Expert offers tips on helping people with dementia enjoy meals

‘Be patient are the key words here’

It can be challenging to encourage people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to eat full meals, but Bob DeMarco, an expert on Alzheimer’s disease and founder of the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, has provided some ideas to help caregivers. Read more

Developing a Canadian dementia strategy: the time is now

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Action plan needed to meet the needs of a growing number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, says Alzheimer Society CEO

With the number of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia expected to double over the next 15 years, it is crucial Canada develop a national strategy to better understand, prevent and manage these neurodegenerative conditions, says Alzheimer Society of Canada CEO Mimi Lowi-Young, in an interview with The OMNIway. Read more

Music ‘awakening’ Streamway Villa residents

A scene from Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory. Photo credit: Michael Rossato-Bennett, 2012

A scene from Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory. Photo credit: Michael Rossato-Bennett, 2012

Home’s involvement with Music and Memory program having a profound impact

KINGSTON, Ont. – Music is making an unprecedented impact on residents living with cognitive impairment at Streamway Villa. Read more

Program preparing students to work with seniors

A student from the Working with Seniors program at Toronto’s Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences is seen here wearing a suit that simulates the mobility and vision challenges many seniors face.

A student from the Working with Seniors program at Toronto’s Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences is seen here wearing a suit that simulates the mobility and vision challenges many seniors face.

Working with Seniors helps students better understand challenges in geriatric population

Baycrest Health Sciences and Toronto’s Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences have partnered to provide students enrolled in Michener’s health-care programs with the skills to meet the unique challenges of geriatric care. Read more

Streamway quiche a fan favourite with residents

Dietary staff member Marsha Dorsey discusses the recipe’s strong points

Quiche has proven to be a favourite with residents at Streamway Villa, and the home’s roasted red pepper, asparagus and feta quiche is always a winner with the home’s 59 residents, says Marsha Dorsey.

Dorsey, a staff member in the Cobourg long-term care home’s nutritional care department, says the quiche, which is made from eggs, milk, red pepper, asparagus and feta cheese baked in a savoury pie crust, “goes over really well here.”

“It’s delicious,” she says.

While dietary staff members are required to meet nutritional standards outlined by OMNI Health Care and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, they have a lot of flexibility on meal presentation.

And this is an area Dorsey and her colleagues focus on, due to residents wanting their meals to look as good as they taste.

The roasted red pepper, asparagus and feta quiche is garnished with slices of roasted red pepper and diced red onion, making for a colourful presentation.

Dorsey has been working at the Cobourg long-term care home for about a year and a half. Most of her career has been spent working in the kitchens of long-term care homes.

“I started working in long-term care homes in 1999, when I was 17,” she says. “I started my co-op placement in high school through long-term care homes, and I really found that it gave me a sense of giving back to the community — to take care of the people who have spent their lives taking care of us.”

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food services, wants to show the world just what “nursing-home food” really is and how chefs and cooks working in the long-term care sector can produce top-quality dishes as good as anyone.

Using the hashtag #NursingHomeFood on social-media networks Twitter and Facebook, Weber and The OMNIway are collaborating on a story series to showcase some of the top-notch food being prepared at OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes.

Do you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway? If so, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have any feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.com.

Garden Terrace cook has scored a winner with unique take on Salisbury steak

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Residents are loving Isioma Okolie’s new version of an old classic

Friday, July 4, 2014 — Deron Hamel

When most people think of Salisbury steak, a plain ground-beef patty topped with gravy likely comes to mind. But if you think you’ll find something like this on Garden Terrace’s dinner menu, think again.

Isioma Okolie, the Kanata long-term care home’s head cook, has used his culinary ingenuity to create a version of this old-time favourite that resembles a dish found in a high-end restaurant. His version of Salisbury steak is a serving of quality ground beef topped with a few roasted potatoes and steamed cauliflower resting in au jus.

His idea behind the dish is simple: present residents with the type of food they enjoy and present it in a way that maximizes appearance. Most long-term care home residents, he notes, have a different palate than younger generations. Chinese food or curries are not what they’re used to; meat-and-potatoes fare is usually their preference.

But a meat-and-potatoes dish doesn’t have to mean boring, as Okolie is proving. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provides homes with dietary criteria for residents. Nutritional care managers will create menus, but those working in the kitchens are encouraged to use their creativity to try to make the food taste its best, Okolie notes.

He says presentation is of utmost importance when serving food to long-term care residents. Not only does it need to look appetizing, the portion size needs to be right.

