new programming and innovative ways to keep residents and their families informed and engaged in what we are doing.”

Fish Creek resident Libby R. stays connected to her friends and family

Fish Creek resident Libby R. stays connected to her friends and family

One thing that hasn’t changed is the feeling of community. “It may be a cliche, but we really are all in this together. Residents have always been an integral part in all of the programming we develop. They give us suggestions and we put them in place.”

In United’s spring program guides, which have been put on hold for the time being, the theme for April was “A World of Possibilities”. While the April programs have been delayed, the theme remains all the more relevant.

“The collaboration with residents and employees means that everyone remains connected as a community. I think in many ways that feeling of community is stronger than ever. We have all come together in a difficult time, and when the time comes when we can lift some of the restrictions. we’ll be stronger for it.”

Photos by United Active Living. Videos by Sherana Productions.

Take a look at our new Public Service Announcement.

Ask us about our short-term respite stays.

Contact us to learn more!

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

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

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

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

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Older adults who are normally very active and engaged are facing a particularly difficult time over the last couple of weeks as more stringent measures on movement and socializing take effect.

Jean and Dean Geddes, who moved into United’s Fish Creek community about two years ago, like the concept of living independently while enjoying the programming and amenities in the community. Jean, who is a professional artist, would often drive with Dean to the mountains to paint. Today, United’s programming has been put on hold and residents are asked to stay in their suites.  Like everyone these days, they are also not leaving the community, except for essential trips like groceries or necessary medical appointments.

“Not being able to get away, even for a few days, is a disappointment for us,” said Jean. “We would often go to Canmore or Lake Louise in the spring and again in the fall, and spend a week painting and enjoying the scenery. But with the concerns around COVID-19, we are reluctant to expose ourselves to the usually crowded conditions in these popular tourist towns, so we’ve had to change our routine.”

Jean painting Mount Rundle in Banff National Park

Jean painting Mount Rundle in Banff National Park

Jean's finished painting of Mount Rundle

…and the finished product

Jean, who has her paintings for sale in Collector’s Gallery in Inglewood and also in the Banff Springs Hotel, is grateful that she is able to continue to paint at home. They chose their suite based on the north sunlight she needs for her work. “Under normal circumstances, I really like to start my paintings on location by being outside near the mountains and rivers. Then I bring them home and finish them here. Dean is very supportive. When we travelled, he would help carry my materials and act as a buffer when curious tourists came over to where I’m working and inadvertently come too close. But it’s natural for people to be interested in seeing how an artist makes a painting. Dean kept a close eye out for wildlife, especially bears! When summer comes, if we’re still confined to the community, it would be psychologically very difficult. Old habits die hard!”

Jean says that what she misses most are their friends. “We have friends in the community that we can’t easily visit with. We have a social room and a dining room with great food where we used to gather with friends a few times each week for dinner, but which is now closed to dining service. At some point, we will need to be able to find different ways to socialize and get back to a normal life.”

But Jean recognizes the severity of the situation and is making the best of what she has available. “Change can be positive, so it forces us to be creative and find new ways to stay active and, for me, to keep the way I approach my art interesting. I miss my artist friends around the city, but we are finding ways to socialize without getting together. Communication is really important.”

Jean and Dean’s family are very supportive, bringing them groceries and other necessities. They also speak regularly with family and friends using the computer and phone. One of United’s staff members will get them set up on FaceTime soon, which will give them even more access to friends and family. They might even try using free video conferencing programs such as Zoom.

Jean and Dean Geddes share a laugh in their suite

Jean and Dean Geddes share a laugh in their suite

While current restrictions are difficult, Jean and Dean understand why they are needed. “It’s a tradeoff. There are restrictions, but we are also very well protected from anything coming into the building,” said Jean. “It’s a good feeling knowing that there are people doing everything they can to look out for us. I like that.”

Jean noted that because United is a small, Calgary company, it has the flexibility to make decisions quickly. “United is in the best position to protect us. They are Calgarians looking out for Calgarians. They have put several layers of protection in place to keep the virus out, so despite the inconvenience, we’re feeling very safe.”

Photos by Sherana Productions, Jean Geddes. Videos by Sherana Productions.

Take a look at our new Public Service Announcement.

Ask us about our short-term respite stays.

Contact us to learn more!

