You're Browsing General News

“We’re very happy that the visitor guidelines have been loosened,” said Debra Croteau, daughter of Garrison Green resident Del Croteau. “We all want to keep mom safe, but the visitor restrictions have been very difficult for the family.”

Last week, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health issued Order 29-2020, which outlines the guidelines and processes for allowing more visitor and family access to both of United’s communities.

The order provides guidelines for:

  • Indoor Designated Family/Support Persons
  • Outdoor Visits
  • Visits for Extenuating Circumstances

And includes two fact sheets:

  • Family/Support Visiting Fact Sheet
  • Family/Support Visiting Fact Sheet for Residents

Details on all of the guidelines and fact sheets can be found on the Alberta government website.

United will continue to evaluate the guidelines to ensure access is working as well as possible.

“The loosening of visitor restrictions is great news for our residents,” said Kathy Cleary, director of quality enhancement and innovation. “It’s important that residents are able to visit with each other and their Designated Family Support Persons (DFSP) within the community as long as neither resident nor DFSP is required to isolate. Residents can spend time together in common areas, and under the new order, residents will also be able to visit with each other or with their assigned DFSP(s) in their suites. Physical distancing should be maintained and masks are encouraged if physical distancing cannot be maintained.”

“I haven’t seen my mom since March,” said Debra. “I’ve called her every day, but I haven’t been able to visit, so I’m really looking forward to seeing her in person. She is doing fine, but she is blind so that makes it very difficult at times. She is usually quite active, but not being able to get out has bothered her the most. My sister and I took her out for dinner this week, so it was great for all of us to get together again.”

Laurie Dolph, daughter of Garrison Green resident Jim Dolph

Laurie Dolph, daughter of Garrison Green resident Jim Dolph

Jim Dolph with one of his works of art

Jim Dolph with one of his works of art

“I’m also pleased with the updated rules,” said Laurie Dolph, daughter of resident Jim Dolph. “Bit by bit and very carefully, more and more has opened up.  I’m sure it’s been hard for United, as they have likely felt pressure (from residents and their families) to ‘hurry up’ and add more freedoms.  Fortunately, the management has thought carefully about how to go about opening up.  The health of their residents has ALWAYS been their priority! My dad and I went for lovely drives in the country when only one person was allowed to visit.  (We both had to wear masks, of course.)  My dad adored those drives!  We still do them often. But now, he’s allowed two designated essential family members, so my brother, David, also has lovely driving trips with my dad.”

United will be developing a number of policies and processes including a community risk tolerance assessment. Residents, families and employees will be asked for their views to develop the assessment.

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

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.

Contact us here!


You're Browsing General News

Our residents interests and passions have always helped us create the community atmosphere, programming and services here at United and we feel privileged to have our residents’ knowledge, expertise and life experiences to draw upon. With life experience comes wisdom. Our residents have lived through war, depression and other challenges. So what can we learn from them as we go through the current challenges with COVID-19?  We asked several residents to let us in on their secrets for staying optimistic and positive. The result is two new TV commercials that bring a message of hope and optimism to viewers, and encourage them to connect with the older adults in their lives.

Resident Trudy Martin on a Zoom call in the commercial

Resident Trudy Martin on a Zoom call in the commercial

For one commercial, called “Wise Words”, we spoke to residents via Zoom. Garrison Green resident Trudy Martin maintains an optimistic view of life. “We came through the depression. If we got through that then you guys can get through this. We are all in it together. Everybody will come through it fine,” Trudy tells viewers.

“We’re optimistic about how this will turn out because we have a great group of employees who have made us all feel very safe,” she said afterwards. “We are seeing more programs open up and expand. The ice cream carts the employees bring around are always a hit, and the artists from the Leighton Centre gave everyone handmade cards. There were lots of smiles that day. We restarted  everything slowly and we’re building on that. The weather is great, we can get outside more often. Things are looking up!”

Resident Les Stewart in his suite at Fish Creek

Resident Les Stewart in his suite at Fish Creek

Fish Creek resident Les Stewart has remained positive throughout the last five months. “The employees are to be applauded for going above and beyond to help to keep a positive environment,” said Les. “Today, there are more programs opening up, more exercise classes and more programs in the theatre.” Les said that at the height of the quarantine, some residents  felt a little cabin fever, but now that things are opening up, everyone is looking forward to the day when family and friends can once again visit and get together for a meal in the dining room. But he stresses that it’s important to keep some controls in place to forego any risk.

