When Ross and Ellenore Campbell moved into their suite at United’s Fish Creek West, they were taken immediately by the depth of the available activities, especially in the areas of music and art.
“Ross has really taken to the art studio,” said Ellenore. “He practically lives there!” Before they moved, Ross had an artistic flair for wood carving and painting. Today, he has branched out to acrylic painting, sketching, ceramics and even sumi-e, a 2,000 year old form of black ink painting. In what other older adult community can you find that?
“I tried ceramics for the first time and I had a feel for it right away,” said Ross. “Our granddaughter asked me to make a robin for her. It was quite the challenge. The kiln won’t take a solid piece of clay like that so I had to cut it in half, hollow it out, put it back together, then fire it. The creative facilitators who are all professional artists in the studio are very helpful and encouraging when it comes to technique, so with their help I think it turned quite well.”
Ellenore’s interests lay more towards music and knitting. “When I’m sitting, I’m knitting,” she quips. She has participated in many of the entertainment activities, which include performances at United by Calgary Opera, Calgary Philharmonic, Calgary Civic Symphony and many others, which United has sought out as artistic and creative partners. The residents also attend many performances outside of the community.
“I would say we were in a rut before coming here,” said Ellenore. “We had a place in the foothills that we we would spend summers at. We didn’t care to drive at night so we found that we no longer went to concerts and plays. We were very pleased that most are available here. It’s nice to have them come to us.” To get to and from outside performances and events, the United van takes residents to the venues and picks them up again afterwards.
Each month United creates a calendar of events that outlines ongoing activities such as art and exercise classes, and clearly points out the special programs. “We knew there were activities, but looking at the calendar – it’s great that there are so many things to do.”
This week, the art studio hosted a paint pour where various colours of paint are poured over a wooden block, flowing down onto a piece of black-painted plywood. When the upright block is removed, the plywood is tilted to merge the paints into a kaleidoscope of colour. “It was quite interesting and fun,” said Ross. “The results are quite different than doing a regular painting. It’s a lot like modern art!”
Ellenore and Ross are very supportive of the programs, activities and events held at Fish Creek. She recalls that one day she was riding in the elevator with a couple who were taking a tour of the community. She was asked what she thought of the programming. “Well, today it’s folk music and tomorrow it’s opera. That really peaked their interest. It’s great that there is so much available.” Ross echoed that sentiment. “I’ve been quite impressed with the variety of programs and activities. They have opened up new thoughts around activities we would like to do.”
“Before we moved here we weren’t putting ourselves out to do things in the city. Coming here, it’s all at our doorstep,” said Ellenore.
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To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.