West Lake Terrace becomes the Magic Kingdom for a day

Life enrichment team creates an engaging Disney-themed day for residents

You know you have a great job when you can engage your personal interests and hobbies at work.

That’s just what West Lake Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard discovered recently when she and the life enrichment team at the Prince Edward County long-term care home organized a Disney-themed day for residents.

Janie, who describes herself as “a huge Disney fan,” got to share her love of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Buzz Lightyear and other Disney characters on Sept. 29 with residents and other staff members.

Janie and life enrichment aide Elaine Goheen came in early that day to decorate the dining room with Disney-themed decorations, movie posters and balloons.

Many staff members came to work dressed in Disney-themed costumes, and residents were given Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears to wear.

All the residents got into the spirit of the day, Janie says.

“Every single one of them walked around with the ears on all day,” she tells The OMNIway. “The staff were fantastic, too. The residents love seeing the staff dress up.”

Residents enjoyed a pizza lunch that was inspired by the Pizza Planet scene from Toy Story 3. There were also lots of conversations about Disney movies that “brought back lots of memories” for residents, Janie notes.

“They were talking about how they remembered taking their kids to the drive-in and seeing movies like The Fox and the Hound, or the first time they saw a Disney movie, so it was a good day,” Janie says.

In the afternoon, Janie set up a projector and screen to give residents a virtual tour of the Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Florida, a landmark she has visited many times.

Janie gave residents a presentation on Disney World and shared some little-known information about the famed international resort – like, for instance, how Walt Disney in the mid-1960s secretly bought the property where Disney World would eventually be built.

“The residents really enjoyed that,” Janie says.

As a result of Janie’s presentation, residents are now keen to take other virtual tours, so the life enrichment team is looking at other opportunities.

“Some residents wanted to see the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids of Egypt, so this has spawned ideas for different activities that residents would like to do, so I think we’re going to do some world travelling soon,” Janie says.

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Oktoberfest was ‘wunderbar’ at Riverview Manor

Life enrichment team creates a 16-day event centred on German culture and Germany’s famous beer festival

Riverview Manor residents were treated to a 16-day Oktoberfest celebration that featured pub nights, engaging educational programs about Germany and a variety of games.

Since Oktoberfest is first and foremost a beer festival, the main attractions during the Peterborough long-term care home’s Oktoberfest celebration were pub nights held for both the north and south side neighbourhoods.

The north-side Oktoberfest pub night was Sept. 21 and was led by life enrichment aides (LEAs) Adam Wicklum and Trevor Davis. The south-side event was Sept. 29, with Adam and two other LEAs, Brigitte Byette and Rosemary Roseborough, hosting festivities.

The pub nights featured German snacks that included warm apple strudel, pretzel chips, hot apple cider with cinnamon and, of course, beer.

To create an authentic Oktoberfest experience for residents, lighting was dimmed and old polka records were played during the pub nights.

The life enrichment team decorated the activity room and south-side dining room with blue and white. The colours have significance, Adam explains.

“These colours signify the true spirit of any festival – namely harmony and peace, and (the colours) represent the German state of Bavaria (where Oktoberfest originated), its flag and coat-of-arms of the Wittelsbach family that ruled Bavaria for centuries,” he tells The OMNIway.

Adam printed out centrepieces with matching beer coasters as well as fold-ups of German men wearing lederhosen and women wearing dirndl dresses.

There were also white and blue napkins, balloons and plates, and there were coloured Oktoberfest photos around the rooms.

Before the pub nights, Adam and a friend made Alpine hats residents and staff members wore during the Riverview Manor Oktoberfest.

At the end of both pub nights, the Chicken Dance was played from Spotify, and the LEAs danced along.

During Oktoberfest, Adam provided residents with a virtual trip to Germany when he showed them a YouTube video of the 10 best places to visit in the country.

Adam visited Germany with his family in 2013 and had a lot of souvenirs and photos to show residents.

“Residents were very engaged in seeing the models of the many castles I visited and the cuckoo clock from Black Forest,” he says.

Other programs the life enrichment team created for residents included an Oktoberfest photo match-up memory game, a spin the Oktoberfest photo beanbag toss, crosswords, word games, a word search, and Oktoberfest and Germany trivia.

Adam says residents enjoyed the Oktoberfest event, which ran from Sept. 18 to Oct. 21.

“Residents had fun learning about German culture and a special pub night,” he says.

