Safari month takes Frost Manor residents on an in-house jungle trip

Decorations and activities have been centred on a safari theme for August

Anyone walking through Frost Manor this month will find themselves surrounded by an array of animals normally only seen in a jungle habitat.

That’s because August is “safari month” at the Lindsay, Ont. long-term care home, and the animals on-site, which include a monkey, a giraffe, a tiger and an elephant, are among the creative decorations designed by the life enrichment team that are included in a mural on a wall in the activity room.

“We had safari month and it was a lot of fun,” Amy Whitehead, Frost Manor’s life enrichment co-ordinator, tells The OMNIway.

“We made our large dining room, small dining room and our lounge all look like a safari. … The residents really loved it. It has been a lot of fun this month.”

In addition to the mural, life enrichment aide Sarah Thayer, who is a skilled balloon artist, made animal balloons as well as a large safari Jeep that was put in the lounge.

Throughout August, games with jungle animal and safari themes have been prominent, Amy says.

“We had safari bingo, we had ‘feed the crocodile’, we had Hungry Hungry Hippos and ‘rhino ring toss’,” she says.

Every month the life enrichment team creates a theme to engage residents.

Amy explains how team members are inspired to create themes.

“We will have one idea in our head and take that and roll with it and make it into something much bigger than we had thought, which is wonderful,” she says.

Amy adds that some new Frost Manor team members got to experience the fun culture the home provides during safari month.

“We have had some new staff here, and when they saw everything that we’ve done, they thought it was awesome,” she says.

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‘Streamway is A-1 in my books’

Family member Gladys Morris praises Streamway Villa’s staff members for the love they showed her brother

Gladys Morris recalls the day her brother, Doug, moved into Streamway Villa in October 2018.

At first, Doug was reluctant to make the change from being on his own to living in a long-term care home, but once he got to Streamway, he changed his mind, Gladys says.

“The first day he was there, he felt at home, he fit right in,” Gladys tells The OMNIway.

What made a difference to Doug was the Streamway Villa staff and the family atmosphere the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home provides, Gladys says.

Gladys says what made a difference to her is the Streamway Villa team’s resident-centred focus. There was always someone for Doug to talk with and there were always things for Doug and other residents to do, she notes.

This was evident from Day 1, Gladys says.

“I found that the staff members went above and beyond,” she says. “I cannot say enough good things about the staff members. They put the residents first, sometimes above even their own families.”

Doug recently passed away at Streamway Villa. Gladys says the care her brother received from staff and the friendships he cultivated among those living and working at the home had a positive impact on his quality of life during the nearly three years he lived at the home.

Gladys recalls the social aspects Doug enjoyed at Streamway Villa.

The home is located near Cobourg’s city centre, and Gladys notes how before the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020, staff members would often take residents to nearby restaurants for lunch or to any events happening in town.

“They would always take a group of the residents down to the strawberry social at the Waterfront Festival,” she says.

Then there were the in-house programs Doug enjoyed at Streamway Villa.

“He loved the music programs that they have there, and when people would bring children in he would just be in his glory, he just loved children,” Gladys says.

When the pandemic began, Streamway Villa, like other long-term care homes, immediately put restrictions in place to keep everyone safe. Family members were unable to visit their loved ones living in long-term care homes in the following months, but Gladys says the Streamway team continued to keep residents’ spirits high and contact was maintained with families through frequent phone calls and video calls.

“The love they have shown the residents during the pandemic (has been outstanding) and they were so good to the family members as well,” she says.

“Streamway is A-1 in my books.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story.

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Springdale’s friendly, compassionate staff and smaller size give the home a family feel: family member

‘That small, community feel provides a trusted and intimate care that we find at Springdale’

Rob Wallace says Springdale Country Manor’s friendly, compassionate staff members and the home’s smaller size provide a family-like atmosphere and a “community feel” that make it the right long-term care home for his mother to live.

For three years Rob’s mom has called Springdale Country Manor home. Since his mother has lived at the Peterborough-area long-term care home, Rob says he has become familiar with residents and their families as well as the staff members on a first-name basis.

Something as seemingly small as this makes a big difference, he says.

