Aspen Heights Retirement Residence caters to a new phase of life

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With the snip of a giant pair of scissors, the ribbon fell open with a flutter and residents and organizers officially celebrated the launch of All Seniors Care Living Centre’s newest facility, Aspen Heights Retirement Residence, in early December.

Located on 17th Avenue S.W. next to Aspen Landing Shopping Centre, it’s the second senior living residence in Calgary for the Ontario-based provider, which operates senior centres in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The company’s sister building, Auburn Heights Retirement Residence, opened in 2014 in the southeast.

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“As proud as we are of the actual physical building, it’s the community that grows as new residents in and develop new friends that we are most proud of,” said Bruce Lillie, national director of marketing for All Seniors Care.

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Residents have been steadily moving into the five-storey, 182-suite facility since the summer. Among the first to seek independent living accommodations in Aspen Heights were John Ferguson, an active 81-year-old widower and Donna Kuzek, a petite energetic woman who lost her husband more than a decade ago.

Ferguson’s son discovered Auburn Heights and suggested it just might be the ticket to escaping the tiresome upkeep of his single-family home.

“I spoke to my son and said, if you ever see a new place close to you opening up, let me know and I’ll be there,” Ferguson said. “I decided I wanted a different lifestyle and because I’m active, I wanted to be free to travel.”

Kuzek moved to Auburn Heights with the encouragement and financial backing of her offspring who wanted some assurance that their remaining parent would be in good hands, well before she needed assistance. She agreed, albeit hesitantly.

“They thought it would be a good place for their ‘aging’ mother,’ ” said Kuzek who eschews any reference to being old.

Ferguson was hoping to meet like-minded active people. Kuzek wanted to find a good friend. The two found exactly what they needed, and more. The third-floor neighbours are now dating.

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“We walk every day; we go to concerts or get out for a meal. I’ve become close to Donna’s family, and she’s become close to mine,” said Ferguson, who sits on the Aspen Heights welcoming committee with Kuzek, helping new residents get settled.

Peter Biel is 87 and came to Auburn Heights in August. In March 2023, he collapsed in his Silver Springs home and after months of recovery, his family decided that assisted living would be the best option. Biel is in a studio suite, subsidized by Alberta Health Services.

“The staff has been fabulous. I’m so happy that Calgary has such great facilities,” he said.

In addition to the range of independent and assisted living arrangements, Aspen Heights offers memory care services.

Suites start at 686 square feet. There are one bedroom, one-bedroom plus den, two bedroom and two-bedroom plus den floor plans with up to 1,213 square feet of space. Luxury apartments boast kitchenettes, stainless steel appliances, in-suite washer and dryers, accessible bathrooms with walk-in showers and an emergency call system. Every resident has a walkout balcony or a terrace, and the south-facing views from the 17th Avenue S.W. location are outstanding.

Building amenities include a spa, fitness room and aquatic centre plus a roster of daily activities developed to challenge, inspire and entertain. There’s a central dining room, a private dining room, internet lounge, games room, hobby and crafts room, cafe, hair salon, laundry facilities, library, theatre and a chapel.

Residents receive 24-hour emergency response, professional on-site management, concierge services and scheduled transportation. Monthly fees start at $5,000 and include utilities and parking.

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