“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 Gail Hinchliffe, former president. “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.
Gail and her design team ensured that a great deal of thought went into the design of the two United communities – Garrison Green and Fish Creek, and will continue to refine their experiences when designing future communities.
And 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 are big fans of 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 Glenbow Museum, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and many other groups that extend those learning opportunities for the residents,” said Gail. “These connections allow residents to take courses, attend lectures and musical events while giving us space to invite experts to come to our communities to host discussions and presentations.”
Included in the newly opened Fish Creek community is a one-of-a-kind art gallery. The main floor gallery displays art by residents, staff and outside community artists. And in the courtyard, sculptures by well-known Alberta artists dot the scenery.
“Some might say that devoting floor space to an art gallery in a community like this is not efficient use of space,” said Gail. “But for us, art and other creative pursuits are paramount. Our focus is on stimulating the mind, to play on a person’s urge to be creative. A gallery helps that focus, and builds self-esteem. There’s nothing like seeing your latest work on display!”
Encouraging a carefree lifestyle for residents is also why United created its new Life Lease program and expanded its rental program – to remove financial concerns and to give residents peace of mind.
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