“That small, community feel provides a trusted and intimate care that we find at Springdale,” Rob tells The OMNIway, adding that with 68 beds, Springdale is a smaller home.

“You know everybody and everybody knows you.”

Even Springdale Country Manor’s architecture adds to the home’s comfortable feel, Rob says, noting the home’s “quadrangle shape allows people to walk around and never get lost.”

Rob also notes that many people working at Springdale Country Manor are longtime staff members. The staff retention says something about the culture of the home, he says.

“It (tells you) that the staff is really appreciated there and is really committed to their jobs,” Rob says.

“That rings loudly and clearly for us, and it’s a true testament to the quality of the organization when you can retain staff for that length of time.”

Rob, who is now an essential caregiver for his mother at the home, says Springdale life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney has been an outstanding team member.

Throughout the pandemic, Sonia has shown her support to Rob and his family, and that has made a positive impact, Rob says.

“When I send her an e-mail, I hear back from her right away,” he says of Sonia.

“She’s really compassionate and I see how she treats the other staff and how the residents respond to her. She is one of many who (Springdale) is really lucky to have.”

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story.

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Talent show encourages Garden Terrace residents and staff to share their gifts

Residents and staff showcased their singing, dancing and artistic abilities at Aug. 10 talent show

During the August heatwave, the Garden Terrace life enrichment team was looking for a fun and safe way to engage residents with an indoor activity, and it was then life enrichment aide Alex Howell came up with the idea for a talent show.

On Aug. 10, the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home’s residents and team members participated in a safe, indoor activity that provided them with an opportunity to showcase their gifts for singing, dancing and acting – while staying indoors and keeping cool.

Some residents sang, while others danced or showed their artwork. One resident who sang did a number from an album that was never released, notes life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

Garden Terrace staff members also had the opportunity to take to the stage and show their talents, with one staff member performing a comedy act, while another staff member did cartwheels. One staff member did magic tricks for everyone.

Asked what residents enjoyed most about the event, Rachael says it was the singing.

“Their singing for sure, (because) they were able to bring out a part of themselves from something they enjoyed doing years ago,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The staff really enjoyed the songs the residents sang.”

Due to restrictions in place to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, activities in long-term care homes have been limited to small groups, and team members have been thinking outside the box to develop programs to meet residents’ needs.

Rachael commends Alex for coming up with the idea for the talent show.

“He was looking for an idea to get residents involved in something fun and he thought of a talent show, which was awesome,” she says.

“It was nice that they all got to have a good laugh together as a small group.”

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Springdale team described as ‘an extended family’

Family member Rob Wallace says friendships between staff and residents’ loved ones have been especially important during the pandemic

Rob Wallace says one of the most noticeable strengths about Springdale Country Manor is its family atmosphere.

And it’s the people working at the Peterborough-area long-term care home who have made Springdale a homey, comforting place, not just for residents but also for their families, says Rob, whose mother has been a Springdale resident for about three years.

Having this atmosphere was reassuring to Rob and his sisters that their mother was in good hands when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Due to protocols put in place to keep everyone safe, families could not visit their loved ones in long-term care homes for several months after the pandemic began.

As difficult as this was for residents and their families, Rob says the Springdale Country Manor team worked hard to ensure everyone was staying in touch with their loved ones through video calls on FaceTime.

“It was tough to not be able to go in and see my mother, (but) Springdale was happy to set up FaceTime visits,” Rob tells The OMNIway.

“We did visit her two or three times a week (on FaceTime). The staff would set up a location for my mother to sit, and they were really helpful. It was important for my mother to hear our voices.”

Rob and one of his sisters, who also lives in Peterborough, are now essential caregivers for their mother at Springdale. Between Rob and his sister, their mother is having near-daily visits which has benefited everyone.

Before the pandemic began and right up to today, Rob says the Springdale staff has maintained its family atmosphere which has been important during this challenging time.

Staff members approach residents and their families as they would their own family and friends – on a “personal level,” Rob says. This holds true for people working in all departments at the home, he adds.

“The staff, in a way, became more like an extended family,” he says. “They are an extended family because they’re looking after our mother, and that’s important. We have absolute faith in the staff.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story.