“One thing the residents tell me is that they get very intimidated by seeing large portions of food, but if you make it a more reasonably sized portion people know they can finish it and enjoy it,” he says. “I try to make it the best of both worlds; I follow the guidelines but also make the food so they can enjoy it.”

Okolie’s version of Salisbury steak has been a favourite with residents; a bit of a surprise, he says, because many residents aren’t fans of ground beef. What’s made a difference is the way the food is presented, he adds.

“You eat with your eyes first.”

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Baycrest develops new online memory test

Results can be used as conversation starters with physicians

Friday, June 20, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto have developed a free online brain test designed to help people aged 50 to 79 decide if they need to speak with a doctor about memory changes.

The 20-minute test mimics a game and tests memory and attention, two cognitive functions that are affected by aging and conditions causing cognitive impairment.

At the end of the test, people receive a score to determine cognitive health. While results from the test should not be perceived as a diagnosis, they can be used to start discussions with doctors about cognitive health.

About two to three per cent of people score below average for their age and education. These individuals are asked to retest themselves in a week. People who still score below average are provided with a report they can bring to their doctor about their cognitive health.

Dr. Angela Troyer is one of the researchers that developed the test. Troyer, director of neuropsychology and cognitive health at Baycrest, explains the goals behind the project.

“Our aim with the brain health test is to reassure the worried-well and nudge that small percentage of people who do have serious memory issues to discuss their concerns with a doctor,” she says in a statement.

She adds that the test results are not a diagnosis, but rather a starting point for conversations with physicians about necessary next steps and options.

“Getting checked early is the best way to rule out other health problems that could be causing your cognitive issues,” Troyer says.

“If it turns out that you do have a significant problem with your memory, then early diagnosis along with science-based education and interventions will help you maintain your cognitive health and independence for as long as possible, and enable you and your family to plan for the care and support you’ll need in future.”

The test was designed by clinical neuropsychologists and cognition experts at Baycrest and its Rotman Research Institute. Three hundred men and women aged 50 to 79 were studied. The test was co-developed by Cogniciti Inc., a brain-health solutions company owned by Baycrest.

Do you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway? If so, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have any feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Home’s salmon dish exemplifies LTC kitchens’ modern face

Garden Terrace culinary creation shows the high quality residents expect

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Garden Terrace nutritional care manager Dawn Cameron points to a salmon dish recently served to residents for dinner as an example of the fine cuisine prepared in the kitchen at the Ottawa-area long-term care home.

Cook Isioma Okolie plated the salmon with a Dijon mustard and orange glaze and an orange slice for garnish. The result was a dish that could have been served in a high-end restaurant.

Garden Terrace cook Isioma Okolie’s Dijon mustard-orange glazed salmon

Garden Terrace cook Isioma Okolie’s Dijon mustard-orange glazed salmon

“He layers all his food, so it’s not side-by-side; it’s got height,” Cameron explains, adding residents liked the presentation and enjoyed the meal. “It was really colourful.”

It’s this type of high-quality, from-scratch cooking that’s the modern face of long-term-care home cooking, she adds.

Cameron underscores the importance of food to people living in a long-term care home. For many residents, food is the one thing in their lives they have full control over — and they expect their dining experiences to be high quality.

“If the food isn’t appetizing, they’re not going to eat, which leads to other health problems,” Cameron explains. “So, it’s important to give the residents the food they want to eat while following the standards we need to follow and making the food appetizing for them.”

While long-term care chefs and cooks need to follow ministry standards when preparing meals, there are still opportunities for creativity, says Cameron, who began her career in hotel and restaurant management. She chose a career in long-term care because she enjoys working with seniors.

On a recent episode of Top Chef Canada, judges disparagingly remarked to two contestants who were being eliminated from the cooking reality show that their culinary creations resembled “nursing-home food.”

Chris Weber, OMNI Health Care’s operations manager of nutrition and food services, wants to show the world just what “nursing-home food” really is and how chefs and cooks working in the long-term care sector can produce top-quality dishes as good as anyone.

Using the hashtag #NursingHomeFood on social-media networks Twitter and Facebook, Weber and The OMNIway are collaborating in the coming weeks to showcase some of the top-notch food being prepared at OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes.

Cameron says she would like food experts to look at the kinds of foods being served outside the restaurant industry so they can see that there high standards throughout the food-service industry.

“I think they need to broaden their horizons to see what is going on in our field,” she says.

Do you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway? If so, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have any feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Brighton home thanks community for hearty hospitality

Seniors receive royal treatment from local residents, employees

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 — Natalie Hamilton

From the Bingo players who keep an eye on residents’ cards to the restaurant servers who deliver a buffet-destined dessert directly to their table, the men and women of Maplewood are pampered “like royalty” by the long-term care home’s surrounding communities.

