Village Green residents spend a day talking like pirates

For the second straight year, residents and team members celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

It may be an unusual day, but International Talk Like a Pirate Day has become a part of the culture at Village Green.

For the second straight year, the Selby, Ont. long-term care home has celebrated International Talk Like a Pirate Day with pirate-themed activities and by encouraging everyone to talk with their best pirate accent.

While International Talk Like a Pirate Day is Sept. 19, the event was postponed until Sept. 26 so residents and staff members could honour Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her funeral, notes Village Green life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick.

Between phrases that may have included things like “shiver me timbers!” and “weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!” residents enjoyed dressing up in pirate apparel and visiting a tattoo parlour that had been set up.

A popular event of the day was a “minute to win it” digging-for-gold game, Ulana adds.

There was also an educational component to the day, with residents learning about the history of pirates and competing in pirate trivia.

According to several online sources, International Talk Like a Pirate Day was conceived by friends John Baur and Mark Summers of Oregon, USA, in 1995 during racquetball game.

As the story goes, one of the men let out a loud, pirate-like “aarrr!” after sustaining an injury on the court, and from that, an idea was born.

Ulana says one of the benefits of the day was that it engaged residents of all abilities in an entertaining program that generated lots of excitement.

“The residents all had a lot of fun,” she says.

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OMNI’s exceptional food quality and team members’ love for their work shine through during March Madness contest

Between March and September, The OMNIway showcased examples of the amazing food residents in OMNI Health Care’s long-term care homes enjoy, prepared by dedicated team members who are committed to their art.

The March Madness recipe challenge encouraged nutritional care team members to choose their favourite recipes and enter them in the bracket contest, which was similar to sports playoffs.

During the contest, nutritional care managers and cooks prepared their favourite meals, plated them and took photos that were sent to OMNI head office. The photos were accompanied by the name of each meal and its recipe.

Eighteen recipes were submitted, and team members had fun showcasing their talents, which was exactly what Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, was aiming for when he created the contest.

Once the photos and recipes were posted online, OMNIway readers and OMNI team members voted for their favourite recipes. The contest ran each week until early May.

The winning recipe was a Mediterranean omelette created by Country Terrace nutritional care team member Josephine Goddard. The omelette is a medley of spinach, eggplant, red pepper, mushrooms, onions, feta cheese and garlic.

What truly shone through during this six-month story series was how much nutritional care team members enjoy their work and how they marry their love of food with their dedication to residents.

Team members shared how they were inspired to create the recipes they entered, and there were some interesting stories behind these meals.

One team member shared a childhood memory of the meatball stew her mother would make; another was inspired to submit the recipe for the roast turkey he often makes for Sunday lunch.

What stood out during the March Madness contest was how team members wanted to share their favourite food memories with the residents they serve.

That’s a special kind of commitment.

Police engage Streamway residents in fraud prevention

The Cobourg Police Service hosted an information session to raise awareness of a spike in phone scams

A representative from the Cobourg Police Service (CPS) recently led an information session at Streamway Villa to raise awareness about a rise in telephone scams aimed at seniors in the area and to help protect residents from becoming victims.

Knowing many long-term-care home residents have their own phone lines, the police department reached out to Streamway Villa in September to offer this service, explains Laurie Kracht, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

Acting detective James Egas explained how so-called “grandparent scams” are committed by fraudsters who play on people’s emotional vulnerabilities in order to get their financial information.

Most often, fraudsters pose as family members in trouble and needing money; some will pretend to be police officers or lawyers telling the potential victim that a loved one is ill, injured or in jail and needs money, he explained.

Residents were told the best defence against becoming telephone fraud victims is to never give out any personal or financial information over the phone.

Some residents explained they have received such calls, but because they were aware of the scam they hung up, which is the correct action, Det. Egas explained.

Laurie says there was a large turnout for the presentation, and residents paid close attention throughout the session, asking Det. Egas questions afterward.

Aside from being a valuable educational session for residents, the presentation also opened the door for future community partnerships with the CPS, Laurie says.

“This was a perfect opportunity to get back into the community and bring (the police) in,” she says. “Moving forward, they would love to come back to the home in the future.”

