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August 01, 2010

The golden years

Quiet, maintenance-free convenience fits senior

Jessica Patterson

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The golden years seem all the more golden when it’s surrounded by silence, and it is a treasure that Helen Woods holds dear in her age-restricted condominium in Okotoks.

For Helen, the Calvanna Village development combines the quiet that can only be found in the country with the convenience and social structure an active adult lifestyle needs. Located smack dab in the middle of commercial Okotoks — just across from a Safeway, a Tim Hortons, banks and shopping — it still feels a world away in its own cocoon of solitude and within walking distance to the Sheep River and its pathways.

“This particular condo is a different type of condo,” Helen says. “It’s a certain style of living because it’s a Plus-50 (meaning it’s only for residents 50-years-old and over). It’s very quiet, there are no children, there are no pets, so there are no barking dogs,” Helen says.

She even goes to add that her more than 1,000 square-feet, two-bedroom unit is the best home she has lived in or owned in nearly seven decades that saw her move through 11 houses in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. The best thing about it she says is that it is maintenance-free.

“It gets so that you have to rely on your kids when you need something done,” she says. “I’m on my own, and I felt that a condo would be easier for me.”

She chose to stay in Okotoks, where she has resided in the past 14 years, because her children and grandchildren live in town. She was drawn to the maintenance-free aspect of condo living and Calvanna Village suited all her needs.

With the condo, “I love not having the responsibility of the outdoor things. I have underground parking. My car is always warm and it’s safe.”

The lively senior has a busy life that would slow down some of the younger set. She does volunteer work for her church, has two part-time jobs, loves to travel and is a devoted grandma.
“I’m supposed to be retired,” she laughs. “But, I want to keep busy.”

“Keeping a job affords me to be able to do things that I would not normally be able to do. I am going to Turkey and Greece (on vacation) in October. So, I will work as long as I can.”

And with her busy life, no wonder Helen choose quiet Calvanna to come home to each day. It fits.  She’s close to her family, close to her work places. And her condo is easier to clean than a bungalow or a two-storey house, primarily because there are no stairs to contend with. It’s also clearly designed with seniors in mind, featuring wide hallways and doorframes, and one of the two full baths has a walk-in shower.

Helen says she still walks the stairs from the parkade every day for exercise, “but there will come a time when you can’t do stairs,” she says. For that, there is a wide elevator in the building.

She designed her unit to reflect a little bit of modern country mixed with a little bit of contemporary style. It is comfortably furnished with contemporary oak cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, tile flooring at the entrance and in the kitchen. The walls are painted a neutral beige, but shades of cool blue, vibrant green and splashes of red accent the living area and bedrooms.

In the bedroom, a blue checked quilt lies folded at the end of a queen-size bed, and simple framed photos of vibrant flowers give the room a cheery feel. The second bedroom is turned from a small office into bed space for the granddaughters when they come to visit.

But it is the ease of living convenience that makes her love life in Calvanna Village. “When the time comes that I can’t drive a car, I’m close to everything,” Wood says, including medical offices, restaurants, a grocery store, and an RCMP station less than a block away.

Calvanna offers exclusive mature living for the 50-plus set that is convenient, beautifully designed and secure. One and two-bedroom units have in-floor heating, private decks with barbeque hook-ups, Venetian blinds and multiple appliances. Residents have an underground heated parkade. The community of residents at Calvanna are active and run dinners, dances and other social events.

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