Staff raise funds for animals through sweets


Riverview Manor supports local Humane Society with cupcake sale

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 — Jennifer Neutel

Two Riverview Manor staff members are leading a fundraising effort starting today to support the Peterborough Humane Society.

Dana Huggins, environmental service worker, and personal support worker Laura Knox, are organizing a cupcake sale that starts today (Feb. 12) at the Peterborough long-term care home. Staff, family members and residents (non-diabetic) can pay a minimum of one dollar for a cupcake, with funds going towards the humane society.

The cupcakes will be on sale daily until Feb. 23.

Staff and family members are also invited to bring in wet or dry pet food, as well as towels or comforters for bedding, throughout the month.

“We are just trying to raise money for a good cause because we have a lot of animal lovers here,” says Huggins.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney notes she found out during morning report that staff members in the home’s environmental department collected money for the humane society at Christmas instead of giving each other gifts.

“I thought that is just wonderful,” adds Murney, who says she will “absolutely” be purchasing a cupcake.

Murney says it is always good for the home to be involved with the community, and pet therapy is a big program at the home.

“The residents love the animals, so I think that goes hand in hand with (this fundraiser),” she adds.

The Peterborough Humane Society is promoting National Cupcake Day on Feb. 24. Huggins found out about the national day when she dropped off the Christmas donation, which prompted the idea for the home’s bake sale.

Huggins, Knox and a few other staff members are making the cupcakes for the sale.

According to its website, the Peterborough Humane Society “advocates for the welfare of animals by improving their lives, alleviating suffering, rescuing, providing shelter, healing, facilitating adoption and reducing pet overpopulation.”

The registered charitable organization was established in 1941.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or e-mail deron(at)

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or e-mail jennifer(at)

Spirit of Winter Olympics comes to Maplewood

The Olympic rings and torch to mark Maplewood's winter games are seen outside the Brighton long-term care home.

The Olympic rings and torch to mark Maplewood’s winter games are seen outside the Brighton long-term care home.

Residents competing in their own version of Winter Olympics this week

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 — Deron Hamel

The spirit of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics has touched down at Maplewood, where residents and staff members at the Brighton long-term care home celebrated with their own opening ceremonies which included a torch relay.

Acting as Olympic torchbearers, residents Douglas Nicholson, Ena Clews, and John and June Closs carried a makeshift torch through Maplewood’s corridors to the “Olympic Stadium” — the dining room.

“The afternoon was such a hit,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery, adding the day included a snowball fight.

“Man, I got hit by so many snowballs, but the best part was seeing all their faces and hearing their laughter. It was so much fun.”

During the next week, three teams of residents will be competing in Maplewood’s version of Winter Olympic events. The specially planned events include an ice-cream meltdown, bowling, curling and slalom races.

There are three resident teams competing. The teams are named after the three words in the Olympics’ motto: Citius (swifter), Altius (higher), Fortius (stronger).

Closing ceremonies will be hosted next Sunday to mark the end of a fun week and gold, silver and bronze medals will be presented.

Corkery says residents’ excitement is building.

“The residents are really looking forward to a great week,” she says.

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)

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

Expert uses interactive exercises to engage palliative-care network

Dr. Brian Nichols is seen here speaking to a group of palliative caregivers.

Dr. Brian Nichols is seen here speaking to a group of palliative caregivers.

Dr. Brian Nichols emphasizes self care

February 10, 2014 — Deron Hamel

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Psychotherapist Dr. Brian Nichols recently provided a group of local caregivers — including several staff members from OMNI Health Care long-term care homes — with a series of interactive exercises to help them evaluate their work and encourage them to always make time for themselves.

During his presentation at an event Feb. 6 hosted by the Four Counties Long-Term Care Palliative Network, Nichols said palliative care is a “calling” and wants those practising end-of-life care to be sure they’re in the right career.

He also told the 70 people attending that caregivers need to tend to their own needs in order to be effective — and to avoid burnout.

Nichols used a video presentation, art therapy and one-one-one exercises to engage people.

