Growing and Thriving As We Age
“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” – Author Henry David Thoreau
As the population ages, and is staying healthy longer into their later years, older adults are looking for lifestyles that support their interests. Health, community and creativity are the new expectations of those in their 70’s and beyond.
While lifestyle is about people, the environment and infrastructure around them must support their lifestyle choices.
“The last thing an older adult wants is to move into a community that reminds them of a hospital,” said Kim O’Brien, CEO. “Anyone can build four walls and a roof, but a great deal of care must be taken to ensure amenities function well and that residents feel at home.”
To support your lifestyle needs, United has used its more than 20 years of experience to look at the kinds of programs and activities residents want, then design communities around them.
United offers a range of suites to suit your lifestyle, from smaller studios, up to large two-bedroom suites, some up to 1,300 sq. ft.
A great deal of thought went into the design of the two United communities – Garrison Green and Fish Creek.
What are residents looking for? Creative activities and amenities are high on the list of importance. United’s activities are designed around the idea that an engaging and interesting lifestyle shouldn’t end when we hit 65. Research into aging shows that learning continues well into our later years. United’s Garrison Green community boasts one resident in her 80’s who earned an English degree, others are learning to play piano and guitar, while others are discovering hidden talents as artists.
Residents have the same freedom they enjoyed at home to do what they want, when they want and to come and go as they please. Communities are designed to ensure the safe movement of those who need the extra care, and United fully supports an integrative model where everyone is included in activities.
In each community there are green spaces, dining spaces for casual, formal or family get-togethers, where executive chef-designed menus offer variety and flexibility in meal times, a theatre, heated underground parking, an art studio and fitness area.
The Fish Creek community boasts a stunning, professionally designed open-air courtyard accessed from the dining room, art gallery and fitness areas. Walking paths, a water feature, orchard, putting green, bocce court, barbeque area, and sculpture gardens are all there for the enjoyment of residents, friends and families.
The building designs include spaces where guest lectures and other gatherings can be held. “We fully support the concept of lifelong learning. A person is never too old to learn something new. That’s why we have established close connections with St. Mary’s University, Mount Royal University, the Esker Foundation, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and many other groups that extend those learning opportunities for the residents,” said Kim Coulter, program development coordinator, Fish Creek. “These partnerships allow for professionals to come to our communities to host lectures and musical events. They provide the opportunity for intergenerational programming and bridge the gap for accessibility.”
Included in the Fish Creek community is an expansive art gallery. This main floor gallery displays art by residents, staff and greater community artists. In addition, the courtyard is highlighted by sculptures created by well-known Canadian artists.
“Art and creative applications are an integral part of our programming,” said Jeff Chan, creative facilitator, Fish Creek. Residents have the capacity to create and express themselves through a variety of creative outlets no matter their age. Just recently we celebrated Hugh Kuwahara’s 104th birthday with a display of artwork created by him an his wife, Kay. Our art galleries have become a place to share resident artwork with the greater community, creating a sense of belonging and empowerment.”
“The whole focus on creativity and lifelong learning really highlights the fact that no matter a person’s age, the creative spark remains as strong as ever,” said Kim O’Brien. “And it’s such a pleasure to watch someone who is new to painting or working with clay, achieve something they never thought possible!”
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.