Happy holidays!

We would like to wish all of our readers a happy and healthy holiday season. We will resume publishing The OMNIway on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

OMNI homes serve up ‘delicious’ stories in 2021

Quality food is a top priority for residents, and homes work hard to deliver meals residents love

One of the many strengths found in OMNI Health Care long-term care homes is meal service. Being served high-quality meals is at the top of the list of things residents value, and team members strive to provide meals that are well presented and taste great.

At Springdale Country Manor, the nutritional care department works with team members throughout the home to organize monthly requested luncheons for residents, an idea that came from the Peterborough County long-term care home’s residents’ council.

Residents put forth a suggestion for a special lunchtime meal each month, and the life enrichment department, with support from the nutritional care, nursing, environmental services and management teams, makes the monthly luncheons happen.

Some of the meals residents requested in 2021 include make-your-own pizzas and barbecued steak.

Life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Sonia Murney underscores the importance of all Springdale team members collaborating for these monthly events.

“Support and teamwork make all events happen in our home,” she said in May.

When it comes to creating memorable mealtime experiences for residents, homes also place a strong emphasis on being inclusive.

At Country Terrace, residents who require texture-modified meals were served a five-star dinner in June that featured dinnertime favourites lasagna and pork chops.

Residents requiring minced meals were presented with finely chopped lasagna noodles placed in a glass bowl between layers of meat sauce and ricotta cheese; residents on pureed diets enjoyed pork chops that were pureed and then frozen in a silicone mould shaped like a pork chop and then cooked and plated.

“Residents ate outside on the patio, which added to the enjoyment, and the activities and maintenance departments did a great job decorating it,” said nutritional care manager Alex Achillini.

Often, homes merge special meals with fun activities. In February, team members turned West Lake Terrace into Arnold’s Drive-In, the famed diner where characters from the 1950s-themed sitcom Happy Days would hang out.

The food and decor were part of a 1950s-themed week team members organized at the Prince Edward County long-term care home.

Residents enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings that were served in baskets lined with the checkered paper that greasy spoons use. There were ice-cream sundaes served for dessert and cherry cola to wash everything down.

“(Residents) had a blast, they’re already asking when we can do it again,” said LEC Janie Denard.

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Pleasant Meadow team shows flair for creating safe, in-house ‘outings’ during the pandemic

A virtual museum tour, a fall fair and Oktoberfest were among the ‘trips’ residents safely took in 2021

With safety top of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic, team members at Pleasant Meadow Manor demonstrated a flair in 2021 for creating in-house programs that allowed residents to safely enjoy special events without leaving the comfort of their home.

In June, thanks to a great community connection, residents of the Norwood, Ont. long-term care home were treated to a free virtual tour of the Canadian Canoe Museum that proved to be educational and engaging.

Located in Peterborough, the Canadian Canoe Museum showcases more than 100 canoes and kayaks. The unique museum is dedicated to educating people about the role of the canoe in Canadian history.

During the virtual tour on the home’s smart TV, museum staff explained the different types of canoes on display at the museum. Residents learned about the history of canoes and how they’re made, and everyone had lots of questions after the presentation.

“They had a lot of pertinent questions that the staff were more than happy to answer, and it showed that they really were engaged during the whole tour,” said Pleasant Meadow Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams.

For many Pleasant Meadow residents, the Norwood Fall Fair is a favourite annual tradition and one that brings back lots of fond memories.

Every autumn, residents and staff members attend the fall fair, but due to the pandemic, the event has been cancelled the past two years.

This, however, did not stop residents from enjoying a version of the autumn tradition that was created at the home by team members.

On Oct. 12, staff decorated the activity room with a midway filled with games and stuffed animals – such as a pony, pig, “the world’s smallest rooster,” a turkey and a buffalo.

Residents could take a “pony ride” through one area set up to resemble a barn. After their tour looking at the animals, residents could join in on the games being offered.

“The residents really enjoyed the day and had a lot of laughs,” Kim said. “We had residents who usually don’t enjoy going to programs come out and enjoy the afternoon.”

Another fall tradition the Pleasant Meadow team created for residents was Oktoberfest.

In late September, the activity room was turned into a Bavarian beer hall. Team members donned lederhosen and served sausage rolls along with freshly baked pretzels a local supermarket bakery made especially for residents.

Residents were also served non-alcoholic beer, root beer and other varieties of pop as well as some sweet treats.

It was also a time to reminisce and share stories, Kim noted.

