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How Canmore Seniors at Origin Benefit From Intergenerational Community

It’s a saying we’ve all heard before: 

Move it or lose it! 

For Origin Life Enrichment / Companion Candace Timmerman, the adage doesn’t just apply to physical wellbeing. In her work with residents at Origin and the community of Canmore, she sees how it is also true “for the brain and heart”. 

Keeping the brain active can be challenging, especially in the isolated months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, loneliness is pervasive, even among younger people, because so many opportunities for connection have been put on hold. As organizations shift to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions, new pathways have emerged for combating loneliness. 

At Origin at Spring Creek, maintaining intergenerational connections has been and continues to be an important part of fostering an active senior lifestyle. Candace believes that bringing younger and older people together is important for both groups of individuals. 

“It keeps us moving forward to be involved in what’s going on in a current sense, whether within a community or with people we see everyday,” she says. 

“Through intergenerational connection, you feel a real sense of value and purpose when you’re contributing to things that are going on, and having that interaction with youth also helps keep us young.” 

Three senior residents and a younger Origin staff member chat in a comfortable living space at Origin at Spring Creek

A recent Washington Post article exploring intergenerational bonding as a way to address pandemic loneliness by Adam Smiley Poswolsky concurs. Poswolsky cites a study from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine that found after six months of tutoring younger students, older adults had “improved brain and cognitive function.” 

The very location of Origin lends itself to immersive intergenerational engagement, as it is centrally located within the Spring Creek neighbourhood. Highly walkable paths and public gathering spaces, including the Mineshaft Tavern at Origin, facilitate opportunities for gathering with people of all ages and backgrounds. 

Beyond the facility itself, there are several in-house and community-based programs at Origin focused on nurturing intergenerational connections.

Intergenerational Community at Origin at Spring Creek

Intergenerational programs facilitate connections between younger and older people. At Origin at Spring Creek, there are a number of programs and activities available in-house and within the community. 

In-house programming: 

  • Neurofit Program for promoting brain health 
  • Monthly ‘Foodies’ meetings, where residents can contribute to the conversation around food and beverage at Origin
  • Weekly tech support meet-ups for assistance with smartphones and other devices.

Community engagement:

  • Pedal 4 Joy: a four-seater bike, sponsored by the Town of Banff, that takes Origin residents out on the town for exhilarating tours of Canmore, including downtown. 
  • Pen Pal Program: Connects Canmore students from Grade Three classrooms and up with residents at Origin for pen pal correspondence. 
Two seniors sit on a two-man bicycle driven by a woman wearing a helmet

Canmore Seniors Get Involved

Candace says that in many cases, families of residents at Origin will initiate their loved ones’ involvement by signing them up for programs such as the Foodies group or Pedal for Joy. Once they’re in, there’s no turning back. 

“Residents really love being involved in these different ways, and being able to get out into the community and see what’s going on, perhaps by getting out in the fresh air on the four-seater bike and coming back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated,” says Candace.

Senior Retirement Living With More Connections

The pandemic has given many people the opportunity to reassess what is important in their lives. Maintaining intergenerational connections, whether that’s through writing letters, meeting at the pool for a swim, or going for a walk together, can help “both older and younger people feel cared for and valued,” as highlighted by the Government of British Columbia, and can “increase self-esteem and feelings of wellbeing.” 

As a senior or the loved one of a senior who is considering a move to a senior living community, factoring in opportunities for intergenerational engagement as part of the criteria is as important as ever. 

Connect with us today for more information about living at Origin at Spring Creek in Canmore, Alberta.

A female Origin at Spring Creek front desk team member standing behind the front desk at Origin at Spring Creek, smiling and welcoming you to the facility.

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