Are you living your best life? Here’s how they do it at Parkland Retirement Living.


Living her Best Life at “Parkland at the Gardens”

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, Jean Dexter starts her day with Fitness Class…Tuesday and Thursday’s are Balance and Core Training Days. Jean thoroughly enjoys her weekly Discussion Group, once or twice a week she attends Education Classes (currently running sessions on Michelangelo, Polar Explorations and History of the Ancient World), and a few evenings each week, Jean gets comfy in the movie theatre where she catches a show with freshly popped popcorn.

Three and a half years ago, Jean became one of the first residents at Parkland at the Gardens, one of the locations within Parkland Retirement Living…a family-owned, Maritime-based company that has been in business since 1988.

Jean hasn’t looked back. At first, it was difficult to pare down a houseful of memories into this new apartment but with the help of an interior decorator…Jean went through her house and decided what she’d like to bring with her on her new adventure.

Immediately, on walking into Jean’s apartment, I had a feel for this wonderful woman. Her space was filled with memories and keepsakes that included photos of her late husband and family, treasured art pieces and keepsakes from her life as a Pharmacist.

Jean’s apartment is absolutely lovely consisting of a living room, modern kitchen, bedroom/den and large bathroom that includes Jean’s favourite feature…the heated towel rack!

parkland5 parkland6 parkland7 parkland9

Over tea, fresh fruit and muffins, Jean and I chatted about her wonderful, well-lived life. Incredibly proud of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren…I heard a good many stories from this exceptional woman on a variety of subjects including raising children and how she’s currently working on her family tree when she has a break from her busy social life.

Taking a Tour of “Parkland at the Gardens”

After breakfast, we took a tour around starting at the gym where Jean attends her morning exercise class…a spot at the front reserved just for her! Jean showed me the games room and golf simulator where apparently a bit of rousing competition takes place among the men! We visited the movie theatre where Jean enjoys sinking into their comfortable chairs to watch a movie with friends.


On the main floor, Jean showed me both the doctor’s office and the spa where she treats herself monthly! We moved into the main area that boasts a TV Room, Bar and Lounge Area complete with a grand piano where the Chalmer’s Doane Trio and Symphony Nova Scotia perform for the residents on a regular basis. Around the corner, Jean showed me a small library area that leads onto a lovely deck that’s a popular spot in the summer months.

The entire facility is beautifully designed with plenty of spots to enjoy views of the surrounding parks, various places to relax and visit with family or pull up a chair to work on a puzzle.

parkland17parkland12 parkland11   parkland16

Lunch at “Parkland at the Gardens”

Following our tour, we headed to the dining room for a bit of lunch and if I wasn’t enchanted enough by my beautiful surroundings…I certainly was by the time we sat down.

While coffee and tea are readily available and a “quick lunch” of soup and sandwiches can be found in the lounge area every lunchtime, the dining room allows for a bit of a more formal sit-down meal. The menu is absolutely fabulous and changes each Tuesday…with a different menu for Lunch and Supper. There are a great number of choices and staff are available to help with residents’ dietary needs.

The sit-down service is the perfect spot for dining with friends or family, and has the feel of fine dining surrounded by fabulous wait-staff, amazing chefs and a renowned pastry chef to make delicious desserts!

parkland_fparkland3parkland_g  parkland_c parkland_d

During our meal (I chose Fish & Chips with a Homemade Donut for dessert as per Jean’s recommendation), I had a chance to chat with Mitali, one of the the Harmony Wellness Experience coaches at Parkland Retirement Living. The concept of the Harmony program is simple…to promote a healthy mind, body and soul through wellness and recreation. Harmony Wellness Coaches take the time to know every resident and incorporate their personal interests into the weekly activity schedule making sure there is something for everyone. Activities include computer classes, yoga and meditation, fitness classes, recreation, shopping, volunteer activities, education classes, book club, day trips that can be anything from a drive around the city to a visit to Peggy’s Cove, and much, much more. Wellness is a key part of living a healthy and active lifestyle and the folks at Parkland are building a community where folks really and truly are living their best life!

Mitali was a joy to chat with…showing me photos of various activities and telling me heart-warming stories of the folks that she’s come to think of as family.


My day at Parkland at the Gardens was filled with one moment after the next of feeling accepted, wanted and cherished…with 150 residents and an equal number of staff members, it’s a place where everyone knows one another’s names and a true community of friendship has been built around the personalities of the individuals who call this place home.

I walked away feeling joy to see so many people in their “diamond” years, living their very BEST LIFE!


 – – – – –

A HUGE thanks to Jean Dexter for taking time out of her incredibly busy schedule to spend the day with me! Thanks to Elliott for joining Jean and I on our adventure and answering all of my questions…it’s obvious you love your job and the people you work with. Thank you Mitali for joining us for lunch and explaining the programs to us…you are a complete treasure! And to the staff I met throughout the day at Parkland Retirement Living…thanks so much for showing me this remarkable place.

Disclaimer: As a Brand Ambassador for Shannex Parkland Retirement LivingI’m happy to bring your stories of the various programs at Parkland allowing people to live their #BestLive. Follow Parkland Retirement Living on TwitterFacebook and YouTube to keep up-to-date with their latest news. While I am compensated for my posts, as always, opinions are my own.

17 Replies to “Are you living your best life? Here’s how they do it at Parkland Retirement Living.”

    • I agree. They make sure everyone’s needs are accounted for in their schedule…there were three Harmony Coaches at this facility alone!

  1. Love this!! I think it is fabulous they are sharing the space and people with you. It is so important that our mothers, fathers and grandparents know what options they have. I have worked with seniors as a support worker in the past and it makes a huge difference when they find the right place for them.
    This was beautiful to read, I know this is where I would want my parents to enjoy their diamond years.
    I also appreciate the tidbit about Jean having an interior decorator help her decide what she wanted to keep. That is the most daunting task for people downsizing. Thanks for sharing!

    • Aren’t they doing a great thing! I’m hoping to remind people, through these posts, to show a little compassion, kindness and patience when dealing with our seniors. Jean talked about how all of the kids in the neighbourhood and at the local school are so wonderful when she goes out for a walk. It was nice to hear!

    • It was a real treat! You’d love it. They do a “talk-show” once a month and interview a resident so everyone can learn all about them. It’s really fascinating what you learn about people.

  2. Can I come next time? Looks amazing Colleen. Spending time with old souls always refreshes me. I bet you heard a lot of great stories. Thanks for sharing this.

    • She was a charmer. Has lived a great life and full of pride for her children! It was nice to hear her stories…made me miss my own grandmothers.

      • She most definitely is wonderful!
        I know because I am one of the lucky four who call her Mom. 🙂

        • You’re mom is ABSOLUTELY LOVELY!!! What a wonderful day I spent with her. A true inspiration.