By Mark Stachiew ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
There were many reasons why Ted and Marilyn Fenwick chose to move into the VIVA Barrhaven Retirement Community, but the most important of all was where it was located.
“It’s like buying a house,” said Ted. “It’s location, location, location. That’s been important to us and we’re very happy that the location has turned out to be very suitable for us.”
He and his wife had lived in nearby Manotick for 24 years and had grown tired with the constant maintenance their home required. They wanted to move to a location that was closer to where their daughter lived.
“We wanted to move before our health got bad and weren’t able to have any say in it,” said Ted. “It was a difficult decision, but lots of people have to go through this. The people that we meet here had exactly the same situation.”
“Because folks are spending so much time outside of their suites and spending so much time with their neighbours and doing things they love to do, they find very quickly that they don’t miss having the older, larger homes that require a lot of maintenance and upkeep,” said Chelsea Ramsay, Community Relations Manager at VIVA Barrhaven Retirement Community.
VIVA Retirement Communities is Canadian owned and operated, and manages several locations across the country with Barrhaven being the newest. Reasons that Barrhaven was chosen for a VIVA Retirement Community include its central location in one of Ottawa’s fastest-growing communities, ready access to shopping and services along nearby Strandherd Drive, and its proximity to the highway, train station and airport. It’s also easily accessible from neighbouring communities like Stittsville, Manotick and Kanata.
VIVA Barrhaven Retirement Community has 145 suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows, that range in size from studios to two-bedroom apartments. The community offers an all-inclusive lifestyle with three daily meals. There is weekly housekeeping, a full activity calendar, a shuttle bus to encourage members to get out and around town, a gym, a bistro-style café, big-screen movie theatre, saltwater pool and even a lifelike golf simulator, which is the first one of its kind at any retirement community anywhere in Canada.
“I was able to use the golf simulator all winter and prove to myself I could still swing a golf club,” said Ted.
Just one month after moving into VIVA Barrhaven, Ted suffered a mini-stroke and thought his golf-playing days were over. His wife, Marilyn, said the golf simulator was a godsend.
“When he had his stroke he was extremely concerned that he was not going to be able to play golf this summer. Having the golf simulator, that he could use without a lot of people around, helped him find out that he could swing a club again,” she said. “When he got back on the golf course this spring he knew that he was all right.”
Marilyn likes to take advantage of the community’s saltwater pool and other exercise facilities. “It’s great that we have some sort of exercise every day,” she said.
Both Ted and Marilyn say that when people come to visit them at VIVA Barrhaven they are immediately thrilled with how bright and spacious it is.
“Everybody that we’ve brought has been very impressed,” said Ted. “I think some of them are quite envious.”
“They’re sort of stunned,” added Marilyn, smiling.
The other thing that impresses residents and visitors alike is the quality of the food served at VIVA Barrhaven.
“Meals are one of the big deals here,” said Ted. “We’ve been perfectly surprised by the meals. I’ve heard some people talk about other places and have not been impressed at all. I know it’s hard to satisfy a large group of people, but they’ve done a very good job of providing a variety of meals for us. I’ve put on weight since I’ve been here. I’ve got to go back on the golf course to get it off!”
Mealtime is also one of the social highlights of life at VIVA Barrhaven. There are no seating rules and people can sit wherever they want with whomever they want, so you never know who you are going to meet at any given meal, explained Ted.
“Everybody we meet here is as happy as we are,” he said. “Everybody gets along. There are no problems. You come into the dining room. You find someone to sit with and everybody’s very congenial. We’ve been very, very pleased with that.”
“We’ve made lots of new friends,” added Marilyn.
For more information visit https://www.vivalife.ca/communities/ottawa/barrhaven or call 613-823-0220.
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