“I didn’t find it difficult to stay positive,” said Les. “I have a schedule of things to do each day. I manage my own affairs with the assistance of my family and I use the computer a lot to keep up with news and information. I maintain an exercise schedule and I stay involved with my family. We installed a video camera on my computer to engage with my family while we are speaking.”

Les and his family were quite innovative during the quarantine by creating the grandparent project, which gave him and his grandchildren more opportunity to get to know each other better, even though they couldn’t visit in person.

The commercial is running on CTV Calgary during the noon, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news as well as Dr. Oz in the afternoons. It emphasizes the need to stay positive and to build a strong community together. A second commercial, also featuring residents and running in tandem with the first, speaks about how the residents, with their strengths, skills and passions, help build stronger United Active Living communities. The commercial encourages viewers to connect with the older adults in their lives.

Links to both commercials are below.

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

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.

Contact us here!

 


You're Browsing General News

Official Stampede festivities have been cancelled for the first time in almost a century, but that’s not stopping residents from enjoying the Stampede spirit. The Stampede events this week were all planned with social distancing in mind, and in line with the Calgary Stampede’s slogan “Community spirit cannot be cancelled”. That’s never been more true in our two communities.

Singer Travis Pickering entertaining residents at United's Fish Creek community

Singer Travis Pickering entertaining residents at United’s Fish Creek community

“At Garrison Green we saluted the Stampede with pancakes at lunch on Wednesday, complemented with grilled hamburgers and ice cream sundaes at dinner, which touches on a Stampede food fair theme,” said Monica Schmidt, creative facilitator for Garrison Green. “On the music side, we featured country singer Travis Pickering, who walked around the outside of the community playing country favourites. Travis also performed outside at our Fish Creek community. We even had midway-themed mini-doughnuts as another Stampede treat. And on Friday, our weekly Good News Bulletin will feature the history of the Calgary Stampede.”

Residents were also invited to a virtual presentation of “We Too Will Ride Again” hosted by the Kerby Centre. Residents heard from the 2020 Stampede parade marshal Filipe Masetti Leite; learned about the history of the Stampede from author, historian, and CEO of the Whyte Museum, Donna Livingstone; heard cowboy poetry from award-winning poet Doris Daley; and even experienced some Chuckwagon action.

George Lane helped raise funds to launch the first Calgary Stampede

George Lane helped raise funds to launch the first Calgary Stampede

George Lane with Charles Russell bronzes

George Lane in his Garrison Green suite with Charles Russell bronzes

One of the residents living at Garrison Green has a special link to the Stampede. George Lane is the grandson of one of Calgary’s “Big Four” businessmen, also named George Lane, who kept the idea for the Stampede from going to Winnipeg in 1912, thus starting a century-long tradition in Calgary. In 2016, the elder Lane was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, both in Oklahoma.

“Guy Weadick came to Calgary with an idea for what would become the Stampede,” said George, a retired Dean of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. “He needed money to get it off the ground. My grandfather heard about it, brought three other business leaders together, and they provided the funding. Guy was going to take the idea to Winnipeg unless he could find funding in Calgary, so the Stampede became forever associated with Calgary.”

The historic Bar U ranch near Longview

The historic Bar U ranch near Longview

The elder George Lane owned the famous Bar U ranch near Longview for a quarter century. A later co-owner of the ranch was Patrick Burns, also one of the Big Four. The ranch itself has a number of colourful stories. For instance, in 1891 the infamous Harry Longabaugh worked at the Bar U, later becoming the outlaw  “the Sundance Kid”, of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame.

Edward VIII, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward, who abdicated the throne in 1936), while on a cross-Canada tour, visited the Bar U in 1919 after saying that he wanted to see a real ranch.  After spending several days as Lane’s guest, the Prince travelled on to Vancouver. He was so taken with the Bar U, that he wired Lane to arrange to buy a ranch in the area. The Prince bought a neighbouring ranch to the Bar U and renamed it the EP.

Charles Lane's grandfather shot several wolves that were attacking his cattle. The event is cast in bronze

Charles Lane’s grandfather shot several wolves that were attacking his cattle. The event is cast in bronze

And Charles Russell, best known as the Cowboy Painter, who was famous for painted western scenes, painted a series of his works at the Bar U. One of his works was turned into a bronze. It marks a time when George’s grandfather rode home one night and found a herd of wolves attacking his cattle. The wolves turned on him and he shot several of them before the remainder ran off.