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In-house parade highlights final day of Streamway Villa Olympics

Team members worked hard to decorate residents’ wheelchairs and walkers

When Streamway Villa concluded the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home’s Olympic Games on July 30, staff members hosted a special parade for residents that was highlighted by a wheelchair and walker decorating contest.

“All the staff got involved and decorated all the residents’ wheelchairs and walkers, then we had a parade to show them all off,” Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Laurie Kracht tells The OMNIway.

First place honours went to resident Alice Roberts, whose family members printed photos from the Streamway Villa Facebook page and attached them to her wheelchair with lights. Alice’s family members also decorated a hat she wore during the parade.

The second-place award went to resident Doug Carruthers, a farmer by trade, whose wheelchair was decorated as a Cub Cadet tractor by personal support worker Linda Norton, who came to the home on her own time to make sure Doug’s design would be a winner.

Third place honours went to a very “patriotic” resident, Emmett, “who loves Canada and always says we need to talk about our history to keep it alive,” Laurie says.

Throughout the week of July 26-30, the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home celebrated the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games with a myriad of Olympic-themed events that engaged residents.

The parade capped off a memorable week for everyone.

“During the parade, we all had a really good laugh and we all needed it after the year we have had,” Laurie says.

Following the parade, Laurie bought pizza for all of the staff members who helped the residents decorate. She wanted to celebrate the team effort and hard work that went into organizing the Olympic-themed week.

“I was really proud of everyone that got involved because I know how busy everyone is,” Laurie says.

“I look forward to a non-pandemic world where we can really do more things as a team and show our residents how much we all love them – and, of course, have more really good laughs.”

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Creative, engaging programming continues to be a top strength among OMNI homes

Recent examples include a Great Gatsby-themed event, a unique drumming program and a carnival that brought back fond memories

Coming up with ways to develop safe, creative programming that engages residents and meets their needs on a variety of levels has continued to be a top strength for life enrichment teams at OMNI Health Care long-term care homes.

The OMNIway has been speaking with OMNI life enrichment departments about recent programming ideas they have developed to enhance quality of life for residents during the pandemic.

At Woodland Villa, life enrichment aides Melissa Cleary and Liana Charbonneau turned to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic 1925 novel The Great Gatsby for programming inspiration.

The duo created a 1920s-themed socially distanced event based on the book. Residents wore accessories common during the Roaring Twenties – such as masquerade masks and pearls – as well as danced to popular music of the era.

“We wanted to incorporate a little of the 1920s era because we have never included that era in any of our themed programs, and a lot of our residents know about the music and the decorations from that time, so they really appreciated the atmosphere of the day,” Melissa tells The OMNIway.

In the spring, Frost Manor life enrichment co-ordinator Amy Whitehead took an online training session about the DROM program. DROM is an activity that merges drumming techniques with the meditation chant called the “om”.

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 beating drumsticks on stability balls to the rhythm of songs Amy plays for them. The final segment, the “calming portion”, focuses on positive affirmation and meditation.

Amy says the program, which is held in small groups to adhere to protocols in place to keep everyone safe during the pandemic, has been a big hit with residents.

“Everyone goes away feeling good and can carry on with their day on a positive note,” she says.

Meanwhile, at Garden Terrace, LEC Rachael King and her team created a carnival day outside that brought back many fond memories for residents.

The July 9 carnival included a candy-floss machine, a target game played with bean bags, a T-shirt painting contest (done with a water gun) and carnival music.

Residents even got to give staff members a few pies in the face.

“Residents had a really fun time,” Rachael says. “They got to have fun and not worry because it has been a tough year.

West Lake Terrace honours therapy dog Gibson at a memorial service

Gibson, who recently passed away, served as a much-loved volunteer at the home for five years

West Lake Terrace residents and staff members said goodbye to a valued four-legged volunteer who spent five years bringing love and happiness to everyone at the Prince Edward County long-term care home.

A memorial service was held at the home Aug. 11 to honour Gibson, a pug owned by volunteer Lesley Campbell. Gibson passed away recently and the loss has deeply affected residents and staff members, says life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard.

“It was a very emotional day for the residents and staff as we said our goodbye to Gibson,” she tells The OMNIway.