“With Oktoberfest music playing in the background, we learned all about Oktoberfest, and the residents shared their stories of Oktoberfest,” Kim said.

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’Tis the season for ugly Christmas sweaters, pass the present game at Willows Estate

Aurora long-term care home’s nutritional care manager plans elaborate meal for Dec. 25

With staff donning “ugly Christmas sweaters” and residents playing “pass the present”, the holiday season is underway at Willows Estate.

To residents’ delight, the 84-bed Aurora long-term care home recently hosted an ugly sweater contest for staff.

Employees donned their ugliest apparel, and a winner and runner-up were named. Staff also enjoyed a luncheon following the contest, notes Teddy Mazzuca, the life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at Willows Estate.

“The residents did love (the ugly sweater contest),” Teddy says. “They enjoyed seeing the staff.”

Teddy says she’s looking forward to offering a new game for residents during the week of Christmas called pass the present.

Like the hot potato game, residents sit in a circle and pass the item around while music plays.

However, when the music stops, the resident holding the present gets to open and keep the gift – unlike hot potato during which the person left holding the potato when the music stops is out of the game.

“We’re hoping that most residents will get a small present,” Teddy says.

Meanwhile, in the nutritional care department, nutritional care manager (NCM) Jeffrey Peters and staff will be serving a special meal on Christmas Day.

“We’ll have your traditional roasted turkey with all of the trimmings,” Jeffrey tells The OMNIway.

Dinner will include turkey, pineapple-glazed ham, garlic mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with double-smoked bacon, mustard and honey roasted salmon, and herb and garlic oven-baked shrimp. Plum pudding with a crème caramel sauce, eggnog ice cream and seasonal fruit are on the menu for dessert.

“It’s pretty elaborate,” the NCM says.

“Part of it is also to say thank you to the staff too,” says Jeffrey, noting, there will be food for employees working Christmas Day.

Preparation for Dec. 25 will begin Christmas Eve and includes making the brine for the turkey, marinating the salmon, and prepping the vegetables. “Everything needs to be marinated in advance to optimize the best flavour possible,” the NCM notes.

“Then the day of … we just rock and roll.”

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Community connections flourish at OMNI homes in 2021

Creating strong community connections is a focus for OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes, and throughout 2021 we saw many examples of how these important relationships enhance quality of life for residents.

At the beginning of the year, Forest Hill life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Craig Forrest received an e-mail from Grade 8 student Ethan Fletcher who was looking to connect with a resident to participate with him in Zoom-call book readings.

Craig found the perfect resident to connect with Ethan – Barbara Brownhill. The two proved to be a great fit for this one-to-one intergenerational program. Ethan is a student who enjoys reading, and Barbara, who also enjoys books, is a retired teacher.

“For Ethan, he’s helping Barbara, and Barbara gets to go back to being in a teacher role where she helps him with his reading, so it’s a big success,” Craig said.

Another community connection that grew in 2021 was between Country Terrace and Gateway Church.

The Komoka, Ont. long-term care home and the local church have had a long-standing connection. As part of its Gateway Cares outreach program, the church contacted the home this past summer to offer support for residents and staff to help lift spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After some discussions between Country Terrace and Gateway Church, members of the church’s outreach program decided to donate five iPads to residents.

The iPads have helped residents connect with family and friends as well as providing entertainment. Residents are also attending virtual church services by watching them on the iPads.

Springdale Country Manor also rekindled a favourite community connection in 2021.

In August, members of Senior Cruises stopped by Springdale for two hours with more than 20 classic cars and trucks for residents to see during the Yesterday Memories car show.

The Seniors Cruises car club, which hosts car shows at long-term care and retirement homes across the Peterborough area, visits Springdale Country Manor most years.

Residents had a chance to look at the hot rods and chat with car club members about their vehicles. This brought back fond memories for many, said Springdale LEC Sonia Murney.

“The residents had so much fun, reminiscing and touring around the cars,” she said.

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West Lake wraps up first-time Christmas door decorating contest

Aside from being fun for residents, families and staff, the contest also proved to be an excellent team-building exercise

West Lake Terrace’s first annual Christmas door decorating contest has come to a close, and the residents who judged the competition had such a hard time picking a winner from all the creative designs that in the end the winners were drawn from a hat.

The contest engaged residents, their family members and the West Lake Terrace team. Working in teams, participants decorated doors throughout the Prince Edward County long-term care home with an array of colourful and elaborate Christmas-themed designs.

