Ellen Edmonston, relaxing in the library at The Glenshiel, is a fast reader who enjoys a wide variety of topics. She also very much appreciates the social aspects of living at this downtown Victoria independent living residence.

Ellen Edmonston, relaxing in the library at The Glenshiel, is a fast reader who enjoys a wide variety of topics. She also very much appreciates the social aspects of living at this downtown Victoria independent living residence.

Independence with meals: retirement living at its finest

The Glenshiel’s central location great for activities, services on site add to the appeal

When you’re as active as Ellen Edmonston, living in a central location at The Glenshiel has its advantages. A good example came when she walked over to the Parkside Hotel and Spa to check out the Gingerbread Showcase.

“It was just the right distance for us to get a walk in and enjoy some fresh air,” she says. She’s also looking forward to accompanying fellow residents to the upcoming Naden Band concert at the Royal Theatre, a couple more blocks up the road.

Inside or out, plenty to keep one busy

Ellen is an active Scrabble player in The Glenshiel’s Thistle Lounge and as an avid reader, she takes great interest in new additions to the library off the lounge.

Outside she sings in choirs with The Entertainers at the nearby James Bay New Horizons Seniors Activity Centre, and Unity Church, where she also serves as a prayer chaplain. Her weekly agenda, when her body allows, also includes exercise classes and discussions about spiritual and other issues.

“I’m still living, exploring and growing. Just because I’ve passed my 80th birthday, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped learning,” she says. Ellen’s Friday colouring group, as well, teaches her about her own and others’ creativity: “Some people are well-trained and they are real artists. I’m just a colourer, myself.”

Meal service, history were big incentives

Ellen moved to Victoria about seven years ago and into The Glenshiel in August, joining her son, Ken, in the 60-resident building. “I knew I needed to stop living alone and I needed to eat a better diet. Snacking is fatal in terms of keeping well,” she says. “Not only are the meals very good here – that was a big incentive for me – I loved the idea of living in a 100-year-old building.”

Noting that The Glenshiel operated as a hotel in its earlier days, Ellen jokes that famed artist Emily Carr took up residence in the James Bay Inn for a time. “I feel like I’m doing my own Emily Carr here!”

People make The Glenshiel what it is

Going on group outings such as concerts and a Christmas lights carriage tour ride in Sidney help fulfill her social needs, but Ellen notes the welcoming atmosphere at The Glenshiel helps make daily life enjoyable.

“People make this place,” she says. “Not only that, we have incredible staff and they make you feel cared for and part of a family.”

Supports work well for single people

To anyone contemplating moving into a retirement complex, Ellen emphatically reminds them that “this is not jail. A retirement home can be independent, yet community living.”

If you’d like to find out more about their living options, visit theglenshiel.bc.ca, call 250-383-4164 or send an email to theglenshiel@shaw.ca.