Gibson, a St. John Ambulance therapy dog, began his pet-therapy journey at West Lake Terrace in 2016. In addition to West Lake Terrace, Gibson and Lesley volunteered at three retirement homes in the area as well as at Hospice Prince Edward, Pathways to Independence and Community Living Prince Edward.

“Gibson touched so many people during his time with us, and Lesley did so much for our home we can’t begin to express our sincere appreciation to her,” Janie says.

“A resident commented to me (after the service), ‘we lost a very special member of our family. No one could ever replace our Gibby.’ ”

Indeed, Gibson’s volunteering services were valued at West Lake Terrace. During special occasions and holidays, Gibson would show up at the home in costumes, such as the Easter bunny or as a pumpkin at Halloween.

After the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, volunteers were not able to visit West Lake Terrace due to safety restrictions in place. However, Gibson and Lesley still made regular window visits to say hello to the residents and staff members they were missing.

Janie says the memorial service was emotional. At the same time, everyone felt grateful to have had five years of visits from Gibson, she adds.

“Lots of tears were shed, but we also feel very blessed to have had Gibson become a part of our West Lake Terrace family, and (we) witnessed the true unconditional love Gibson had for our residents,” Janie says.

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Being an essential caregiver has been ‘absolutely wonderful,’ says daughter of Springdale resident

Maureen Whiteside says both she and her mother are benefiting from the in-home visits they’ve shared in recent months

Since becoming an essential caregiver in March, Maureen Whiteside has been at Springdale Country Manor regularly to spend one-to-one time with her mother, an experience she describes as being “absolutely wonderful.”

Maureen says visiting her mother three times a week at the Peterborough-area long-term care home has meant a lot to both her and her mother.

“You can’t believe the difference,” Maureen tells The OMNIway. “(My mother) really appreciates the visits and always asks when the next visit is.”

Maureen’s mother moved to Springdale Country Manor only weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. When the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization, Springdale, like other long-term care homes across Ontario, put pandemic protocols in place immediately and restricted visitation.

While Maureen and her mom were not able to have in-home visits for months, they did have regular phone calls and window visits, but as Maureen says, nothing beats being with her mother in person.

During her regular visits with her mom, Maureen says she has witnessed the compassion Springdale team members show residents. She says staff members go out of their way to give Springdale a homey, family-like atmosphere.

“I like that they chit-chat with all the residents,” she says. “They have pet names for the residents and they just are very happy and comfortable talking with the residents. That’s a big comfort. … They try to make it homey.”

One thing residents have been missing since the pandemic began is in-home entertainment, but Maureen says the Springdale team “tries to make up for that with personal visits and camaraderie.”

Before moving to Springdale, Maureen’s mother lived at Riverview Manor, another OMNI Health Care long-term care home.

Maureen says her mother also received outstanding care while living at Riverview and wants team members at that home to know how much she appreciates the staff.

“Mom spent several months at Riverview before going to Springdale, and I would like to give kudos to Riverview as well,” she says. “They were absolutely awesome.”

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story.

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Summer Games inspire Garden Terrace to host an Olympic day

About 30 residents participate in safe, outdoor day of friendly competition

With all the excitement the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games generated, the residents of Garden Terrace wanted to have their own Olympic-style competitions at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home, so life enrichment team members made it happen.

On Aug. 9, the Garden Terrace courtyard was set up for a stream of events for residents to enjoy. The events included an egg-and-spoon race on an obstacle course, basketball, a target toss and a cup-stacking event where residents competed to stack and then unstack cups as quickly as possible.

About 30 residents competed in the events and pandemic-safe measures, such as mask-wearing for staff and social distancing, were in full effect, says Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

Of course, no Olympic competition would be complete without awarding medals, so life enrichment team members made gold, silver, bronze and participation medals to hand out after the events, Rachael says.

The Olympic day was a big hit with residents, she adds.

“A lot of the residents were really excited about the Summer Olympics going on, so we thought it would be a good idea to have our own Olympics,” Rachael tells The OMNIway.

Rachael says the life enrichment staff members did an outstanding job of organizing the event and creating banners and other decorations.

“They did a really awesome job,” she says.

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