Among the designs teams created were Snoopy sleeping on his decorated dog house, Santa and Mrs. Claus driving a car, and Santa’s reindeer in their stable.

In November, participants were provided a list of all the doors at West Lake Terrace. Each team reserved a door to decorate with a winter or holiday season theme.

Some doors were decorated by teams of residents and staff members, while some residents paired up with family members for the contest.

Residents were asked to judge the designs, but they had a tough time, says West Lake Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard.

“The residents could not choose the best door, as they all felt everyone deserved to win,” she tells The OMNIway.

The resident judges requested Janie put the door numbers in a hat and draw for two winners of the gift cards that were provided as prizes by supplier Handicare Canada.

The winners picked from the hat were screener Kim Dawe and personal support worker Linda May.

Along with the fun everyone had, Janie says the door decorating contest also proved to be an excellent team-building exercise.

“It was so great to see all departments involved and helping each other out by sharing ideas and supplies,” she says.

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Front-line team members embrace creativity to enhance residents’ quality of life

Throughout 2021, we saw examples of how staff members were empowered by one of OMNI’s core values

Oftentimes, small things we do for others can make the greatest difference, and front-line team members working in OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes demonstrate this every day by harnessing one of the organization’s core values: creativity.

Throughout 2021, we saw many examples of team members thinking outside the box to make residents’ faces light up with smiles. This has been especially important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In January, Pleasant Meadow Manor registered nurse Shelly Vandenberg found inspiration in a pair of safety goggles she was wearing and decided to dress up like Scuba Steve, a character and toy from the 1999 Adam Sandler comedy film Big Daddy.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Kim Williams fashioned a pair of swim fins out of yellow construction paper for Shelly to wear on her feet. A homemade snorkel completed the outfit.

“Some of the residents wanted to splash water on her because she had scuba gear on, and another resident tried to encourage her to get into the bathtub,” Kim said.

“With just a little masking tape and some construction paper, I’m telling you, we can have lots of fun.”

Maplewood life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn has a long track record of coming up with creative, engaging ideas that bring smiles to residents and staff members alike.

In June, Rosanne organized a Western-themed day that saw her and other team members dress as cowgirls. Residents had a photo booth set up so they could have their own Wild West-style wanted poster made.

The nutritional care team also got in on the spirit of the day.

“The kitchen staff prepared ‘cowboy casserole’ and chicken chili for the menu,” Rosanne said.

At Burnbrae Gardens, nutritional care aide Nikki McAleaney made use of an unusual accessory she owns to add some fun to residents’ hot dog lunch one day in September.

Nikki’s friends and family members have given her food-themed hats as a nod to her job as a nutritional care aide. One of those hats is a hot dog hat, and when Nikki learned residents would be served hot dogs for lunch one day, she found the perfect reason to wear her special hat to work.

“With me working in the dietary department, I just thought it would be a really cute idea and bring some laughter to the residents by wearing a hot dog hat on hot dog day,” Nikki said, adding her plan worked.

“It brought them lots of laughter,” she says. “It felt really good to make residents so happy.”

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Frost Manor sees success with new activities and old favourites in 2021

Frost Manor’s life enrichment team saw success with new programs delivered to residents of the Lindsay long-term care home as well as with some tried and proven favourites in 2021.

A new, unique program residents were introduced to this year combines drumming with exercise and meditation. The program, called DROM, a name derived from merging drumming techniques with the meditation chant called the “om”, encourages residents to beat stability balls with drumsticks and includes three segments.

Each session starts with a focus on breathing to relax everyone and get participants ready. The second segment is the “energized portion” where multiple songs for the drumming session are performed by residents drumming on stability balls to the beat of songs. The final segment, the “calming portion”, focuses on positive affirmation and meditation.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Amy Whitehead says the program, which is held in small groups to adhere to pandemic protocols, has been a big hit with residents.

“Everyone goes away feeling good and can carry on with their day on a positive note,” she told The OMNIway in July.

During the program, Amy teaches residents different drumming patterns and techniques, and residents beat their drumsticks on the stability balls to the rhythm of songs using these techniques.

“For one song, I got them to use their drumsticks (to the rhythm of) a song that had a trumpet session in it,” she says. “You can really get creative with all the different ways that you can drum.”

The team also brought back some favourite activities this year, including a special summertime program that has become a tradition at Frost Manor.

In August, team members set up a water slide next to the parking lot, and residents and staff members took turns zooming across the 50-foot slide in rubber tubes.

Residents sat in a plastic tube with straps attached at the sides and team members pulled them down the slide with the straps.

