The Changing Expectations of Older Adults
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis, novelist and poet.
Older Canadians are now the fastest growing segment of our population with their numbers are expected to double over the next two decades so that by then, one in four Canadians will be older than 65. Are we prepared for this from a social perspective? Should we look at this demographic shift as a problem that needs to be solved or an opportunity to change the way we traditionally look at our older population? What will this older population expect from older adult communities, and can those expectations be met? How does United’s philosophy meet those expectations? Think about this:
- Canada has 36 million people. About 5 million are over 65.
- As of last year, there were more people over 65, than under 15.
- By 2050, 1 in 4 in this age group will be over 80.
“The commonly held conception in our society of what a so-called ‘seniors’ residence’ looks like needs to change,” said Gail Hinchliffe, president, United Active Living. “Many people who are considering a move to an older adult community balk at making a decision because of these outdated ideas. We need to change the conversation because today’s older adults are expecting and deserving more. They want high quality food, pleasant surroundings, stimulating programs and activities that contribute to a thriving, full life.”
United Active Living has two communities in Calgary, each offering completely independent living arrangements, plus assisted living and memory care support. Each community listens to residents, and provides rich and varied arts programs and activities based on their feedback. Activities are supported by community partnerships that not only cater to residents’ interests, but bring musicians, conductors, singers and educators into the communities to perform and discuss world events.
“Growing older shouldn’t be a period of decline, but should be a period of creativity and learning,” said Gail. “Creativity isn’t limited by age. Our residents are discovering hidden artistic talents that allow them to grow and thrive well into their 90’s and beyond. This is what older Canadians are expecting and what communities such as United can provide.”
As an expert in building and operating older adult communities, Gail is a frequent visitor to the NewsTalk 770 studios. You can listen to previous radio discussions on this and other topics by going to our blog’s audio archives here.
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