These exercises largely helped people look inside themselves. For instance, one exercise had 10 participants at a time watch a short video about a woman interviewing her father and asking him about a family member who had died. Nichols asked people to react to the film and share the feelings they experienced.

So what does Nichols want caregivers to take away from the event?

“I believe the most important things they already know,” he tells the OMNIway. “So (it would be for them) to go inside themselves and quieten the voices that say, ‘I’m not good enough’ . . . and connect with their heart.”

Nichols, who has volunteered with Hospice Peterborough and spent time in Africa helping people afflicted with AIDS through the end-of-life process, knows first-hand of the personal challenges that come from providing care to people who are dying.

To ensure he’s always focused, Nichols has created a list of what he calls “tools for strengthening powers of observation.” He adds these activities “help me discover who I really am.”

These are some of the ideas he recommends other caregivers consider adopting in their lives:

– Daily journaling
– Meditation
– Art
– Yoga
– Music
– Walks
– Gardening
– Travel

In other words, these are all things caregivers can do for themselves to enrich their lives and keep them focused on their work.

“Self care is essential,” Nichols says. “Look after yourself first, and then you can give.”

The Four Counties Palliative Care Network holds five workshops annually to discuss best practices in palliative care in long-term care homes. The network consists of representatives from long-term care homes in Peterborough, Haliburton and Northumberland counties, as well as the City of Kawartha Lakes.

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

Resident-to-resident relations can create grey areas

But residents’ rights must be central in decision-making, says DOC

When a long-term care home resident expresses romantic interest in another resident, it sometimes creates a grey area. What’s important, says Lesley Dale, is that residents’ rights are top of mind for home staff and family members. Read more

Supportive Measures key to preventing unwanted advances: administrator


Pleasant Meadow Manor would turn first to OMNI’s proven program

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 — Deron Hamel

Although Pleasant Meadow Manor has not had incidents of residents making unwanted sexual advances on other residents, administrator and director of care Sandra Tucker says staff members would look first to a tried and proven intervention — Supportive Measures — if they occurred.

A core OMNI Health Care program, Supportive Measures is aimed at developing an individualized approach to care. It also utilizes individual interventions to identify the causes of anxiety and agitation and enact processes to help residents feel calm and secure in their home.

Tucker says if an incident of unwanted sexual advances occurred at the Norwood long-term care home, a staff member would approach the resident making the advances and redirect them using tools from the Supportive Measures program.

For example, the staff member might approach the resident and start talking about a subject of interest to change their focus. Or a staff member might suggest the resident join them for a walk.

However, if a situation arose involving two consenting residents and there was no objection from the residents’ power of attorney (POA), Tucker says staff members would not interfere — after all, this is the residents’ home and they have the right to pursue relationships.

Tucker underscores that residents’ rights must remain top of mind.

“We work at the residents’ home; they don’t live at our work,” she says. “If there are two consenting adults wishing to have a relationship, who are we to interfere with that?”

If a POA objected to this — for example, if the incident involved a resident with a spouse living outside the home — staff members would accommodate the POA’s wishes.

The OMNIway is taking a closer look at sexuality and safety in long-term care. Through a series of stories, interviews and videos, Axiom News is exploring the rights, risks and regulations related to the issue of sexuality and safety.

Stay tuned to the OMNIway for stories unpacking these issues.

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)

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

Online test may be valuable tool in detecting Alzheimer’s


SAGE developed to foster early diagnosis

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 — Deron Hamel

A new online test developed by Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center may help flag early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers.

The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) has been developed to evaluate people’s thinking processes and detect warning signs compatible with symptoms of cognitive impairment.

While the test cannot diagnose Alzheimer’s disease — further testing by a specialist is necessary to determine if a person has cognitive impairment — the test’s results can be shared with doctors to assist with diagnosis, researchers say.

“It is normal to experience some memory loss and to take longer to recall events as you age,” the SAGE website says. “But if the changes you are experiencing are worrying you or others around you, SAGE can be a helpful tool to assess if further evaluation is necessary.”

If the test indicates signs of Alzheimer’s disease, a primary-care physician can interpret results and recommend next steps. If the test does not indicate symptoms, the physician can keep the results on file and compare them to future tests to determine changes.

