Social Engagement Important in Creating Abundant Life

United Church Homes’ (UCH) Live It! hospitality standards found throughout its communities center around three core pillars: Living Life with Purpose, Creating Social Connections, and Living Safe and Sound.

Each pillar is important and uniquely defined by individual residents. Life with Purpose – from exploring one’s passions to trying new things — comes in many forms.  Safe and Sound means living in a clean environment with nationally recommended infection and sanitation protocols, or having access to quality medical care and health and wellness programs.

The third pillar – Social Connections – is what really brings UCH communities to life.  For some residents at The Polaris Community, social engagement is what makes it such a great place to live. Unique programs and ample gathering spaces give residents lots of choices in terms of interests and opportunities to build meaningful relationships with their neighbors.


Described by one resident as a “dynamo,” The Polaris Community Director of Community Life Francie Hughlock plays an important role. Hughlock has many years of experience planning activities for older adults and embraces UCH’s Live It! pillars.

“For some residents, the day begins with coffee and conversation in the bistro,” Hughlock said.  “From there, the possibilities are endless! We offer a diverse menu of activities – something for everyone!”

Movie matinees, Wii bowling, chair yoga, Silver Sneakers, board and card games, painting classes, flower arranging, book club and the always popular Bingo are among the six to seven activities offered each day.

A weekly morning event, Coffee with Francie, gives residents the opportunity to offer suggestions on ways to enhance abundant living at the community. She seeks to build relationships with residents as getting to know them is key to understanding their individual interests and personal needs. She also visits with residents when they gather for lunch and dinner, and has an open door policy to encourage residents to engage with her.

When the weather is nice, residents like to play corn hole, participate in walking clubs and gather around the fire pit for conversation and laughter.

“We offer a big menu of activities that encourage social engagement,” Hughlock said.  “Some activities are resident-driven, like checking on a neighbor’s cat when they’re gone for a few days or providing support to a fellow resident recuperating after a medical procedure.  Residents contribute to a real spirit of community.

A long menu of options from which residents can pick and choose ensures that there are engaging activities for everyone, and for those who are less social, there’s no pressure to participate.

“Each UCH community is unique,” said Amy Kotterman, director of customer experience. “It’s our job to ask residents what’s important to them, listen, and create opportunities that align with their preferences. For many of our residents, social engagement is perhaps the most important part of abundant living.”