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Newly built fairy houses waiting for a touch of paint

Newly built fairy houses waiting for a touch of paint

Residents at United’s Garrison Green community put their creativity to work last weekend by using clay to create small fairy houses. A fairy house is a whimsical home for fairies, and provides an interesting decoration for the yard or home.

“We went with fairy houses because they are small and easy to create for all levels of experience working with clay,” said creative facilitator Nicole Bond. “This weekend we’ll be painting the finished houses, firing them in the kiln and glazing them, which will make them nice additions and conversation pieces in the residents’ suites.”

Garrison Green resident Thelma Scheunhage with her fairy house

Garrison Green resident Thelma Scheunhage with her fairy house

Ceramics has become a popular addition to the art studios at both Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities. Even without experience, fascinating projects can be created from a simple ball of clay. “Clay brings us back to the earth,” said Nicole. “It’s taking a raw material and using our imaginations to create something unique. For the fairy houses, I gave the residents a basic plan and then let them use their imaginations to add steps, doors and their own personal touches to their creations. There was a lot of fun and laughter, which really creates a sense of community.”

She noted that it’s wonderful to see the reactions of older adults who may not have used clay before. “Working with clay is an opportunity to try something different, get your hands dirty and leave with a new skill that you might not have tried before,” said Nicole.

“You know, I used to work with clay more than 30 years ago,” said resident Thelma Scheunhage, who moved into Garrison Green two months ago and is taking in as many of the painting and music workshops as she can. “This was a great opportunity to back into working with clay. I put a chimney on top and a flower box on the outside. I’m going to paint it green with a blue roof. Or maybe vice versa. I haven’t decided yet, but it was great fun!”

Louise Dean shapes the perfect roof for her fairy house

Louise Dean shapes the perfect roof for her fairy house

“I loved it!” said resident Louise Dean, who began working with clay when she moved into Garrison Green just over two years ago. “I decided to make my roof curved and to put a clay strip around the outside. Now I’m looking forward to painting it in two shades of brown to look like a tree. I hadn’t made one before. It was great fun!”

The art studios at both communities are staffed by professional artists – creative facilitators who are there to support and encourage residents. The studios offer a wide variety of skill-building workshops, collaborative and conceptual projects, art education sessions and outings to local galleries.

Photos by United Active Living. Videos by Sherana Productions.

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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

Talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange in-person or virtual tours of our Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities. 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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Artist Ann Haessel points out a feature of one of her art pieces

Artist Ann Haessel points out a feature of one of her art pieces

“The call came out of the blue. It was a complete surprise!” Calgary artist Ann Haessel has been creating unique, colourful abstract art pieces since 1982. Her work includes hand embroidery, quilting, and a wide variety of mixed media consisting of layers of fabric, which are sewn, burned and embellished into the final pieces. Her work has been shown at exhibitions throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

Now she is embarking on a new journey. Le Galeriste in Montreal combines clothing with images by artists. When they called Ann, wanting to incorporate her work into their clothing lines, it caught her by surprise. She found a photographer, Darold Black, who sent the company photos of some of her work. For every image submitted, they send back photos of 10 different items of clothing for her approval.

“I don’t know why they chose me out of all the artists in Canada. It is a very nice boost at a time when COVID is causing so much concern. I’m glad they did, and it’s a good feeling to know my art is getting out there, and bringing people so much joy,” said Ann, who lives at United’s Garrison Green community. The community has attracted people from a wide range of backgrounds interested in its professional art studios, and promotes a lifestyle of  lifelong learning and creativity. Ann’s new interest demonstrates how being part of a United community provides our residents with the opportunity to continue to pursue their passions, learn new things and connect with other like-minded individuals.

She has teamed up with Cindy Giesbrecht, also a fibre artist and  the daughter of fellow Garrison Green residents Connie and Art Giesbrecht, Together they are preparing to do a joint exhibition next fall.

...and the art piece, colourful life, that inspired them

…and the art piece, colourful life, that inspired them

Ann Haessel modelling some of the clothing...

Ann Haessel modelling some of the clothing…

Ann’s work appears on scarves, dresses, T-shirts, tablecloths, even masks. “The masks have turned into a bestseller on their website,” said Ann.

“The association with this company is something new that keeps me interested in life,” said Ann. “I’m 78. I didn’t think I’d be embarking on a new business venture, but it’s so nice to enjoy a little more success as I age. I have been totally blessed by this.”

Ann continues to hone her creative side, and plans to expand her art by using some of things she is learning in the art studio, and perhaps incorporating clay and other elements into her already fascinating art pieces.

You can see more of Ann’s artwork on her website, www.haessel.net

Photos by Darold Black and Sherana Productions. Videos by Sherana Productions.

Take a look at our new commercial, Life Experiences.

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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

Talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange tours of our Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities. 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.

Contact us here!

 

 

Photography by www.blackmediaworks.com

 


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An exhibition in the Fish Creek art gallery is raising awareness about the ever increasing need to recycle plastics and to stop the throw away, convenience-based culture supported by production of single-use plastics. Using an aquatic theme, a variety of plastics were repurposed into sculptures including a large sea turtle and jellyfish made from plastic bags. While fun and engaging, the reality is that our planet and particularly ocean life are threatened by plastics that are discarded.

“We were speaking with a resident who was interested in recycling. That got us thinking about what we could do to promote it within the community. We came up with a recycling and ocean theme for the art gallery. The art studio started collecting plastic containers and other recyclables that would normally be put into the community recycling bins,” said creative facilitator Jeff Chan. “We made a call out to residents to bring us their recyclables, and we got quite the assortment in a short period of time – water bottles, cutlery, food containers, old phones, plastic bags, batteries, even an old radio.”

Residents joined in and together they created the sculptures and information displays that encourage and inform about the need to reduce, reuse and recycle. Our Fish Creek community recycles some 1,200 lbs. each week, and Garrison Green, about 900 lbs. Interesting facts about recycling were researched and included in the displays, such as the problems caused by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is three times the size of France floating between Hawaii and California, and what’s being done to clean it up.

“The centrepiece is a giant sea turtle made of plastic bottles, cutlery and other discarded items. It was a fun sculpture to build – a collaboration between the studio and the residents who were key in developing the theme and the displays,” said Jeff.

For the title of the display, the word “recycle” was created out of old batteries. The Jellyfish hanging from the ceiling were created by residents and family members using an assortment of colourful plastic bags.

To further the conversation around repurposing, creative facilitator Amy Bouchard purchased used ceramic plates and had residents adorn them with new designs to give them a new lease on life. Creative facilitator Chanel Traub added to the mix by creating a mountain range with the residents comprised of rolled paper from old magazines, giving yet another example of a material that is regularly discarded.

“The display has really raised awareness within the community about the need to recycle, and is encouraging everyone to think about reusing the plastics we buy rather than simply discarding them,” said Jeff.

Resident Maureen Miller agrees. “The display is amazing. It really made me aware of the impact plastics have on our oceans. We need to do something about it. The display talks about a machine that scoops plastic out of the rivers before they go into the ocean. I was very impressed by that. It’s clear we have a lot to learn about the full journey that plastics take from manufacture to disposal.”

Nick and Diane Jongeling jumped in to help with the project. “We always recycle, so the project interested us,” said Nick. “It looks great! It was nicely done!”

Take a look at our new commercial, Life Experiences.

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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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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.”

 

 

Take a look at our two new commercials. Wise Words, and Life Experiences.

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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.

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 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.

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.

Contact us here!

 


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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.

Contact us here!

 


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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.

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