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Fore! Streamway golf program combines fun with physical and cognitive benefits

Some of our residents were regular golfers, so they enjoy a good golfing afternoon’

Summer may be over, but Streamway Villa residents are still getting the occasional round of golf in at the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home.

An activity that merges fun with therapeutic recreation, the golf program led by the Streamway Villa life enrichment team is held regularly in the home’s courtyard.

As part of the program, team members set up a strip of green turf with a hole at the end. Residents take turns stepping up to the “tee box” with a putter and try to putt the ball – which is larger than a regulation-size golf ball – into the hole.

Laurie Kracht, Streamway Villa’s life enrichment co-ordinator, says the activity is a fan favourite amongst residents and the program has a strong turnout when it’s offered.

She credits this to the fact many people enjoy playing golf.

“Some of our residents were regular golfers, so they enjoy a good golfing afternoon,” she tells The OMNIway.

Aside from the fun residents have playing on the Streamway Villa “golf course,” the activity also harnesses important cognitive and physical benefits, Laurie notes.

“(Golfing) brings back memories, it works on hand-eye co-ordination, it works on balance, and it brings out the competition in everyone,” she says.

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Two OMNI homes win prizes for videos highlighting the Residents’ Bill of Rights

Burnbrae Gardens and Village Green will receive $50 Tim Hortons gift cards from the OARC

Two OMNI Health Care long-term care homes have won prize draws for videos they created highlighting the 27 rights listed in the Residents’ Bill of Rights as part of a contest organized by the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils (OARC).

Burnbrae Gardens and Village Green will be receiving $50 Tim Hortons gift cards which both homes will be using to host doughnut parties for residents.

A third OMNI home, West Lake Terrace, received an honourable mention on the OARC website for the video residents and team members submitted.

The OARC challenged Ontario long-term care homes to work with residents to create videos to teach others about the Residents’ Bill of Rights during Residents’ Council Week, which ran Sept. 13-19.

In the video submitted by Burnbrae Gardens, residents are wearing T-shirts listing the 27 rights. Each T-shirt is embossed with two residents’ rights – one on the front and one on the back. Residents had their photos taken wearing the T-shirts, and the photos were made into a slideshow accompanied by music.

Resident Jeannine LeClerc, who is fluent in French, provided a translation in the video for every resident right.

“Residents were super excited to know that they will receive a Tim Hortons recognition party for all their hard work in putting this video together,” Burnbrae Gardens administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) April Faux tells The OMNIway.

April says the prize is a bonus for a project everyone found rewarding to create.

“To be honest, we had so much fun as a group making this video that the gift card we received was just an extra little reward on top of the fun and laughter we had putting it all together,” she says.

The video created by Village Green features the Greater Napanee long-term care home’s residents and team members reading the residents’ rights.

In some segments, Village Green residents and staff members act out residents’ rights so viewers can see examples of residents’ rights in action.

Village Green LEC Ulana Orrick says residents were overjoyed when they learned they would be having a doughnut party thanks to their work on the video.

Ulana says when she asked residents how they felt about being recognized for their work, the most common reply was “I feel proud.”

“Our residents were thrilled to be one of the winning homes, and we will be having a party soon to celebrate with our Tim Hortons Gift card,” she says.

“This was such a great way for residents to express themselves and to feel some ownership of their home.”

The video created by West Lake Terrace, called Through Our Eyes Bringing the Residents’ Bill of Rights Alive, features a slideshow of residents and team members holding cards with each residents’ right explained as a rendition of the Beatles’ In My Life plays.

Click here to watch the Burnbrae Gardens video.

Click here to watch the Village Green video.

Click here to watch the West Lake Terrace video.

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Prom night comes to Garden Terrace

When it was discovered that some residents never attended prom, team members organized a special event

After several Garden Terrace residents mentioned they had not gone to their high school prom, the life enrichment team decided to create a prom night for them on Sept. 22.

“We thought it would be a fun idea to bring prom to Garden Terrace,” says Rachael King, the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

The event was a chance for residents who didn’t attend their prom to experience something new; for residents who did attend prom, it was an opportunity to reminisce about fond memories, Rachael says.

Residents got dressed up, and the life enrichment team worked with the ladies to apply makeup, curl hair and put on jewelry, she adds.

Some residents asked other residents to be their date.

A major highlight of the event was the voting for prom king and prom queen. After votes were counted, John Koiste was elected prom king and Eleni-Sahie Woldemariam received the honour of being prom queen.

Additionally, certificates of recognition were handed out to each resident attending the prom. The certificates were awarded to residents for a variety of attributes, including best bingo player and nicest smile.