Frost Manor last hosted a water-slide day in summer 2019, and residents were happy to see it return, Amy said, noting the water-slide day was also the perfect way to keep everyone cool during a heatwave.

“The day was a lot of fun, she said. “The residents had lots of laughs watching people go down the slide. We made an afternoon of it and everyone had a great time.”

Since the water slide day went over so well with everyone, Amy said residents can look forward to having their own water park again in 2022.

“We will do it again next summer; it’s definitely worth it,” she said.

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Return of important events mark 2021 at Riverview Manor

From the fun to the sombre, the safe events the home hosted this year brought some things back to normal during the pandemic

With pandemic restrictions easing in 2021 due to high vaccination rates and safety measures in place, Riverview Manor resumed many of the holiday events residents at the Peterborough long-term care home enjoy, and the home’s life enrichment team was there to organize activities and make them safe and enjoyable for all.

In May, the life enrichment team organized a Mother’s Day photoshoot for the Riverview Manor ladies in front of a backdrop of a spring blooming tree mural. Using residents’ photos, life enrichment aide (LEA) Adam Wicklum made two Mother’s Day collages, one for each side of the home.

The power of attorney of residents who had their photos taken received an e-mail with an attached photo of their loved one just before Mother’s Day.

When Mother’s Day arrived, all the ladies received a Mother’s Day card and a corsage. A large “Happy Mother’s Day” lawn sign was put up at the front of the home. Residents and staff could see the sign from both dining rooms.

Halloween is another favourite occasion at Riverview Manor.

Adam, along with LEAs Rosemary Roseborough and Trevor Davis, and personal support worker Robin Willar, were busy at Halloween organizing parties for the north and south neighbourhoods.

Along with Halloween refreshments, the life enrichment team organized several activities and games for the parties, including Halloween bingo, jack-o’-lantern match-up, a Halloween crossword and several word games.

“Residents enjoyed themselves; many of them wished it was longer,” Adam said. “All in all, it was a spooky Halloween season for the residents.”

Riverview Manor also hosted its first Remembrance Day service since 2019, thanks to a collaborative effort among residents, families and team members.

Unlike past Remembrance Day services at Riverview Manor, this year’s memorial did not feature involvement from the community due to pandemic restrictions still in place.

However, with everyone working together, Riverview residents were provided the same Remembrance Day service itinerary as always, said LEA and service organizer Rosemary Roseborough.

Residents and staff members were involved with the service, which included laying the Remembrance Day wreath and readings. Music normally played on pipe or piano was played on CDs during the service.

This was the 20th anniversary of Rosemary organizing the Remembrance Day service at Riverview Manor, an honour she says was made possible by strong collaboration from everyone.

“It was a great team effort from everyone, and I could not have done this without the support from everyone else,” she said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Riverview Manor resident veterans Joan Brownson and Frank Lindsay lay a ceremonial wreath at a Remembrance Day service at the Peterborough long-term care home.

Twelve Days of Christmas inspires new Garden Terrace programs

Starting Dec. 12, residents will be treated to programs focused on each day mentioned in the famous Christmas carol

The Garden Terrace life enrichment team has launched a fun and creative way to help residents count down the days to Christmas that was inspired by a favourite song celebrating the season.

Starting yesterday (Dec. 12), the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home will be marking each day with a themed activity taken from the Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, explains Rachael King, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

On the first day of Christmas, residents and team members will be putting up a “thankful tree” that will be covered with notes about everything residents are thankful for instead of “a partridge in a pear tree”.

On the second day of Christmas, residents will make a turtle dove parachute.

On Day 3 residents will be treated to a “three French hens” chicken pot pie social.

The fourth day of Christmas will feature a “four calling birds choir” that will encourage residents to sing Christmas carols.

Five golden rings mural painting will highlight the fifth day of Christmas.

Other activities to be held during the Garden Terrace 12 days of Christmas include a six geese a-laying scavenger hunt, an eight maids a-milking cookies-and-milk social, and an 11 pipers piping music therapy program.

This is the first time Garden Terrace has hosted this program over the holidays. The idea came from Rachael wanting to do something both different and engaging for residents.

Rachael says it was challenging to find themes to match each day mentioned in the song, “especially since so many are about birds,” she laughs, but by working together the life enrichment team was able to create a 12-day schedule focused on the song.

“I wanted to do something unique, and I thought about The Twelve Days of Christmas,” she says. “We went over it as a team and we collaborated on some ideas that we thought the residents would enjoy.”

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