Laurie says any long-term-care home staff looking to offer a fraud-prevention session to their residents can contact their local police service for information.

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CPSW 2022 focusing on continuously improving safety for older adults through dialogue and action

The 18th annual campaign runs Oct. 24-28

Canadian Patient Safety Week (CPSW) kicks off today (Oct. 24), and this year’s campaign is emphasizing the importance of continuously improving safety for older adults through dialogue and action.

On its website, CPSW organizer Healthcare Excellence Canada states that conversation is the catalyst for creating a stronger safety culture across the greater health-care continuum, which is why the theme “Press Play on Safety Conversations” was chosen for CPSW 2022.

“When we have safety conversations, it changes the way we think about safety,” the Healthcare Excellence Canada website says. “Ask questions, listen and act.”

While Canadian long-term care homes, hospitals and other health-care providers place safety as a top priority, the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020, has added another layer of safety challenges, Healthcare Excellence Canada says.

To help overcome these challenges and get safety conversations started, Healthcare Excellence Canada has created a free toolkit for health-care stakeholders to use to engage people.

The toolkit includes tips on how to provide safe spaces and initiate discussions about safety in order to work towards positive outcomes as well as a list of webinars and other virtual events care providers can use to learn more about continuous quality improvement as it relates to safety.

Given the additional strain Canadian health-care providers are experiencing today due to the pandemic, Healthcare Excellence Canada says it’s crucial to get more safety-centred conversations started to mitigate risks.

“Now more than ever, we need to focus on patient and healthcare provider safety,” the organization says. “Together we can create safety, eliminate incidents of unintended harm, as well as act on and learn from errors.”

Now in its 18th year, CPSW is an annual campaign aimed at encouraging stakeholders across the greater health-care sector to focus on safety.

Click here to learn more about Canadian Patient Safety Week.

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Contest win nets Village Green residents’ council new info boards

An $800 gift certificate will help make the boards more eye-catching

Village Green’s residents’ council will be getting new, state-of-the-art information boards to help share important news and updates after being named one of the winners of the Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils’ (OARC’s) Show Us Your Boards contest.

The Selby, Ont. long-term care home won an $800 gift certificate to improve its residents’ council boards during a draw that was held by the OARC at the end of Residents’ Council Week.

Before Residents’ Council Week, which was Sept. 12-18, the OARC asked Ontario long-term care homes to submit photos of their residents’ council information boards along with a description of improvements residents’ council members would like to see made to their boards.

In their submission, Village Green residents’ council members stated the current boards have too much white space and the lettering needs to be larger.

“There is so much great information, but it needs to be more eye-catching,” noted one council member.

Among items included on residents’ council information boards are the monthly program and events calendar, council meeting minutes, important notices from home management and residents’ council pamphlets.

Village Green life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick says the boards are important to residents, and while the new boards will be more eye-catching, the information will be the same.

“When asked what they like about our bulletin boards here at Village Green, almost all residents said that they like that the information is up to date and complete,” Ulana says.

“They can always rely on the bulletin boards as a source of information, and they are a great way to plan their day and week.”

With their gift certificate, Village Green will create standout information boards that will continue to post the information residents want but in a more striking way, just as residents have requested, Ulana says.

Ulana says the contest helped Village Green in its continuous quality improvement journey, adding the home would have made the changes residents requested even if they didn’t win a prize.

“I am so glad that OARC came up with this contest,” she says. “It sparked a great conversation with our residents’ council about the boards, and we have some plans on how to improve them.”

Residents’ Council Week is organized each year by OARC and aims to raise awareness about the important role residents’ councils play in long-term care homes.

Residents’ councils are mandated by the Ministry of Long-Term Care and serve to empower residents and help them make the most of their experience living in long-term care homes.

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Tea and Toast program gets Springdale residents reminiscing

‘We have heard so many great personal stories’

A new reminiscing program at Springdale Country Manor is proving to be successful at engaging the Peterborough County long-term care home’s residents – and all it takes is a loaf of thinly sliced bread, a stick of butter and a pot of tea.

The Tea and Toast program is the brainchild of life enrichment aide (LEA) Michelle Geeves, who wanted to develop a program for residents that would get them chatting and sharing stories from their past.

