Residents make Christmas ornaments during Country Terrace clay-sculpting program

Their creations are being used to decorate the home’s Christmas trees

Country Terrace residents recently got to make clay Christmas ornaments during a unique program the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home recently hosted.

2Hands Clay, a local company offering clay-sculpting supplies and kiln services, provided all the items residents needed for the activity. The company’s owner dropped off the supplies and then collected residents’ ornaments, which were then fired in the kiln 2Hands Clay operates.

Working with the Country Terrace life enrichment team, 12 residents came up with their ornament designs then sculpted the clay they were provided to make the decorations. Residents then painted the ornaments, which were then ready to be fired in the kiln.

Country Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Lora Blackett says this program helped residents tap into their creative side, adding they came up with a wide range of designs for their ornaments.

“They made snowmen and snowflakes, one resident made a duck, whatever piqued their interest that day they made,” she tells The OMNIway.

Christine, the owner of 2Hands Clay, recently dropped off the finished ornaments, which are being hung on the Christmas trees that dot the home.

Lora says residents “loved” the program and the results it yielded.

“They thought it was a lot of fun and they would love to do it again,” she says.

Given the success the program garnered on its maiden run, Lora says she hopes to offer it a couple of times per year going forward.

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2021: a year of challenges but also hope

During the past year, OMNI Health Care has continued to face challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but our 18 long-term care homes have continued to adapt to changing circumstances and we are now seeing light on the horizon.

Unquestionably, the greatest positive change we saw in 2021 was the availability of vaccines – first for residents and soon after for staff members – at the start of the year.

With all staff members and most eligible residents now vaccinated against the highly contagious COVID-19 virus, residents are now able to have in-house visits with their loved ones, and many homes have eased restrictions on valuable aspects of life in long-term care, such as having pet therapy and live musical entertainment.

This, of course, has had an immensely positive impact on residents’ quality of life, which was certainly evident when we saw residents participating in summer celebrations as well as Remembrance Day and Halloween events this year.

Behind the scenes, staff members continued to be champions of keeping residents and each other safe during the pandemic in 2021. The changing directives from the province and public health units often required our teams to mobilize quickly and ensure new policies were adhered to and their colleagues and families were kept up to date.

We know how hard people have worked, and these efforts have paid off.

Another positive note for OMNI in 2021 is the continued momentum with our capital redevelopment projects.

In addition to construction work being well underway on expansions to four OMNI homes – Almonte Country Haven, Country Terrace, Pleasant Meadow Manor and Woodland Villa – we are also forging ahead with the approvals for our Riverview Manor redevelopment, as well as the development of plans to rebuild and expand Streamway Villa in Cobourg and Village Green in Greater Napanee.

The Ontario government has also opened applications again for redevelopment, and we are once again in the process of submitting applications for our remaining homes.

We look forward to the year ahead and we thank everyone for a job well done.

Creative staff turned Village Green into a jungle and pirate ship this year

Creativity is one of OMNI Health Care’s core values, and it’s a value the Village Green team embraced in 2021, resulting in fun, memorable programs for residents.

In April, Village Green residents were treated to an African safari that included a tour where they spotted different animals and learned about several creatures that live in a jungle habitat.

The life enrichment team and Griffin Newton, a co-op placement student at the time, led residents through the Greater Napanee long-term care home on a safari to search out the variety of “animals” that were made from pieces of cardboard cut into the shapes of different creatures and then painted by Griffin and his family.

The animals were created with “amazing” detail, Village Green life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick noted.

Residents and their safari guides walked through Village Green looking for tigers, gazelles and other animals that one may spot on a safari.

Ulana said the activities from Safari Day met residents’ needs on many levels. Aside from being fun and educational for residents, the day also had social aspects and also proved to be a way to get people exercising.

“Walking in the halls, they were exercising without even realizing it,” Ulana said.

In September, team members once again changed the home’s ambiance, this time turning the activity room into a pirate ship and marking it with the jolly roger flag for High Seas Adventure Day.

Team members dressed up in pirate costumes and residents could put on a pirate hat embossed with the skull and crossbones to have their photos taken.

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.

There was also a high seas-themed exercise class many residents participated in. Residents were even “certified” as pirates for the day, Ulana said.

“Residents were given a pirate name and an honorary pirate certificate,” she said.