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

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

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

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

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United’s Spring Program Guides are now available for downloading or viewing on our website (see links below). Created for each of the Fish Creek and Garrison Green communities, the guides reflect the dozens of programs and outings available to residents over the next three months. Each month, programs are offered around themes. The theme for March is Spark Curiosity. In  April, the theme is A World of Possibilities, and in May, Celebrating Our Humanity.

Along with the specialty programs pertaining to the themes, United communities offer regular ongoing programs that focus on health, community and creativity. Each guide contains more than 30 pages of interesting, informative and resident-focused programming.

“The programs and outings we offer residents are based on what the residents want,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek program development and creative expressions manager. “We work closely with our community partners to offer outings and in-house programs that residents find interesting, stimulating and educational. Some of the partnership highlights include talks by Calgary Philharmonic conductor Karl Hirzer and an in-house performance by Honens Laureate Roberto Plano. One very interesting program will be a makeup and costume demonstration by Calgary Opera.”

Outings to Calgary Philharmonic concerts, exhibitions at museums and art galleries, shows at the Calgary Opera and Lunchbox Theatre and more are offered regularly. In-house concerts and lectures are also regular opportunities and we have a wide range of people and professions to share their knowledge and talents with us. From Mount Royal University professors, members of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra and the Calgary Civic Symphony, and lectures from local historians, there is truly something for everyone.

Members of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra will perform at Garrison Green

Members of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra will perform at Garrison Green

“Our partnership with Mount Royal University and the Conservatory brings residents a wide variety of performances that you won’t find anywhere else,” said Monica Schmidt, program development coordinator, Garrison Green. “For instance, we’ll enjoy a performance from Mount Royal’s speech arts and drama students, a CPO performance, a concert from the Kantorei Choir and a performance by members of the Calgary Jazz Orchestra. United has almost a dozen community partners that provide residents with a wide variety of experiences. Over the next three months, residents will have a large number of programs to choose from that promote lifelong learning, music, art, education and community connections.”

If you’re considering a move to an older adult community, lifestyle options are an important part of your decision. Take a look through the program guides and you’ll see that United offers something truly unique and exciting.

Here are the links to the guides for Fish Creek and Garrison Green.

Photos by Calgary Jazz Orchestra, Calgary Opera. Videos by Sherana Productions.

Ask us about our short-term respite stays.

Contact us to learn more!

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

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

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

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

Contact us here!


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Hans Pols with his art piece, Rocky Mountain Bound

Hans Pols with his art piece, Rocky Mountain Bound

One United resident, with suggestions along the way from other residents and staff, put his creativity into high gear to create this year’s Christmas card. At the time, Hans Pols, who lives at United’s Fish Creek community, simply set out to make a mountain scene from folded paper. But the result captured the Christmas spirit so well that the work is being used as this year’s Christmas card.

“To be chosen was certainly a first for me!” said Hans. “I was really taken aback. When you see the spectacular works of art that hang in our gallery, you know there is a tremendous amount of talent here. I was blown away that they had chosen mine.”

Hans loves the mountains and has always wanted to either live in them or in a province that has them. He chose to live at United’s Fish Creek. “United has a terrific art studio and professional staff and they introduced me to a variety of mediums, including pastels, ceramics and paper collage. Paper was easy to work with for the image I had in mind,” said Hans. One of the suggestions from the creative facilitators was to first create a sketch book. “It’s really interesting to see how an initial idea on page 1 progresses to a near-final idea on page 30. I was really pleased at how this image came together. It was a very rewarding experience.”

The back of the Christmas card explains how the collage evolved. “Hans started this work with a clean slate, with no preconceived idea of the end product, but wanted something whimsical, playful and fanciful. He began making evergreen trees by layering triangles and it grew to a unique yet recognizable depiction of the Rocky Mountains.”

Just one of many decorated doors for the season

Just one of many decorated doors for the season

Christmas is an entertaining time at United’s two communities. Residents and staff at Fish Creek and Garrison Green decorated the Christmas trees, held a decorated door contest, created a number of Christmas-themed paintings and other art projects and attended Christmas concerts and other programs that celebrate the season. And then there is the special, chef-inspired Christmas dinners for residents and their families.

Christmas is a great time to get together with friends and family, so from our families 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

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