“Ranching was in our heritage, and two of my dad’s brothers set up ranches. But my dad farmed and raised horses, and I found I was better suited to an academic life,” said George. “But the Stampede is still important to us. We’ve always participated in it in various ways. On the 100th anniversary, they brought the descendants of the Big Four to Calgary to ride in the parade. When the Stampede was cancelled this year, I frankly thought they had jumped the gun. I wrote a letter to Mayor Nenshi suggesting it be moved to September instead, but at least the Stampede is still being held in spirit.”

George said his family history is important, and he recognizes that it’s something to be proud of. His grandfather died before George was born, so his memories come through stories his father told him. “The family considered High River to be our home before we moved to Calgary, and the Lane & Emerson block was named after my grandfather, and a park and campground in High River were named for him. I think I see him today as an innovator. His first telephone number was 3 in Calgary, meaning he had the third phone in Calgary. He saw the need for horses for the settlers coming to Western Canada, so he brought Percherons in from France and sold them to breeders who then sold the offspring to the settlers. And he saw the need to branch into agriculture rather than just stay with ranching, and he sold cattle to England.”

George said the Stampede is never far from him and his family. “I have a large number of photos and documents that all harken back to my grandfather and those early days in Calgary. I might just write a book about him one day.”

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

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.

Contact us here!

 

 


You're Browsing General News

Residents at United’s two communities celebrated Canada Day and found new ways to create lasting memories.

Enjoying the show in the courtyard

Enjoying the show in the courtyard

At Garrison Green, residents collaborated on a large artwork banner that was strung from the second floor balcony. A musical group, the Awesome Brothers, played Canadian songs and invited residents to sing along from their suites as the band walked around the building. Inside, residents were treated to traditional poutine in the bistro and a special festive dessert at dinner.

The significance of Canada Day brought out great memories for the residents. Garrison Green resident Allan Holbrook’s family came to Canada in 1952. Although his grandfather was born in Canada, he left to become a sharpshooter in a wild west show in England.

Allan Holbrook in his Garrison Green suite

Allan Holbrook in his Garrison Green suite

“My grandfather was born in a house that straddled the Canada/U.S. border in Ontario,” said Allan. “The family was American, but he was born in the back of the house, so he was Canadian,” Allan laughed. “The government made him a dual citizen, but he eventually left for England where he married. His son – my father – later came to Canada.”

In 1952, Allan, who was 17, and his family came to Canada and settled in Calgary where Allan eventually found his calling as an insurance adjuster.

“We used to go to the parades for Canada Day, the Stampede and other events. I don’t do much of that now, but I’m very proud to be a Canadian. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” said Allan.

Filomena Sangregorio on a recent Zoom call with her family

Filomena Sangregorio on a recent Zoom call with her family

Filomena Sangregorio and her husband arrived in Calgary in the mid-1950’s. She from Italy, and her husband from Belgium. Calgary was a small city, she recalls,  but it was a proud moment for her. “We were so happy to be here,” Filomena said. “Calgary is very special to me. I couldn’t speak English then, but we quickly made friends and raised a family. Canada Day reminds me that Calgary is a nice place, with nice people, and home to our friends and family.”

Collaborative art display at Fish Creek

Collaborative art display at Fish Creek

At Fish Creek, Canada Day started on a sweet note with afternoon ice cream floats in the bistro, flags for everyone and a collaborative community art piece – Why Do You Love Canada? – displayed outside the theatre. Residents posted short answers on the wall, such as “Wild life, Canadian Rockies, blue skies”, and “The trails that I walk on, the mountains I can see, the new friends I can converse with.”

The Awesome Brothers serenaded residents on their balconies

The Awesome Brothers serenaded residents on their balconies

The Awesome Brothers band played for Garrison Green residents on Canada Day, but rain forced a delay until July 2 for the performance at Fish Creek. The choice of songs performed was a collaborative effort with the residents. Songs by Hank Snow, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Ian Tyson and Brian Adams were among the favourite Canadian requests. The band worked its way around the two buildings at Fish Creek, with a finale in the courtyard, where the band acknowledged each resident who had requested a song.

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.

Contact us here!


You're Browsing General News

After more than three months of limited movement and socializing, residents at United’s two communities are enjoying the safe and gradual relaunch of programming, fitness classes, bistro and dining room meal services and more socializing with other residents – while adhering to the guidelines and orders as set out by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH). The easing of restrictions means that residents can enjoy more of the things that United has become well-known for.

