Jean and Dean Geddes have lived at United’s Fish Creek community for less than a year. They moved to Fish Creek West because the suite they chose was a perfect fit for their lifestyle.
“I’m a professional painter and find the north light is just perfect for my home studio,” said Jean. The dining room is large enough that they have set up an easel and paint supplies and still have plenty of room for a dining table.
Jean and Dean, who are both in their 80s, had been thinking about a move to an older adult community for several years. They shopped around and settled on Fish Creek West.
“We wanted to be proactive and make our own decisions about where we wanted to spend our senior years, and not be under time pressure to do so should something happen to either of us,” said Jean. “We’ve seen it with friends whose family had to take over in an emergency, and although they did their best, finding lodgings for the old folks, it could very well not be what they would have chosen for themselves. We didn’t want that and we didn’t want our children to take on that responsibility.”
Added Dean. “We didn’t want to continue living in a house we may not be able to look after as the years went by, so we started looking at downsizing three years ago. Our daughter-in-law suggested we look at United’s Fish Creek community. Its location put us closer to our family, and that was important to us.”
For the past 15 years, they had lived in a community just outside the city limits, whose atmosphere was changing from the neighbourly interactions of a brand-new development to one of more social distance and with little community spirit. All this began to impact their social connections. “At United, we have the opportunity to be more social,” said Jean. “We’ve met some fabulous people from all walks of life, and have established a great network of friends here!”
As an artist, Jean gets her inspiration from nature, so she and Dean regularly spend time in the mountains, sometimes for just the day, but often for a week or more, so Jean can search out the scenes that catch her eye. “I set up my easel, paint, take photos, and Dean helps carry everything I need. In fact, his business card says ‘Sherpa’! she laughs. “And,” she adds, ” because we are in wild animal country, Dean watches my back for bears.” Her work is currently displayed at a gallery in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and at the Collector’s Gallery of Art in Inglewood.
Jean is very impressed with the quality of the Fish Creek art studio, where professional artists work with residents of varying experience and talent. “They have very skilled and well-trained artists and teachers here,” said Jean. “Jeff Chan is so skilled at initiating projects for people who have never picked up a brush before. Every month there is something new!” The art studio is currently establishing a woodworking area, and also features a clay wheel and kiln where artist Lulu Suraya teaches residents about working with clay, and Chantel Traub and Maddison Klein bring their multi-disciplined creative skills.
Dean likes United’s philosophy and says it contributed to their decision to move here. “So often you hear about couples who are forced to separate when one develops a health issue. That doesn’t happen here. If one of us eventually needs extra assistance, we can move across the garden to Fish Creek’s North building, but the important things are that we will stay together and that we will stay in the same community with all of our friends.”
As well, Dean liked the fact that United is a Calgary company. Corporate decisions are made locally and quickly, and small requests are handled without delay. Both are pleased with the decision they made and don’t hesitate to have their friends and family over for visits or meals.
“Recently we invited some old friends over and we ate in the main dining room,” said Jean. “They really liked the ambience of the formal dining room, and were impressed with the food and service. There’s lots of variety and they have special menus for the various holidays. The kitchen staff is meticulous about cleanliness and the quality of the food, and the wait staff is friendly and well trained. A big plus for me is that at the end of the afternoon of painting in my studio, I no longer have to prepare a meal if I don’t want to.”
Check out Jean’s work at www.jeangeddesart.com
Fish Creek West is holding an open house Saturday, April 13 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 14720 – 1st. St. S.E., just south of St. Mary’s University. Let us know you’re coming by calling 403-471-3735, or emailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Photos and video by Sherana Productions.