Creating a Life to Love at PARC

in Independent Living

Written by PARC Retirement Living

group exercise class at Oceana PARC

Recently we put out a call asking our residents to tell us what they like most about living at PARC. And we’ve been truly touched by the responses, coming from so many who have carved out lives they truly love here – free to pursue their passions, keep active and stay socially connected in the most enriching ways imaginable.

The positive feedback doesn’t come completely as a surprise, however! From top to bottom, PARC’s programming and amenities are purpose-built to create a culture of wellness, independence and contentment for older adults.

The heart of PARC’s independent lifestyle for seniors

It all starts with our carefully crafted PARC Active Living™ program. We like to describe Active Living as “everything that makes life the very best it can be.” With that kind of slogan, it’s easy to understand how it translates into a life our residents love!

Designed to help residents stay healthy and self-reliant for as long as possible, this multi-faceted program is easy, fun, inspiring and soulful – enriching the body and the mind through four pillars of wellness: physical fitness, social pursuits, emotional health and nutritious meals. Our transportation services and safety measures round out the offering, keeping residents mobile, confident and independent.

Within each PARC community, a dedicated Active Living Manager (ALM) and Active Wellness Coach (AWC) oversee Active Living programming, including all of the residence’s fitness and social activities. To get a sense of what this looks like in practice, you only need to glance at the activities packing each day of the monthly calendar: Travel seminars, cooking demos and live music. Outings to local malls, parks and pools. Line dancing and tango. Knitting and crochet. Ping-pong, bocce ball and Mah-jongg. Cribbage and billiards. Bridge club and ukulele lessons. Walking and strength training. Happy hour and trivia. Bingo. Singalongs. Movie night. The list goes on.

PARC residence working out with a resistance band

I ❤️ PARC because…
“I’m very happy here and I think it’s a wonderful place and very convenient, especially since I’m on foot. The fitness programs are very enjoyable and I make an effort to be there three times a week. I started in the gym two years ago this August. They keep me going. It’s very important that one does this sort of thing to stay strong.”
–Joe Everett, age 90

A healthy body is a happy mind

Jessica De Los Santos has held both the ALM and AWC roles at Oceana PARC. As a certified Osteofit and Carefit instructor, personal trainer and fitness leader who specializes in working with older adults, she knows a thing or two about well-being in aging adults. And during her nearly four years with PARC, she’s seen the powerful effects of PARC’s Active Living program on residents. As the current Oceana PARC AWC, she oversees all wellness programming in the community, from fitness classes and dancing to mindful meditation.

“We have great numbers of people in our fitness programs every single day, and I think this creates this burst of energy that resonates throughout the community,” she says. Plus, because it all happens right where residents live, the barriers to activity are minimal. “It’s in their own communities, so they get their exercise out of the way with ease,” she adds.

Not only does physical activity have an uplifting effect on residents’ mood and mental state, but it reinforces physical well-being and prevents degeneration, too. “Ideally, we’re helping residents to maintain their physical strength, their endurance, and their balance, to help prevent falls and keep them ambulatory for as long as possible,” says De Los Santos. A strong, mobile senior is likely to be a happier individual.

The social connection

Social life and friendships are crucial to happiness and well-being – and it’s clear how deeply this aspect of PARC impacts residents’ lives. Whether she’s running a line-dancing class or a PARC Balance session, De Los Santos sees social bonds and friendships form daily.

“The residents are together from breakfast, and they see one another all the time,” she says. “Having a sense of community, and being a part of something . . . it just lifts the spirits up. When you have community underlying health promotion, the two create a strong sense of wellness, hand in hand.”

Seniors having a fun party at PARC

I ❤️ PARC because…
“I like the idea of being with more people and we do a lot of activities. You can be as busy as you want to be. Sometimes I’ll go to the gym, and sometimes I’ll just go out for a walk or go talk to different people. I love going to the Brain Game program every Thursday, and line dancing on Monday afternoon, and we do a neighbourhood cleanup on Tuesday afternoons. There’s lots to do all the time.”
–Mary Name, age 83

A full life is a life to love

As if the busy fitness and social calendars in-residence weren’t enough, PARC is always finding new ways to enrich and expand the lives of its residents in the community, as well. The company gives back to local organizations through a range of sponsorships – which in turn provides opportunities for enriching arts and culture activities. To name a few: the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Tea & Trumpet series, Oceana PARC Playhouse and Lions Gate Sinfonia.

For De Los Santos, it’s all part of the package that makes PARC such a wonderful place to live. “There are so many amenities available at your fingertips, and there are always people around who are looking to engage, so it’s really a recipe for success,” she says.

What first made her realize that life at PARC is so special? It’s the little moments. “We have a couple of beautiful pianos on site, and some piano players among our residents. They’ll sit down and play, and it’s just so beautiful. And then I’ll see a few other people having a cup of coffee together, and I just smile. Because that’s engagement, right? To feel recognized and connected. I guess that’s my ‘I Heart PARC.’”

Think you’ll heart PARC as much as we do? Contact us at your favourite residence to learn book a tour.