The hospitality can’t be beat, says Maplewood life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Rachel Corkery.

Corkery is expressing her gratitude for the reception residents and staff receive from the small towns nearby the 49-bed long-term care home in Brighton.

Maplewood just finished up its two-week turn with one of the OMNI vans.

“I started thinking about all of the trips and all of the experiences we’ve had with the OMNI van and how well we’re treated…anywhere we go in the local community,” Corkery tells The OMNIway. “I do my best to bring attention to the great community we are part of and myself and the residents always show our appreciation, but sometimes it just needs to go farther than that. It really needs to be said.”

For example, Corkery is giving a big shout-out to the staff at a restaurant in a small community about 15 minutes east of the home.

“At what is now our favorite restaurant, Pizza Hut  in Trenton, once again, we received the royal treatment. The staff are so personable and they now recognize us when we pull up,” Corkery says.

“We never feel rushed and it has now become tradition for them to bring us a platter of the cinnamon bun dessert directly to our table. Every time we go, we get treated more and more like royalty.”

It’s not one particular waitress alone, the entire team of servers makes the group feel special, she notes.

Maplewood also enjoyed a warm reception recently from the local Lions Club. Volunteers helped and catered to residents, Corkery says, adding, “when we left at intermission, the Bingo caller made a special announcement thanking us for coming out and inviting us back again.”

Fellow club patrons also kept track of residents’ Bingo cards after they left and requested the phone number of the long-term care home. “Though no one won, we did get a call from someone to let us know so that we weren’t left guessing,” the LEC notes.

“I shouldn’t be surprised when we are treated like this. When I first started at Maplewood, while on an outing to Presqu’ile Provincial Park, we were approached by another park guest and given $20 to be used for a treat for the group we had out.”

Residents took in a recent drive through Presqu’ile to observe how the waterfowl and park survived the winter. A Maplewood volunteer, whose family member previously lived at the home, and her friends chip in to purchase a season’s pass to the park for residents.

Corkery suspects the outings, while enjoyable for residents and staff alike, also help make the home’s fundraising efforts “the huge success they are.” All of the donations to the home and the proceeds from silent auctions support resident outings — a decision made by Maplewood residents’ council – “so that all residents have an opportunity to go out with no extra costs.”

Discover how outings are helping change the community’s perception of long-term care in an upcoming OMNIway story.

If you have feedback on this article or a story idea to share, please e-mail Natalie@axiomnews.ca or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

Dementia expert highlights impact of language on people

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Dr. Sherry Dupuis sheds light on how people with dementia react to certain words

Thursday, April 24, 2014 — Deron Hamel

TORONTO – The language we use when referring to people with dementia directly impacts how the disease and those living with it are perceived. Therefore, we need to think carefully about the words we use.

This was dementia expert Dr. Sherry Dupuis’ message to caregivers attending a panel discussion on quality at the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA)/Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) 2014 Together We Care convention and trade show.

Dupuis, an Alzheimer’s disease and dementia expert at the University of Waterloo, underscored that many people living with cognitive impairment are aware of negative language surrounding their condition – and hearing such language can have a detrimental impact.

Words like disruptive, screamer, wanderer, non-compliant and aggressive cast a light on the disease and not the person affected by it, Dupuis told the audience at the April 1 session. In short, Dupuis says that when these types of words are used to describe people living with dementia, their humanity is taken away. The picture we’re left with is not of a person but of a body to be managed.

“Persons with dementia are very much aware of the implications of this approach on their lives,” Dupuis explained. “The consequences (of using negative language) are profound and harmful in many ways.”

Through her research, Dupuis has heard first-hand from people living with dementia about the frustration they have surrounding language that negatively labels people.

“As one person with dementia said, ‘(People) think I can’t do anything. Until they get used to me (and see) what I can still do, many try to take over. (Caregivers) also give me meaningless activities, like tip over all the pens and pencils on the table, mix them up, and then ask me to sort them. That made me really angry. ‘ “

So what can be done to change the perception of people living with dementia? Dupuis says it all comes down to making simple adjustments to the words people use.

For instance, “hoarding” can become “collecting.” “Wandering” can be “exploring.”  Being “disruptive” can be changed to “communicating.”

“Words, gestures and actions have meaning,” Dupuis says.

The annual OLTCA/ORCA Together We Care convention and trade show, which ran March 31 to April 2, is Canada’s largest gathering of long-term care and retirement home professionals.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.
 
If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.