United’s Programming Is More Than You Might Expect
“People often have a preconceived idea about what older adults can do or what they might be interested in. We shatter that myth,” said Kim Coulter, community outreach coordinator, United Active Living.
The programs, outings and activities at United’s two communities are not about “keeping busy”. There is no bingo or shuffleboard. Instead, the programs are varied, engaging and are geared toward the understanding that older adults are keen to continue learning and experiencing new things.
“All of our programs are based on what the residents tell us they want,” said Kim. “Residents are interested in politics, lectures, music and the arts, so we develop programs that are engaging and interesting.”
United has partnered with some of the best arts and culture organizations in Calgary to provide a broad array of music, theatre and opera performances. These partnerships not only open doors to concerts and lectures outside of the Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities, but bring artists, sometimes world-renowned, into the communities for special concerts and workshops and lectures from visiting professors.
The current Garrison Green program guide is available here.
Visits to art galleries, creative writing workshops, art studios staffed by professional artists, concerts at the Mount Royal Conservatory. The programming has raised the bar and created a creative atmosphere that is far more than you might expect in an older adult community.
“Each program is special with a focus on promoting a higher quality of life,” said Nerissa Shan, program development coordinator.
Many residents had memberships to Calgary Philharmonic or Calgary Opera but mobility issues prevented them from attending as often as they would have liked, so United has developed programs that reconnect them with those performances. Often, United goes a step further and brings artists into the communities, and invites residents’ families to join in.
“Such high quality programming give residents an opportunity explore different kinds of music,” said Jill LaForty, United’s music director. “Some have never gone to the opera or heard a string quartet. We have unique partnership agreements that put music and the arts front and centre at United.”
Jill notes that residents are much more open and adventurous than she expected. “The other day we went to hear South American 20th century classical music, which is a far cry from Beethoven. Our residents were very open to the new and sometimes challenging sounds and shared their impressions spent time afterwards. It was extraordinary.”
“Residents are continuing to enjoy life,” said Kim. “They don’t stop because they are older. If anything, they are expanding their involvement, taking the opportunity to learn about something new and sharing those experiences with others in the community. It’s very inspirational.”
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!