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When Duane Bratt holds a political discussion, there is sure to be a full house. That was the case this week when Duane, who is a professor of political science at Mount Royal University (MRU), brought his knowledge of politics in two sessions to the residents of United’s Fish Creek and Garrison Green communities.

“I really enjoy my visits with the residents, even if this one had to be online. They are very engaged and knowledgeable about current events, not only about what’s going on in Calgary but around the world. And the questions they ask are very insightful!” said Duane.

In Tuesday’s sessions topics included the WE charity scandal, president Trump and the November U.S. election, the re-opening of schools and nuclear energy. “I was a bit surprised that nuclear energy made the list since it was just raised as a possibility in the last couple of weeks by the provincial government.”

Duane said they spoke at length about the prospect of nuclear energy development in Alberta. He is very knowledgeable, having written several books on the subject. “Alberta talked about nuclear in 2007 and again in 2011, but those discussions were around large scale reactors and the business case for their development wasn’t there. This time, the discussion is around small reactors.” Duane noted that small reactors have been used in military applications, but have not been developed for commercial use. Four provinces have indicated their interest in developing such technology.

Another issue that was top of mind was the re-opening of schools. “Because COVID has become an important part of their lives, they are very interested in how this might affect their grandchildren going back to school in a couple of weeks. They know the importance of school and that the children need to go back. Their concern was how to get classes going again safely.”

Fish Creek resident Ross Campbell enjoyed the discussion. “I always find Duane interesting to listen to. He is very knowledgeable. What I like is that he always presents both sides of an issue. COVID and how it is affecting politics, how the various political leaders are performing, the state of pipelines and the idea of introducing small nuclear reactors were a few topics that attracted my attention. He always has the ability to make you think.”

“Older adults are definitely not disengaged when it comes to politics. Look at any political party, civic or community group and it’s the older adults who make up the bulk of the volunteers,” said Duane. “They have the time to devote, but they are also very interested in what’s going on in the world around them. They are inquisitive and want to understand the issues. They ask great questions, which is why I like to have these discussions with them.”

Duane’s discussions are part of United’s partnership with MRU. Lifelong learning is an important goal of United’s programming. Duane speaks with residents of both of United’s communities several times a year.

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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Dr. Gerald Hankins reading in his home officeA wartime injury and a chance encounter with a well-wisher in a Scottish hospital combined to create a turning point in Dr. Gerald Hankins’ early life that transformed his approach to life and his medical career for the next 70 years.

While serving as a radio navigator during the Second World War, Gerald’s plane crashed. He spent the next year recovering from a spinal injury in a hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland. “One day, while I was feeling sorry for myself, I received a visitor. A woman named May Lynn, was visiting wounded soldiers and airmen,” recalled Gerald. “She asked me if I knew the Lord. I was surprised by the question, but knew that I was missing something important in my life. While in hospital I was also struck with how caring and competent the nurses and doctors were. Both of those events changed my way of looking at things and influenced my career.”

He returned to Canada and earned a medical degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1951.

“I had a classmate, Dr. Helen Huston who was working at a UMN (United Mission to Nepal) hospital in the hills of Nepal,” said Gerald, who has lived at United’s Fish Creek community with his wife Lois since last fall. “Helen asked me to take over for her while she came back to Canada for her parents’ anniversary. That temporary assignment eventually turned into a 12-year stay. I was uncertain about it. I didn’t know the language or the spectrum of diseases I had to contend with. I made my share of mistakes, but the experience was gratifying.”

While there, Gerald performed surgery and taught western medicine to local doctors. He quickly realized that there were few books on surgery that would help western doctors working in Third World countries. He and several other doctors compiled a two-volume textbook called Primary Surgery, that was published in 1987 and is still referred to today.

Gerald returned to Canada that year and eventually retired in 1990.

Dr. Hankins has published several biographies“These kinds of experiences change your values,” said Gerald. “Being of service to sick or injured people is rewarding. It helped to strengthen my faith. It was hard work and I had a lot to learn but the experience was deep and profound.”

Gerald found satisfaction in writing while working on the medical textbook. He turned his attention to biographies, and published four of them, all of colleagues or others who influenced his life. “My first one, in 1992,  was about Dr. Helen Huston, who won the Order of Canada in 1994. I knew her life story and greatly admired the work she was doing. All the factors were there to write her story.” Gerald followed up with biographies of three other doctors, and a book about the Mustard Seed Ministry in Calgary.

Dr. Hankins' Order of Excellence awardFor his lifetime of contributions, he was awarded Alberta’s highest honour, the Order of Excellence, in 2005.

Even though he has written about others, he hasn’t considered an autobiography. “People don’t want to know about my golf game,” he laughs. “Writing about people I admire will suffice. But I have written some things, mostly for myself, about the influences in my life.”

Gerald has always loved the mountains and has surrounded himself with them all his life – in Nepal, and for a time he lived in Canmore. He chose the Fish Creek community “because I wanted to live in a community with people my age, with good programs going on. I’m interested in poetry and read quite a bit of it. Lois and I can’t walk like we used to, but we try to stay active. Part of me is still in Canmore and I would like to go back for a visit.”

Now 95, Gerald said that if there is one thing that has guided him all his life, it has been his faith and his desire to help others. In his suite he has a Bible verse pinned to his desk. “And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”

“I don’t think anything I can say is better than that,” he said.

Photos and video 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

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.

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You're Browsing Lifelong Learning

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

The Calgary Jazz Orchestra performing

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

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

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

2015 Honens Laureate Luca Buratto performed at United several times

2015 Honens Laureate Luca Buratto performed at United several times

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

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

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

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

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

View or download the Garrison Green community fall program guide.