Like with any prom, there was lots of dancing, Rachael notes.

“Many residents knew some dance moves from years ago – like the twist – and that was nice to see because many of them are great dancers,” she says.

At the end of the prom, residents got to have their photos taken in front of the Garden Terrace prom sign team members made.

There was a strong social aspect to the Garden Terrace prom, which, says Rachael, was an added benefit.

“There was lots of mingling, and a lot of the residents got to meet people they didn’t know,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Garden Terrace prom queen and king Eleni-Sahie Woldemariam and John Koiste are pictured here during the prom event the home hosted on Sept. 22.

Families praise OMNI homes for balancing quality of life with safety during the pandemic

From keeping residents in touch with their loved ones to delivering meaningful programming, homes have excelled in resident focus, say family members

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, long-term-care home residents, their families and staff were faced with the challenge of balancing safety restrictions with providing residents a high quality of life.

Residents’ family members understood this challenge and, in recent OMNIway stories, they have expressed their thoughts on how well homes have worked to keep their loved ones safe and happy during a trying time.

When the pandemic was declared, long-term care homes immediately put safety precautions in place, including closing homes to all but essential visitors.

This presented the challenge of keeping residents and their loved ones connected. Technology helped bridge this gap. Homes began using video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom and FaceTime, to keep residents and their families in contact.

Forest Hill family member Judy Wood recalls how this helped her and her siblings stay in touch with their mother. Craig Forrest, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator, helped arrange frequent video calls between Judy and her siblings and their mother.

“We are all very close to our mom, (and) Craig and his staff were so accommodating,” Judy said.

“I would call to ask for a time to connect with my mom and they would make it happen. We all worked together. It was nice to be able to see her and connect with her.”

There is also the programming that life enrichment teams have created that both meet residents’ needs and adhere to safety protocols.

Gladys Morris’s brother Doug was a Streamway Villa resident from October 2018 until he passed away in August. Gladys says Streamway Villa team members have continued to deliver meaningful programming to residents despite the challenges that have come with the pandemic.

This, she says, made a big difference to her brother.

For example, in late July, Streamway Villa hosted an Olympic-themed week. At the end of the week, team members organized a closing ceremony with a parade for residents.

Team members decorated residents’ wheelchairs and walkers as part of a contest. Doug, a retired farmer, had his wheelchair decorated as a Cub Cadet tractor by personal support worker (PSW) Linda Norton.

Doug took second place in the contest and was overjoyed, Gladys says.

“He wasn’t able to be up there very long, but he really enjoyed it,” she says.

Gladys recalls the moment when she realized how much Streamway Villa meant to her brother.

Shortly before he passed away, Doug was in hospital for treatment. Upon returning to Streamway, Doug was sedated. He suddenly heard the voice of one of the PSWs. “When he heard the voice of the PSW, he lit right up and it was like he was living anew,” Gladys says.

“That was the first thing that really hit me, and I said, ‘Doug, are you where you want to be?’, and he said, ‘yes, this is my home.’ ”

Pirate-themed activities engage Village Green residents in fun, education and exercise

High Seas Adventure Day proves to be engaging on many levels

Well, shiver me timbers!

Village Green residents were recently treated to a pirate-themed day at the Greater Napanee long-term care home that creatively combined fun, education and exercise.

On Sept. 23, the Village Green life enrichment team organized High Seas Adventure Day for residents that began with residents finding a message in a bottle on their tables at breakfast.

“Ahoy! Today be a special day at Village Green,” the message read. “Today we sail the seven seas in search of pirate treasure! Join us in the Galley (the activity room) to get your pirate name and start your adventure!”

Team members dressed up in pirate costumes and residents could put on a pirate hat embossed with the famous symbol of pirates, the skull and crossbones, to have their photo taken.

From there, residents were treated to a variety of pirate-themed activities throughout the day that included an educational session on the history of pirates, a game of pirate bingo and even digging for hidden treasure, explains Ulana Orrick, Village Green’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

There was also a high seas-themed exercise class many residents participated in, she adds.

Residents were even “certified” as pirates for the day.

“Residents were given a pirate name and an honorary pirate certificate,” Ulana says.

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Garden Terrace fall fair brings back favourite autumn memories for residents

‘They loved it; they said it was really nice to be outside and that it took them back to when they were kids’

Garden Terrace team members recently organized a fall fair for the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s residents that was highlighted by a corn roast and a visit from some exotic animals.

The Sept. 15 event was held outside the home and also included a photo booth, music and a gift basket draw.