“When we developed a plan for reopening the communities, we looked to guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the protocols they have in place for older adult communities,” said Kelly Johansson, executive director of operations. “Our protocols differ from the ones that are in place for the greater community because of the greater risk to our residents. These tighter protocols are a good thing, and everyone understands why it’s taking longer to ease the restrictions.”

A questionnaire was sent out asking residents to outline their priorities for United’s relaunch plan. At the top of the list was reopening the dining room and bistro. Breakfast and lunch service has already resumed and dinner service is expected to follow shortly. Next on the list was United’s varied programming and fitness classes.

Fitness session at Fish Creek pre-COVID

Fitness session at Fish Creek pre-COVID

“Fitness was the first program to once again welcome residents,” said Kim Coulter, program development and creative expressions manager. “We started with baby steps offering small classes with a few residents in each class. We’ve gradually expanded that. Fitness is such an important program both for physical and mental health, and the social benefit that comes from it. Many residents were walking regularly in the courtyard, or exercising in their suites, but there is more variety in a fitness class, which is very beneficial.”

Understandably, meals are an important part of the day, and United’s unrestricted dining options were missed. Prior to COVID, residents could eat what they wanted, when they wanted and with whom they wanted. There were no seating assignments and complete flexibility. Today, to ensure physical distancing guidelines are followed, United has temporarily instituted three seatings at lunch, ensuring that tables are kept proper distance and offering smaller tables for two residents.

The bistro is open for breakfasts. The dining room for lunches.

The bistro is open for breakfasts; the dining room for lunches.

“I’ve lived at Fish Creek for about a year, and I was so excited when they opened the dining room for lunch,” said Yvette DeGagne. “I dressed up that first day. I looked terrific!” she quipped. While she remains cautious about the virus, she is anxious to see the restrictions lifted. “I think United is doing the best job to protect us, but it can be difficult for some people. I love the programming, so I’m excited for the community to get rolling again.”

Following the direction of the CMOH, United has been facilitating outside visits and walks with residents and their designated essential visitor and an additional guest. There have been areas set up outside to accommodate these visits, which are very popular especially since the nice weather.

Programming is restarting, but without outside entertainment and with limited seating. The first program in the theatre in three months will be a televised Michael Bublé concert. The program will be shown several times to accommodate as many people as possible.

Watercolour workshops are being held in the Fish Creek courtyard

Watercolour workshops are being held in the Fish Creek courtyard

Since the art studios at both communities are still closed, the creative facilitators will be holding watercolour painting workshops in the courtyard. The facilitators are working in other areas of United’s operations while the art studio is closed, but will slowly return to developing new programs for residents as restrictions continue to loosen.

“I’m looking forward to the opening of the art studio,” said resident Olive Hein. “When I moved to Fish Creek three years ago, I had never painted, but now I’ve found a new passion and during the restrictions I’ve been painting in my suite.” Olive says she has 40 to 50 paintings hanging on her walls. “I’m also physically active. I’m glad the exercise program has started up, but I used to run marathons when I was younger, so I’ve been walking in the courtyard. Usually 10 to 15 times around each day.”

“It is so refreshing to see the residents out and about in the community, enjoying the meals and laughing and waving to their friends,” said Kim. “And that makes us feel better too.”

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.

Contact us here!


You're Browsing General News

Lynn, Richard and Addison marking a special day

Lynn, Richard and Addison marking a special day

When it’s your birthday, it’s time to celebrate no matter the circumstances. On April 24, Richard Odland, who has lived with his wife Lynn at United’s Garrison Green for three years, turned 81. Rather than letting them celebrate on their own, their family came by to wish him well. To put the icing on the cake, it was an extra special day for Richard and Lynn as their granddaughter, Addison, turned 10 on the same day.

“It was a lot of fun, and a very different way to celebrate birthdays,” said Lynn Odland. “We were separated by glass, but we spoke with each other on our cell phones. While it’s not our first choice, we feel safe here. Very comfortable. Life is good.”

Motorcycle drive-by outside United's Fish Creek community

Motorcycle drive-by outside United’s Fish Creek community

The next day, a group of motorcycles and cars did a drive-by salute for employees and residents at Fish Creek and Garrison Green. “I’m a member of Against All Abuse, a local group of motorcycle riders who ride for charity to support anti-bullying and other anti-abuse initiatives,” said Cheryl Crich, director of strategic projects for United Active Living. “Our colleagues who are providing care and support are working so hard, we felt they deserved a show of respect, recognition and a salute to the incredible work they are doing. As well, we wanted to salute our residents for their patience and understanding.” The entourage also drove by Providence Care Centre and Father Lacombe Care Centre while at Fish Creek, and Carewest Garrison Green, across the street from United’s Garrison Green community.

