Residents add special touch to United’s programming
A unique aspect of the programming at United Active Living’s two communities is the wide variety of life experiences and interests the residents can tap into to expand the programs offered.
“It’s really important to us that we get to know the residents,” said Kim Coulter, Fish Creek program development & creative expressions manager. “Every one of them has contributed a wealth of experience to the world that, if they want, they can share with the other residents. For instance, we are working with a couple of residents about creating future programs. Our experience is that when residents share their expertise, it really deepens our community atmosphere, engages others in discussions, and triggers friendships with other like-minded residents. Their involvement really gives the programming an extra special touch.”
Resident Betty Giles moved into United’s Fish Creek community a year ago. She liked the atmosphere and the layout, especially the courtyard. “Living here has given me a whole, extended family. There’s always something interesting going on and I like engaging with others and exchanging ideas.”
Betty puts the “active” in United Active Living. “I’m a doer. It’s encouraging to me to see other residents getting involved in programs, so when I think of something interesting that others might like, I make the suggestion, like an addition to film night or an arts program.”
For example, when Betty thought the foyer could use a splash of additional colour, she offered to create floral arrangements, and when she created unique pieces of art using glitter, crushed glass and paint, other residents wanted to know how she did it, so she will be teaching the process in the art studio.
“It’s interesting to see residents learning from each other,” said Kim. “We bring experts in from institutions such as Mt. Royal and St. Mary’s Universities and artistic organizations, but by expanding our programming to include resident experts, the feeling of community is greatly enriched.”
“I’ve always been involved in the arts, and making abstract art is interesting. It’s fun to teach others. I like helping people and it’s natural for me to be creative, so combining the two is rewarding for me,” said Betty.
“Our residents have lived long lives and have gained a wealth of experience,” said Kim. “It’s very important to us to learn about their lives and, by extension, encourage them to share those experiences with their neighbours and friends. It’s one of the reasons why United’s programming is so vibrant.”
Photos by Betty Giles. Videos by Sherana Productions.
Speak 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.