Initially, the plan was to bring farm animals to Garden Terrace, but instead, the life enrichment team turned to the Zoo Crew, a company that handles a wide variety of unique animals.

Animals the Zoo Crew brought to the fall fair included a variety of snakes, rodents and turtles. Residents could have their photos taken with the creatures.

The fall fair also included a traditional autumn favourite: an outdoor corn roast.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King went to Hudson’s Farm Fresh Produce to buy ears of corn for everyone to enjoy. The life enrichment and nutritional care teams shucked and cooked the corn cobs for the event. Apple pie was also served at the corn roast.

The fall fair included a gift basket draw to help raise money for the Garden Terrace residents’ council. The main-prize basket was filled with autumn-themed items, including jams and decorations, and all proceeds went to the council.

Fall fairs have been a tradition shared by many cities and towns across Ontario for decades. Many residents have fond memories of attending fairs in their hometowns, and the event proved to be an opportunity for them to reminisce, Rachael says.

“They loved it; they said it was really nice to be outside and that it took them back to when they were kids – they really enjoyed it,” she says.

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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation events well received by West Lake residents

Staff provided presentations and traditional First Nations food to everyone Sept. 30 in honour of the day

West Lake Terrace residents are expressing their gratitude to the Prince Edward County long-term care home’s staff members for hosting events in recognition of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours the people of Canada’s First Nations who survived the residential school system. The day also serves as a reminder of the children who did not return home from residential schools.

As part of the day, West Lake Terrace residents were introduced to contemporary and traditional First Nations food and attended information sessions focused on First Nations traditions and culture.

Residents enjoyed a lunch that featured three sisters soup, which contains squash, corn and beans, as well as fried tacos and sweetened bannock with berries for dessert.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard and life enrichment aide Elaine Goheen delivered a presentation to residents about First Nations cultural traditions that included videos of dancing and powwows.

The video presentation also featured an interview with a residential school survivor.

Residents say they enjoyed the food and the presentations.

Resident Doris Woodall says she was “thankful to be able to taste and experience some traditional Indigenous food.”

Another resident, Shirley Ball, thanked Janie and Elaine for their presentation, noting “it was a good learning experience for me.”

In fact, the day brought back some fond memories for Shirley, whose husband was of Mohawk ancestry, Janie notes.

“She said they used to do smudging in their house and that it was great to think about those times she spent with her husband,” Janie says.

Smudging is a rite practised by many First Nations communities. During a smudging ceremony, smoke from burning sacred plants, such as cedar, sage, sweetgrass and tobacco, is used for purification.

The day was also informative for West Lake Terrace staff members, Janie notes.

“They were very supportive; they thought it was a great idea that we involved the residents in honouring this day,” she says.

Before changing the name to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Sept. 30 was called Orange Shirt Day.

The colour orange has significance. In 1973, Phyllis Webstad, a then-six-year-old First Nations student from B.C., had an orange shirt taken from her by teachers at the residential school she attended.

Orange Shirt Day was first acknowledged on Sept. 30, 2013, to raise awareness of the injustices First Nations, Inuit and Métis people faced in residential schools.

Orange has been designated as the colour of remembrance of the children who didn’t return home from residential schools.

Residents and staff members were encouraged to wear orange shirts in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Nearly all staff members wore orange shirts, Janie says.

“Staff members across all shifts participated and wore their orange shirts and were very supportive of the day,” Janie says.

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Lions Club brings smiles to Pleasant Meadow residents and staff

Members delivered Tim Hortons Smile Cookies to the home Sept. 14

Pleasant Meadow Manor residents and staff members were on the receiving end of a random act of kindness recently when members of the local chapter of the Lions Club dropped off some special cookies.

On Sept. 14, members of the Norwood Lions Club showed up with six boxes of Smile Cookies from Tim Hortons. Smile Cookies are chocolate chunk cookies adorned with smiley faces. They are the centrepiece of Tim Hortons’ annual Smile Cookie campaign.

Every year since 1996, Tim Hortons has run the Smile Cookie campaign. During the campaign, 100 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of Smile Cookies are donated to charities in communities across Canada.

Everyone at Pleasant Meadow Manor was surprised by the Smile Cookies, which were served to residents and staff members in the afternoon, says Kim Williams, Pleasant Meadow Manor’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

The kind gesture from the Lions Club is an example of a small thing that can make a big difference, Kim says.

“These are the types of surprises that everyone enjoys and puts smiles on everyone’s faces,” she tells The OMNIway.

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