“Employees are working hard to keep every resident safe. We are all supporting each other,” said Cheryl. Watch the video of the drive-by.

Chalk message outside United's Fish Creek community

Chalk message outside United’s Fish Creek community

To put the finishing touches on the day, families of residents at Fish Creek wrote special messages of love and support in chalk on the sidewalks.

“It was really wonderful, really very special,” said residents Inger and Bill Copland. Eight members of their family came out at Easter to wish them well, and again last Saturday. “The employees here are doing a terrific job looking out for everyone,” said Inger. “I have to say that we would like to be able to go for a walk or a drive just to get out a little, but we understand why it’s necessary. We just hope it doesn’t last too much longer.”

 

Photos by United Active Living, The Odland 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!

 

 

 


You're Browsing General News

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

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

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

  1. Eat healthy

One of the attractions of living at United is the flexible mealtimes and all-day menu. The kitchen is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and features a menu that is available throughout the day.

Residents can choose what to eat, when to eat, and with whom to eat. There is no assigned seating. Plus, the all-day menu gives residents flexibility should they arrive back home after an outing and want a meal or snack.

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

2. Keep your brain active

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

The value of lifelong learning

Engaging in creative pursuits

Thriving as we get older

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

 

3. Exercise regularly

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

 

 

 

4. Get involved

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

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

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

5. Challenge yourself

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

A 104th Birthday to Remember

Hertha Reich: A Creative Mind

 
6. Planning for the future

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

The future of aging

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

7. Make a new friend

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

 
8. Start a journal

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

 
9. Discover a new hobby

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

Developing creativity

Pursuing creative interests

 
10. Decide what’s best for you

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

Photos by United Active Living, Sherana Productions. 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!


You're Browsing General News

Madge with some of her baby hats

Madge with some of her baby hats

For Garrison Green resident Madge McAdam, volunteering has been a lifelong passion.

Daughter Susan Snowdon says she can’t recall a time when Madge wasn’t volunteering for something. “She helped out with the Holy Cross Hospital’s teddy bear program for kindergarten students, spent time at the Colonel Belcher Hospital’s palliative care program, and even organized no-charge figure skating lessons in the community.” Though Madge stopped much of her volunteer work when she chose to stop driving at 80, she continues to find ways to give back.

“My mom was assistant director of nursing at the old Holy Cross hospital in Calgary when she retired at 65 around 1982,” said Susan. “When the hospital closed, she turned her attention to volunteering at the Rockyview Hospital as a baby cuddler, which is a pretty coveted position.”

Madge cuddling baby at Rockyview Hospital

Madge at Rockyview Hospital

Keeping a baby’s head warm is, of course, very important in helping them maintain a healthy body temperature. And it was during her time as a baby cuddler that Madge came up with the idea of knitting hats for these tiny newborns. At that time nurses would use whatever convenient materials they could find to cover the babies’ heads and Madge, an avid knitter, knew that little hats would be a great fix. She’s kept it up for almost 40 years, producing hundreds of baby hats, which are delivered twice a year to the Rockyview Hospital. The parents take the hats home with them, which become valued keepsakes of the day their child was born.

“I like to knit and there was a need,” Madge, now 102, says in her quiet voice, when asked why she started.  “These hands have to do something!” she laughs.

Madge’s volunteer work and her baby hat project have not gone unnoticed. She was given a Canada Volunteer Award in 1990.

Today, you can find Madge knitting in her favourite chair by the fireplace at Garrison Green, or in the weekly Fibre Arts Club meetings – “I like getting together with my friends.” –  where she continues to knit hats, scarves and baby blankets, many of which are donated to charity.

Photos by Susan Snowdon, Sherana Productions. 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!


You're Browsing General News

There was a lot of positive reaction to our article of a couple of weeks ago that spoke about the six questions you should ask when considering a move to an older adult community. So we thought we would take a further look at adjusting to living in your new community.

Most of us would prefer to stay in our homes as we age for as long as possible, but this can become an issue when we reach a point where our needs outgrow our home environment.

A transition to a supportive community is complex, and to be successful, older adults and their families go through a series of adjustments. The most obvious adjustment is the physical relocation to a new home. This includes ending some established habits and adopting new routines, which can appear to be overwhelming.