Michelle will set a table with cups, saucers, plates, toast slices and a pot of tea. She’ll then invite residents to sit down for a chat. She will have a list of questions with her to prompt discussions.

These questions will include everything from “Where were you when Elvis died?” to “What kinds of fruits and vegetables did you preserve in the summertime?”

And lots of great conversations have stemmed from these questions, Michelle says.

“We have heard so many great personal stories,” she tells The OMNIway.

Michelle developed the Tea and Toast program several years ago when she worked for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON).

The program worked so well she decided to try it out with Springdale Country Manor residents, and she hasn’t looked back.

The beauty of the program, Michelle says, is that once a question is asked, the answers residents give will lead to more discussions on another topic – and those discussions will lead to more chatting.

“This is why the program works so well,” Michelle says.

But there are two things Michelle has discovered that are needed for the Tea and Toast program to work well at Springdale.

“The toast has to be thin and there has to be real butter – never margarine, only real butter,” she says. “The residents won’t have it any other way.”

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Innovative thinking remains in high gear at OMNI homes

Team members working in OMNI Health Care homes have been showing their ingenuity throughout autumn and using their knack for innovative thinking to create programs and ideas to help keep quality of life high for the residents they serve.

Michelle Geeves, a new life enrichment aide (LEA) at Springdale Country Manor, recently created a program that’s bringing residents back to primetime TV of the 1980s.

The program, called Laughing with the Golden Girls, sees residents watching episodes of the Golden Girls on DVD and then participating in trivia about the program and a discussion about the episode over cheesecake – the Golden Girls’ favourite dessert.

“Residents remember the Golden Girls well, and we have cheesecake because that was the Golden Girls’ favourite snack,” Michelle tells The OMNIway.

“We all laughed and thought it was fun.”

The Laughing with the Golden Girls program has prompted lots of reminiscing about the days when it was a top-rated TV show, says Springdale life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

“Michelle gets a good group of residents together and they sit around and chat and create memories and do all kinds of fun stuff,” she says.

It has been Christmas year-round at Riverview Manor for the past 22 months, thanks to the ingenuity of one of the home’s LEAs.

With limited space in the two dining rooms for Christmas trees – due to COVID-19 pandemic protocols, residents have been spaced six feet apart during mealtimes – Tina Hutchinson came up with the idea to put trees on corner walls in December 2020.

Tina and the life enrichment team attached branches from the home’s artificial Christmas trees to the walls and decorated them with holiday-themed ornaments and lights as they do every holiday season.

After the Christmas season ended, the team decided to leave the trees up and add decorations throughout the year to match seasonal themes, Tina explains, noting the trees have remained popular conversation pieces among residents.

“So now, decorations for every season, every holiday, are put up on the tree,” she says.

At Maplewood, staff members are being encouraged to bring their pets to work from home to spend time with residents and their colleagues. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maplewood residents received frequent and meaningful visits from St. John Ambulance therapy dogs and their handlers.

But while restrictions began easing this year and other volunteers started returning, Maplewood has been unable to get the pet therapy visits residents enjoyed prior to the pandemic, says administrator Rachel Corkery.

In some cases, volunteers have moved away or have retired from volunteering, resulting in a shortage of pet therapy volunteers.

This is where staff can help, Rachel says.

Allowing staff members to bring their pets to spend the day at the home is a three-way symbiotic relationship, she says: a pet, such as a dog, visiting the home pleases residents and staff, and the animal is getting lots of attention as well, she notes.

“It’s hard not to smile to smile when you see a pet, especially something like a little puppy, walking through the home,” she says.

LEA brings her strong creative spark to Springdale Country Manor

Michelle Geeves says she enjoys having the freedom to create meaningful programs for residents

Since coming to Springdale Country Manor in early August, Michelle Geeves has been thriving in her role as a life enrichment aide (LEA) at the Peterborough-area long-term care home and creating innovative programs residents love.

Michelle, who has previously held positions at another long-term care home as well as with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), says one of the things that stands out for her at Springdale is the strong enthusiasm residents have for the programs the home offers.

“It will be 1:30 p.m. and the program will start at 2 p.m. and they’re all wanting to know what the program is and where it will be,” Michelle tells The OMNIway.

