Almonte Country Haven embraces value of creativity in 2016

Pictured above: Some of the artwork Almonte Country Haven LEA Mary O’Reilly has been creating on a whiteboard in the home. These drawings are proving to be excellent resident engagement tools.

Almonte Country Haven truly embraced OMNI Health Care’s core value of creativity in 2016 through a variety of initiatives that engaged people inside and outside of the Lanark County long-term care home.

In February, The OMNIway spoke with life enrichment aide Mary O’Reilly, who had been wowing residents with her artistic abilities. Mary has been regularly drawing cartoon characters and other images on the home’s whiteboard for residents to enjoy.

Each drawing takes Mary about two hours, and she always snaps a photo of her creations, knowing the whiteboard will be wiped clean within days. She works on the drawings on her own time, after her shifts end.

Her drawings have included famous cartoon characters, such as Donald Duck, Snoopy and Bugs Bunny. She has also used photographs of tigers, lions, owls and other animals as models for her creations.

Residents have been enjoying Mary’s drawings, which have become conversation pieces for residents.

“I haven’t done drawings in years, and I am excited to be doing this again,” Mary told The OMNIway. “I didn’t think I would have the time or motivation to sit down and draw again, but this has been a lot of fun.”

Artwork from outside the home has also been engaging residents at Almonte Country Haven. In August, The OMNIway spoke with Angie Acheson of Lanark County Support Services, an agency providing supports to adults with developmental disabilities.

Clients from the agency’s Life Skills program visit Almonte Country Haven regularly to help the environmental services department by folding laundry and completing other tasks.

Many of people in the program are gifted artists who requested a venue to display their artwork. Given Life Skill’s connection with Almonte Country Haven, Angie and administrator Carolyn Della Foresta decided to display artwork in the home.

“The residents have enjoyed it, the staff members have enjoyed it, and this has provided such inclusion for our people because they feel a strong connection and they feel valued and important in our community,” Angie said. “Other people are enjoying the artwork that our clients are so passionate about.”

In October, David Hinks, a columnist with The Millstone, a local newspaper, wrote an article about the garden Almonte Country Haven’s life enrichment department has created at the home.

The garden grows vegetables and herbs, many of which are used in meals prepared for residents by the nutritional care staff.

The journalist praised staff members for engaging residents in the gardening process by encouraging them to help.

“The staff is acutely aware of the rural and small-town background of their residents and that the preponderance of them have been involved in gardening throughout their lives,” he wrote in The Millstone.

“They count gardening as one of their best programs with its focus on getting residents outdoors and in touch with nature; a program that I believe is truly therapeutic.”

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