There is no question that moving from the family home requires a period of adjustment. “I can’t say enough about the staff; they’re the most caring, efficient, pleasant, and helpful people. I was so familiar with my community all my life so moving here was an adjustment. The staff is what helped me make the adjustment,” said one resident of our Fish Creek community.

 

Relocating is often described as one of the most difficult decisions faced by older adults and their families. In 1989, Virginia Brooke, then an assistant professor in Spokane, Washington, identified four phases of adjustment that older adults typically go through during a move.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 9.41.28 AM

The transition to a new community has many positive outcomes. Research suggests that after a transition, people often feel more secure and less lonely than they did before the move. In addition, feeling a sense of relief is common. Think about all of the work that goes into maintaining a house. No longer having to worry about yard work, home maintenance or cooking can be very freeing. Many older adults will discover new opportunities to develop hobbies or skills and form new bonds with others in the community, which results in an enhanced quality of life.

When the decision is a result of personal choice instead of a consensus of family members and health professionals, older adults will adjust better to their new home.

Joan Patterson working on a quilting project

Joan Patterson working on a quilting project

“I found it easy to make the decision to move,” said Fish Creek resident Joan Patterson. “I fell at home and broke my shoulder and I realized that I should move into a community where I could get help right away should something like that happen again. My transition was very smooth because I made the decision on my terms rather than someone else’s.”

 

How to make the transition easier

Involvement in the decision to move is one of the most important aspects that can either help or hurt the adjustment. Older adults who are included in the decision-making process feel empowered, respected and view the move as more desirable. However, when older adults have little or no input in the decision they tend to feel hurt, angry, misled or depressed.

United is committed to supporting resident adjustment to our communities. We strive to understand resident needs and work with them and their families to help everyone adjust positively.

Quick tips for families


Make sure you visit the new community, sometimes more than once. This will help develop relationships and become acquainted with the physical space and programs and services available.

Before the move:

  • Consider counselling or a more informal family discussion, since older adults and their family members need to feel safe expressing their feelings about moving

After the move:

  • Family members can help a parent settle in by recognizing the emotional impact of the move and respond with compassion and patience
  • Offer them choices in how their new suite is decorated, the meal choices they have, and developing routines around their lifestyle will enhance the feeling of control
  • Display documents or items of significance in their new home and encourage the continuation of previously enjoyed activities.
  • Build new bonds with staff and other residents. Our staff – and other residents – will introduce themselves to new residents and make them feel comfortable.

Transitioning from your home to another community can be very difficult, and it can take time to finally feel settled. However, understanding what the move means and planning ahead can help everyone make a successful adjustment to a new home.

Photos and video by Sherana Productions.

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 tour. We are happy to help! 

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

Contact us here!


You're Browsing General News

Joan Patterson, left, and Sheila Brinsmead became close friends after moving into Fish Creek

Joan Patterson, left, and Sheila Brinsmead became close friends after moving into Fish Creek

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

For more on this, refer to our article on tips for moving to an older adult community.

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

 

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

United ensures that a health issue is well managed, and provides residents with the peace of mind that such a crisis won’t force a move away from the community.

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

Con and Dorthy Irving chose United partly because of its philosophy not to separate couples due to illness

Con and Dorthy Irving chose United partly because of its philosophy not to separate couples due to illness

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

3. Will I be locked away in a separate wing should I develop dementia?

Research has shown that those with dementia do better when included within the general community population. At United, all residents are encouraged to participate in every program and activity. None are excluded, and there are no locked wings. Check out our article on dementia care.

4. I want to continue to enjoy life and learn new things. What activities and programs are offered, and are they offered on my terms or yours?

Living a full life in your later years is a focus at United communities. Activities are designed around the interests of the residents. The art studios, for instance, are open 24 hours and residents are free to come and go as they please. Take a look at our latest program guides.

5. What about meals? Is there assigned seating or other restrictions?

A United community is your home, and just like your home, we don’t put restrictions on meal times. You can eat what you want,  when you want and with whom you want. Our kitchens are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, and we feature an all-day menu. Read more about meals in this article.

 

 

 

6. What is your gut reaction? Do you feel comfortable and welcome or does the community feel more like an institution?

This is your new home and it should feel that way. Your former home didn’t feel like a medical clinic, so why should your new home? While your medical needs are important, we ensure those are provided in the privacy of your suite.

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

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 tour. We are happy to help! 

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