Phase I of the project includes Independent Seniors Affordable Housing Rental Units that were introduced in November 2012. The first of three phases, the campus takes a holistic and community centred approach to caring for our senior Jamati members, offering programming and spaces that provide the appropriate physical, medical, social, emotional and spiritual care.
But what does this really mean? For the fifty residents between the ages of 55 - 95, living in the forty Independent Seniors Rental units, it means that they have found a family in one another. As I sit at a round table with them in their social space, and listen to their stories of how they came to form their own community, they each echo one another’s sentiments: that what they love most about living at Generations is that they are there for each other.
Amir, who takes special requests from his neighbours before going grocery shopping, reflects, “This is my family. My wife passed away. If something happens, I know I can rely on them, and I hope they feel that they can rely on me too.”
Parin enjoys cooking for many of the other residents, including Gulbanu, a 93-year-old, whom she knew from their life in Tanzania. She tells me that Gulbanu used to take care of her when she was a younger woman, and now she feels blessed that she has an opportunity to reciprocate.
The group comes together for fitness sessions, computer classes, social events, prayers and more. “In the evening, we sit down, we have chai, we chat and we socialize,” says Anish, the volunteer program coordinator for phase I. As part of the inter-generational approach to programming, Bait ul-Ilm students visit the residents regularly on weekends. “They said prayers with us, sang for us and asked us questions about our life story,” says Nargis, who has lived at Generations for just over a year.
The seniors are eager for the upcoming opening of Phase II of the Generations campus which will consist of 120 designated supportive living and long-term care units, including 31 units for residents with dementia. This next phase has been designed with spaces so that our seniors can flourish in all aspects of life - a theatre, library and arts/crafts area, exercise room, bistro, community dining, gardens and green spaces, and more.
Residents from both Phases I and II will have opportunities to participate in free activities including painting and other art projects, movies, table tennis, musical therapy, as well as gardening. Access will be available for events and programs in the multi-purpose hall, adult day-stay wellness programs, and engaging in activities with children from the on-site Early Childhood Development Centre. With so many programs taking place, the vision is for Generations to become a hub for inter-generational activities that are supported through a strong volunteer engagement program. A well-equipped volunteer lounge will provide our volunteers a space to connect and learn together.
Before leaving, Nizar Ali, Parin’s husband, invites me to his home, and we have dinner together, cooked by Parin. He tells me to come back soon and that their door is always open.
I cannot wait to return to see this incredible group of people again. You also can join the Generations community as a resident, volunteer or employee. For more information on how to get involved, please email us or leave a message at +1 (403) 215-6200 ext 7704.