Getting Older: The positive impact of place

April 24, 2023

A viewing of the film Golden: Ageism Awareness, recently screened at multiple age-friendly communities across Canada, including Cambridge Manor in University District. The film centered around the growing global movement to end biases against an aging population and to remind people about the joys of getting older. A lively discussion followed, with an overarching theme suggesting that seniors often feel invisible, sent to the edges of society to live out their days. During the event we had the opportunity to chat with two residents from Maple to get their thoughts on the screening. 

A lively discussion on the real challenges of ageism was held recently at Cambridge Manor in U/D.

Garth Toombs, an attendee at the screening, recently experienced this bias firsthand. “Interestingly, because my bike was stolen, I went on a hunt for a new one,” said Toombs. “One of my sons accompanied me, and we engaged with a salesman making it abundantly clear that I was the purchaser, and my son was just along with me. The salesman directed all his attention towards my son, turned his back to me at times and 90% of the time made eye contact with my son. My son and I had quite the discussion about this afterwards, because it was such a blatant example of ageism, we both thought.”

Maple’s Residents Garth and Ann Toombs attend the screening of Golden: Ageism Awareness.

Despite our denial, we’re all old people in training, but for the most part ageism seems to be a socially accepted prejudice. Maple resident and self proclaimed age activist Rose Norris thinks that despite the bias, it’s up to everyone to change that perspective. 

She says, “When I am confronted with ageism comments, I respectfully push back by presenting facts and examples to support my argument. A positive attitude is a contributing factor to happiness and it’s energizing as opposed to the fatigue caused by negativity. Creating a positive attitude is a personal responsibility, therefore a skill that can be learned. This is a good time for us to learn and to act.”

Your day-to-day life is an incredibly powerful influence on your positivity; where you call home sets you up for a fulfilling and vibrant life. University District has intentionally designed the community to consider inclusiveness and multi-generational needs, welcoming residents spanning young professionals to empty nesters, homes and spaces for people in all stages of their life.

Norris explains how U/D is a viable and great option for seniors. She says, “I recently participated in a Senior Housing zoom and among the essentials identified: having access to amenities i.e. food, entertainment, transportation, opportunities for physical activity and social interaction, issues of safety and access to Primary Health Care. U/D ticked all the boxes.” 

Norris was asked what she enjoyed most about living in this community and she was enthusiastic in her response. “A modern community in the heart of the city. A multigenerational community that includes all the elements aforementioned. Cambridge Manor next door would offer a comfortable transition if or when my needs changed. All the boxes I ticked have come to full fruition,” said Norris. 

Age in Place: Stay where you are 

U/D has given thought to what it looks like to age and specifically to age-in-place. Shifting needs and priorities are a reality when getting older and U/D wants the transitions that take place to be as mindful and minimally disruptive as possible. 

Maple is a seniors’ independent living facility and is distinct because of its livable and age-friendly design features, including wider doors, larger more accessible bathrooms and a commitment to elevated fit and finish.

At Cambridge Manor, an ‘age-in-place’ philosophy is embraced with assisted, enhanced and memory care offerings which means a resident does not need to move again, even if their care needs change over time. The concept is integral to the people-first approach to seniors’ wellness, practiced by The Brenda Strafford Foundation, which takes care of operations at Cambridge Manor.

Gathering and relaxing common area space at Cambridge Manor in U/D.

“I often hear from persons who made the move into a seniors’ residence, only to find they have to move all over again because the community they chose is not set up to provide the care they need,” said Harold Shand, Senior Leasing Advisor at Cambridge Manor. “Aging in Place is intended to provide for a wide range of care needs, wherein residents do not endure the stress and disruption of having to move to a different community if their care needs change with age.”

It is heartwarming to see the new friendships formed and residents’ quality of life rejuvenated as they actively participate in the range of recreational activities and events offered by our compassionate team,” noted Shand. “Many families express a sense of gratitude and relief at how well things have worked out following their loved one’s transition to life at Cambridge Manor.”

We see you and meet you where you are

University District’s design is focused on walkability, connectivity, and inclusivity. Whether you want to engage with others or you’re looking to access amenities, we can all agree being close to people, places and spaces important to us, improves the quality of our day. As we age it becomes even more important to access those freedoms. Strolling over to Save-On-Foods for groceries, meeting a relative at Monogram coffee, gathering friends for nibbles and cocktails at Canadian Brewhouse, watching the grandchildren run in Northwest Commons Park, all of these seemingly random activities, quietly contribute to the quality of living. 

Says Shand “It is not uncommon to see residents of Cambridge Manor out for a daily stroll through the neighbourhood. Residents and their families love the close proximity to the great shops and services and the walkability of University District’s pedestrian friendly design.”

Even though urban amenities abound, U/D has intentionally designed and created access to green spaces, pathways, parks, biking paths, and ways to be outside, exploring and connecting in nature.

Golden: Ageism Awareness Film Synopsis:   

Golden is a 2021 documentary about the phenomenon of ageism in Canadian society and the activists working to bring it to an end. Among them is Margaret Gillis, who is working to bring about a UN convention on the rights of older persons, the activist and writer Julia Moulden, whose focus is ageism in the workplace, Dr. Samir Sinha from Mt Sinai in Toronto who is working on ageism in the health care system and Laura Tamblyn Watts who is our voice about ageism in media. There are also a handful of first person narratives in the film, anecdotes from people who have experienced ageism in their lives directly. Golden: The End of Ageism explores this new frontier in civil rights.

Watch the film trailer here.

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