“The residents here are just so eager to participate in all the programs. I love that.”

In her two months working at Springdale Country Manor, Michelle says two of the programs she has been most proud of spearheading are Laughing with the Golden Girls and Tea and Toast.

The Laughing with the Golden Girls program starts with residents watching DVDs of the hit TV show the Golden Girls, which ran from 1985 until 1992. After the episode is over, residents will gather around a table with Michelle and discuss the episode over cheesecake, the Golden Girls’ favourite snack.

During the Tea and Toast program, residents will sit around a table and have a chat over a pot of tea and slices of thin toast served with butter.

What’s “really important” to residents is that the toast is made with thin slices of bread, and they only want “real butter” – never margarine, Michelle says.

Having the ability to bring new ideas to the table and share them with residents is important to Michelle.

“It’s amazing; I love to be creative and I feel I can definitely be creative here,” she says.

Asked what she likes best about working at Springdale, Michelle doesn’t hesitate in her response.

“The residents – I just really like the bonds that I am building and the rapport that I am building with the residents and their families,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, Springdale Country Manor life enrichment aide Michelle Geeves and life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney pose for a photo at the home Oct. 6.

Willows Estate LEC underscores the value of one-to-one programming

Life enrichment team members will always make time for residents who need individualized programming, says Teddy Mazzuca

When it comes to finding meaningful programming to engage residents living with cognitive impairment, the wide variety of one-to-one activities Willows Estate offers are at the top of the list, says Teddy Mazzuca, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC).

And given the value residents find with one-to-one programming, the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment team members will always find time to engage residents in these activities, she adds.

Residents affected by cognitive impairment will sometimes become agitated in group settings and will be unable to participate, Teddy says. Because residents want the social and emotional benefits that come from programming, sitting down with a staff member and completing an activity that fits their needs can make a positive difference, she adds.

“And it can be anything from a hand massage to one-to-one colouring,” Teddy tells The OMNIway. “It can be a variety of programs that are strictly one-on-one.”

A popular one-to-one programming resource for residents is the home’s “sensory bin,” which is filled with a myriad of items ranging from building blocks to board games.

A favourite activity among many residents is sorting objects, and this works well in a one-to-one setting, Teddy says.

There’s also a program called Picture Perfect which sees life enrichment team members place colourful pictures of people, animals or objects on a table and the residents will engage in discussions about the pictures.

Teddy says one-to-one programs are geared to individual strengths and, therefore, each activity can be completed successfully.

While long-term care homes are at times challenged by staff shortages, life enrichment team members always find the extra time needed to spend with those residents who need it, Teddy says.

“We have to make sure we’re providing programming for each resident, whether that’s in a group setting or one-to-one,” she says.

“There is always a little bit of time, even if it’s 20 minutes in the day, where we can stop by and see someone.”

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Springdale residents clean their plates at pumpkin pie social

Annual event delivers fun, socializing and slices of a favourite autumn dessert

SPRINGVILLE, Ont. – Nothing says “autumn has arrived” like a slice of pumpkin pie with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and the residents of Springdale Country Manor were treated to a celebration of this favourite dessert during the Peterborough County long-term care home’s annual pumpkin pie social.

About 15 residents attended the Oct. 6 event, which saw them go through nearly three large pumpkin pies, much to the delight of one of the social’s organizers, life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney.

Sonia notes that special treats like pumpkin pie are a great way to get people to eat and socialize.

“Everybody loves pumpkin pie,” she told The OMNIway, while prepping pie slices for residents. “And we always offer it to the staff as well.”

In fact, the residents ate so much pie that there were only a few slices left for staff, Sonia noted.

Between slices of pie, team members engaged residents in a discussion about how to make the perfect pumpkin pie, and everyone shared their favourite tips.

Some residents were quick to point out errors others were committing when trying to make the perfect pie crust.

“You can’t overwork the pastry,” one resident advised a staff member.

After residents had finished their slice of pie (many also approached team members for second helpings), Sonia stood at the front of the dining room.

“Is everyone done? Do you need more food?” she asked.

A resounding “no!” was followed by streams of laughter.

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