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Willows Estate is celebrating three resident centenarians this holiday season

Hamedian Ali, Mildred Bowen and Ellison Milne all turned 100 in 2021

The holiday season at Willows Estate is extra special this year, as the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home is also celebrating its three most senior residents who turned 100 in 2021.

Team members at the Willows recently took a holiday photo of the three residents, Hamedian Ali, Mildred Bowen and Ellison Milne, who were dressed in Santa Claus caps and posed in front of a Christmas tree.

The three ladies reached their milestone birthdays within recent months, and their family members and Willows Estate staff helped them celebrate their special days when they arrived, notes Teddy Mazzuca, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

Ellison’s family members helped the Willows team host a tea party to celebrate her birthday, complete with fancy china cups. Her daughter also brought in a cake and lots of photos of Ellison – who is affectionately called “Ellie” – to share with everyone and celebrate her mother’s life.

Hamedian’s family and Willows staff members celebrated her birthday by organizing a patio lunch for her.

Mildred’s 100th birthday was also celebrated at the Willows.

Teddy says all three of the centenarians are active and enjoy participating in programs and events.

“They’re all very involved at the home,” she says.

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Frost Manor gets Krispy Kremes for special treat day

Volunteer Helene Waddell donates boxes of the famous doughnuts for residents and staff to enjoy

Frost Manor residents and staff members were recently on the receiving end of some “sweet” kindness when boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts were delivered to the Lindsay long-term care home.

With so many doughnuts, team members organized a treat day for everyone.

The Krispy Kreme doughnuts – which are famous the world over for their sweet, rich flavour – were donated by Helene Waddell, who served as a volunteer at the home for many years.

Helene bought the doughnuts at a fundraiser hosted by a local dance company, Spotlight Dance Productions.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Helene has not been volunteering at Frost Manor, but she is still connected to the home and wanted to do something nice for residents and staff members, says Amy Whitehead, Frost Manor’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

To take things up a notch, the life enrichment team jazzed up the home’s tuck cart with the Krispy Kreme logo and the company’s colours – red, white and green – to deliver the doughnuts to residents.

Amy says team members had lots of fun making the cart, and the Krispy Kreme treat day was a big hit with everyone.

“It was great; the residents love treat days, but it was extra good for them because they got Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which are not available very often,” she tells The OMNIway.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Left to right, Frost Manor resident Joan Charlebois and life enrichment aides Sarah Thayer and Taylor Davies are seen here during Krispy Kreme day at the home.

West Lake dining room window decorated with Christmas art, thanks to creative team member

Screener Annette Bourette commended for sharing her artistic talent with residents and staff

If you go past the large dining room window at West Lake Terrace these days you’ll see some detailed Christmas-themed murals painted on the glass.

This creative yuletide art, which includes a decorated Christmas tree, a snowman and candy canes, is the handiwork of Annette Bourette, a screener at the Prince Edward County long-term care home.

Annette took on the entire dining room window as a Christmas decorating project, an initiative that has been fully embraced by West Lake residents and staff members.

“It’s just unbelievable what she has been able to do,” says life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard.

“We didn’t know that Annette could paint the way that she does, but I think that a lot of the staff have these huge talents that we don’t see.”

Janie says Annette approached her about painting the window a couple of weeks back, and she was on board with the idea. Annette even bought her own supplies to get the job done.

Residents have been awestruck by Annette’s artistic talents, Janie says, noting they have been by her side watching her carefully paint each mural on the window.

“Residents have been sitting with her and watching and waiting to see what the finished product is going to look like,” Janie says, adding Annette deserves the highest kudos for doing such an “amazing” job.

“She has gone above and beyond; it has been unbelievable.”

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Countdown to Christmas starts at Garden Terrace

It’s official; the holiday season has started at Garden Terrace.

On Nov. 25, exactly one month before Christmas Day, the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home was lit up with Christmas lights team members had put up in the courtyard, officially marking the countdown.

To make things even more “Christmassy,” director of care Christine Ritchie went around singing Christmas carols to the residents, and a few residents tagged along as she went room to room.

Residents and staff also did some Christmas decorating and enjoyed hot chocolate.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King says residents enjoyed marking the start of the countdown to Christmas.

“They loved it; it was really nice because when all the lights were lit up they were all waving at each other from their rooms and it was nice reminiscing for them,” she tells The OMNIway.

With all the lights, decorations and, yes, Christmas trees at the home, Rachael says everyone at Garden Terrace is ready for the holiday season.

“We have got three trees per floor, we have decorations and we’re ready for Christmas,” she says.

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