View or download the Fish Creek community fall program guide.

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

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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

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.


You're Browsing Lifelong Learning

Spend a few minutes watching the panda bears in their new home at the Calgary Zoo and you know why they are a crowd favourite. Cute and playful, people of any age are drawn to them. That’s why it was a special treat for residents to spend time at the panda enclosure this week. In May, when the $14 million Panda Passage opened, the zoo set an all-time attendance record.

Resident Shirley Norris taking pictures of a Giant Panda

Shirley Norris snapping a few memories

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Garrison Green resident Kay Kuwahara.

The four black and white bears moved to Calgary in March after a five-year stay in Toronto.

The two giant pandas, Da Mao, the male and Er Shun, the female are on a 10-year loan from China. They will call Calgary home for their remaining five-year stay. Er Shun gave birth to Jia Panpan, a male and Jia Yueyue, a female in 2015 in Toronto. Visitors have the chance to see all four at the Panda Passage.

“It was very special to see them today,” said Garrison Green resident Ken Logan. Shirley Norris recently moved to Garrison Green from Toronto. “It was great to see them. I saw pandas in China, but I was very impressed with their surroundings here.”

It’s been 30 years since Calgary last hosted pandas. That was during the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Garrison Green residents check out the panda enclosure

Garrison Green residents check out the panda enclosure

“Getting to see the pandas was a treat in its own right but also a great way to connect with the larger Calgary community through shared experience,” said program development coordinator Monica Schmidt. “Outings such as this one are part of the large number of specialty programs that we offer residents. One of the things that sets United apart is that it’s not just myself or other staff deciding what sorts of programs or outings we’ll run in any given month. Instead, we work closely with our residents to get a feel for what they are interested in and what sorts of experiences they want to have. Because we take the time to get to know our residents on a personal level it becomes possible for our programming to be personally meaningful to the people who choose to make their lives here. From political hot topics to conversation cafes and theatrical performances, everything we plan is both based in and and geared towards our residents’ interests. Today it was pandas at the Calgary Zoo, next week it’s an art gallery excursion to Banff. After that? Well, the residents will let us know!”

United creates seasonal program guides for each of its two communities. The guides each contain more than 30 pages of programs that focus on lifelong learning, music, theatre and the arts.

“The program guides give us an opportunity to highlight our ongoing relationship with our community partners,” said Monica. “We have signed partnerships with about a dozen music, theatre and educational organizations. Truly unique to United is that through these partnerships we are able to give residents access to professional performances out in the community and also bring performers directly into our two communities for one-of-a-kind in-house performances and lectures.”

United’s two newest partners are Lunchbox Theatre and the Calgary Jazz Orchestra.

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 Garrison Green, watch this short video.

 


You're Browsing Lifelong Learning

One resident gave money online to what she thought was going to support the families of the Humboldt hockey bus accident. Another has received several phone calls from Revenue Canada demanding payment of taxes. What do these have in common? They are both scams.

While the initial fundraiser for the Humboldt accident was legitimate, other sites have popped up trying to continue to collect funds online. “Tragedies attract the vultures. After the Fort McMurray fire, some 137 fake charities were identified who took donations and disappeared,” said retired Calgary Police detective Brian Holmes.

And the Revenue Canada scam? Brian says Revenue Canada will never phone you about your taxes. They use the mail. Brian and retired businessman Gord Keegan volunteer their time to speak with older adults in Calgary about fraud. They made the first of about a dozen presentations at United’s Garrison Green community as part of United’s commitment to lifelong learning. Similar presentations will be conducted at the Fish Creek community. Check the monthly calendar for dates.

Brian told a large group of residents gathered at Garrison Green this week that fraud is the crime of the century. Brian and Gord are keen to educate older adults, their families and friends because fraud doesn’t discriminate based on age. Brian pointed out that fraud can come from strangers and family members. As well,  anyone can be a target and scams are continuously changing. With each type of fraud, Brian gave practical tips about how to detect whether a call or an email is a scam.

He outlined the most common scams that are directed at older adults.

  • Health care insurance fraud. A person will phone claiming to be from a health clinic and want health care card and other personal information. That information is then sold or used to double bill Alberta Health Services or Blue Cross.
  • Funeral scams. Someone will attend a funeral and demand payment of a debt supposedly owed by the deceased. The family, in a fragile state of mind, might go along with it.
  • Thieves will read obituaries and know that a home is unattended during a funeral service. Have a neighbour watch your home if you are away.
  • Internet fraud. Email and pop-up browser windows can upload viruses to your computer, giving scammers access to personal information. Don’t open emails from people you don’t trust and use good computer protection software to guard against viruses.
  • Revenue Canada phone calls. A person calls in an aggressive tone demanding payment of taxes or saying you have a refund coming. Either way they will want banking information. Revenue Canada doesn’t call. They send information by mail.
  • Telemarketing scams. More and more people are buying online. Be aware of what information you are providing, particularly banking or credit card information.
  • Pigeon Drop. This is an old scam whereby a person calls to say they have access to a large amount of cash, but need your upfront money to help get it. The Nigerian letter scam is similar, suggesting you will receive large amounts of money if you will only put up a few thousand to facilitate the transfer.
  • The Grandparent scam. A person will call saying they are a grandchild in trouble and ask for money for bail, travel expenses and other costs.

“If you do get calls or online donation requests, either hang up or do some research into the charity that may be asking for money. Call a family member to discuss before agreeing to anything,” said Brian. “Sometimes, especially online, it’s very hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys, so spend time to check them out. It could save you a lot of financial pain.”

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.

Contact us here!