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease early is important, so people who have it or related dementia can access needed supports earlier and even avoid potential crisis situations.

“As devastating as the news can be, early diagnosis brings relief to families, gives them control over their situation and adds more years of living active and fulfilling lives,” says Mimi Lowi-Young, the Alzheimer Society’s CEO, in a statement.

The Alzheimer Society estimates 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. This includes many people living in long-term care homes.

The written SAGE test evaluates several areas of cognition and takes about 15 minutes to complete. It includes questions involving short-term memory, picture recognition, spatial reasoning and drawing exercises.

Click here for more information on SAGE, including a link to download the test.

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)

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

Prolific Canadian chiseler continues to create


Frances Gage reads from the book written about her life and talent.

Frances Gage reads from the book written about her life and talent.


Positive outlook and drive inspire others at Streamway Villa
Monday, February 3, 2014 — Lisa Bailey

COBOURG, Ont. – From the town  park and art gallery near her home at Streamway Villa in Cobourg to the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Frances Gage’s artistry graces many spaces for all to see.

At 90, she continues to create today, fashioning pendants and other small pieces from clay as gifts for staff members at the long-term care home.

“Never stop working, never stop looking. That gives you all sorts of ideas that you want to use,” Gage advises when asked what she’d tell others inspired to sculpt.

Gage has been described as one of Canada’s most prolific sculptors, though she prefers to be called a “chiseler.”

“Sculptors do everything, chiselers are mostly carvers,” she explains.

Gage has created hundreds of works of art in everything from wood to cast stone for many commissions in public spaces. She’s done everything from portrait busts of business leaders and walnut relief panels at London’s Fanshawe College, to crests for Toronto’s bridges and a marble sculpture called “Woman” at the Women’s College Hospital.

Gage studied at various art institutes, including the Ontario College of Art and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She was friends with Frances Loring and Florence Wyle, who were known as the first women of Canadian sculpture, and she had a connection with Canada’s renown Group of Seven landscape painters, producing a portrait of AY Jackson and working in a rat-infested studio shack in Toronto that Tom Thomson once used.

“It had tremendous atmosphere,” Gage says of the shack, describing it with the remarkable memory and sharp wit that endears her to many.

“It had an orange floor that was high in the middle and low in all four corners, so I didn’t have to sweep the floor at all,” she says with a smile.

Gage’s life was chronicled in a book a few years ago, sparked by a talk she gave at the Art Gallery of Northumberland in Cobourg. She returned to the gallery after moving to Streamway Villa and shared with fellow residents during an outing the story of her piece called “Proud Cat,” which is displayed at the gallery.

“It was so great to hear about the history of it and the work that went into this one piece,” says Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Verleysen.

“She’s absolutely a talent and one amazing lady,” Verleysen says, noting Gage’s positive outlook on life and drive are to be emulated.

“I’ve never seen someone with so much passion about what she did, it’s unbelievable. She’s so open about it and she’s very modest at the same time.”

A visit to Gage’s room reveals some of her life’s loves. Her radio plays classical music – a source of inspiration, she says – and books reflect a love of reading. Photos of friends and animals adorn a large area on one wall.

“To see how many friends come here on a daily basis and the flowers that are delivered just shows how much she means to so many people,” Verleysen says.

Among the photo display are pictures of Gage teaching in Guelph decades ago. “I think I learned more from teaching than from anything else, because when I was teaching (students) I thought about what they should be doing and then I thought of what I should be doing, which is something quite different,” she says.

Among Gage’s favourite creations is “Woman” at the Women’s College Hospital, which honours all of the women who work there, and “Sheltering Form,” which is in Cobourg’s Victoria Park and dedicated to victims of abuse.

Asked what it means to be able to share so many of her creations with the public, Gage replies immediately. “It makes me feel very responsible. I feel I’ve been given so much and I have to give it back,” she says, citing as examples the scholarships she received to attend the École des Beaux-Arts and the Art Students League in New York, and all of the people who mentored and taught her.

If you have a story to share or feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 25, or e-mail lisa(at)