Country Terrace residents and staff participate in Walk for Parkinson

Everyone was encouraged to walk, wheel or exercise to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease

Country Terrace residents and team members couldn’t attend the Parkinson Society of Southwestern Ontario’s annual Walk for Parkinson’s fundraiser this past weekend, so instead, they completed their own awareness event Sept. 5-9 at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home.

Almost every September Country Terrace participates in the Walk for Parkinson’s to support the Parkinson Society. During this year’s event, residents and team members walked, wheeled or did exercises with the physiotherapy and life enrichment teams to earn as many “shoes” as they could.

The shoes were cardboard cutouts of running shoes with participants’ names printed on them that were attached to poster boards team members made for the event, explains Country Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Lora Blackett.

She adds that residents and staff members from each Country Terrace neighbourhood had their own poster board.

Lora says there was “lots of resident participation” with about 10 to 15 residents from each of the home’s neighbourhoods coming out each day.

At the end of the week, the life enrichment team put all the shoes into a draw and three residents received prizes.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. According to Parkinson Canada, there are more than 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease, and 25 Canadians each day are diagnosed with the condition.

Click here to learn more about Parkinson Canada.

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Country Terrace residents take first lunch outing in two years to favourite spot

Trip to Mackie’s restaurant in Port Stanley brings back happy childhood memories

It had been more than two years since Country Terrace residents went on a lunchtime outing, so staff members at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home wanted to make sure they were treated to somewhere special as soon as they had a chance.

And the team knew just the place.

Mackie’s restaurant, located in Port Stanley, has been a fixture in southwestern Ontario since it opened on the shores of Lake Erie in 1911.

Since then, several generations have enjoyed the hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, and famous homemade beverage, Orangeade, the restaurant offers.

Many Country Terrace residents are among those who have fond memories of enjoying a meal at Mackie’s, says Lora Blackett, Country Terrace’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

On July 14, a group of 12 residents and staff members made the 45-minute drive to Port Stanley to have lunch at Mackie’s and enjoy the scenery of the beach town.

Given that this was the first outing of its kind since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2022, residents had an especially enjoyable time, Lora says.

“The residents loved it; it was such a beautiful day,” she tells The OMNIway. “It was nice and sunny, and they were able to eat outside and look at the water and watch the kids playing on the beach.”

After lunch, residents were treated to ice cream and then got to take a walk along the beach. The Port Stanley beach is wheelchair accessible which allowed all residents to participate, Lora notes.

Lora says the outing brought back fond childhood memories for several residents, and one of the best parts of the trip for her was hearing residents recall their experiences at Mackie’s and Port Stanley.

“A lot of the residents shared memories about going there when they were kids,” she says.

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Barbecue helps make a perfect Country Terrace afternoon

Good weather, great food and relaxing conversation mark the home’s first outdoor luncheon this summer

The first Country Terrace barbecue of 2022 had everything the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s residents and team members could have asked for: good weather, great food and relaxing conversation.

Even though Country Terrace does not have an actual barbecue – nutritional care manager Alex Achillini prepared all the food in the kitchen – the same ambiance one would expect to find at any outdoor cookout was still there, says Lora Blackett, the home’s life enrichment co-ordinator.

“The food was just as good,” Lora tells The OMNIway.

Alex put together “a lovely spread,” Lora adds, noting the lunchtime offerings included hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken burgers.

Country Terrace is currently undergoing a redevelopment project to add 50,518 square feet and eight beds to the home.

Due to construction at the back of the home, residents and team members went to the deck at the front to have lunch and enjoy the summer day, Lora says.

She says the meal was a hit with everyone.

“The residents enjoyed lunch,” Lora says. “We also served them some pop and coffee and juice, and they got to enjoy a nice burger outside on the deck.”

Lora commends Alex for his work in the kitchen to ensure the residents’ meals were top-notch.

“It was really good and the residents really enjoyed it, and Alex, of course, did a really amazing job just as he always does with the food,” she says.

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NCM brings a taste of the Middle East to the Country Terrace menu

Alex Achillini entered his chicken shawarma sandwich in the March Madness recipe challenge, finishing in the final four

Country Terrace nutritional care manager (NCM) Alex Achillini has brought a favourite taste of the Middle East to the menu at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home with his chicken shawarma sandwich.

Alex also entered this flavourful sandwich in OMNI Health Care’s first annual March Madness recipe contest, where it finished among the final four recipes.

Alex says he chose to enter his chicken shawarma sandwich in the contest because it’s a new item and “very tasty.”

Traditionally, chicken shawarma is made from pieces of marinated chicken stacked onto a spit and roasted. Once the chicken is cooked, it’s sliced and folded into pita bread, topped with salad, and finished with garlic mayonnaise and chili sauce.

In his version, Alex marinates diced chicken in a mixture of Greek yogourt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ground coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.

Once marinated, the chicken is sautéed until thoroughly cooked and stuffed into a bun with lettuce and tomato. The chicken and salad are topped with a garlic mayo made from mayonnaise and garlic powder.

Alex says he uses a bun instead of pita bread to make it easy for residents to eat. He serves the sandwich with a side of Greek pasta salad which, he says, “goes very well with the chicken shawarma.”

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the March Madness contest, which saw 16 recipes compete in a bracket contest where votes were cast each week between April 14 and May 6, was close.

The winning entry was a Mediterranean omelette that was created by another Country Terrace team member, Josephine Goddard.

OMNI launched the March Madness recipe challenge in March in recognition of Nutrition Month in Canada.

Chris came up with the idea to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI homes.

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

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Country Terrace team member enters favourite family steak recipe in March Madness challenge

Annabel Bonoan’s Asian steak is a big hit at home; now she’s making it for residents

Nutritional care team member Annabel Bonoan is bringing “a taste of home” to Country Terrace residents with her delicious Asian steak recipe.

Annabel entered this recipe, which is a favourite with her family in her native Philippines, in OMNI Health Care’s March Madness recipe contest. The recipe finished in the final-four qualifying round of the contest, which ended in May.

Her Asian steak is a recipe Annabel is proud of and she’s happy to share.

She starts by marinating steak in a mixture of soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, onion and peppers for two hours. Once the steak has become infused with even more flavour from the marinade, she adds the beef to a hot frying pan and sears the meat on both sides. Once seared, the steak is removed from the pan to rest.

While the steak is resting, Annabel adds the marinade back to the pan to deglaze. After heating the marinade for several minutes, she puts the beef back in the pan to finish.

Annabel explains why she chose to enter this recipe in the contest.

“I have chosen this recipe because it is one of my favourite dishes that comes from back home; I make it for my family all the time,” she says.

“I think the residents will like it because it is very flavourful, but not strong, and very simple.”

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the March Madness contest, which saw 16 recipes compete in a bracket contest where votes were cast each week between April 14 and May 6, was close.

The winning entry was a Mediterranean omelette, created by Josephine Goddard at Country Terrace, which won “by a very thin margin,” Chris says.

OMNI launched the first annual March Madness recipe challenge in March in recognition of Nutrition Month in Canada.

Chris came up with the idea to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI homes.

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

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Mediterranean omelette named winner of inaugural March Madness recipe contest

Country Terrace nutritional care team member Josephine Goddard created the recipe after being inspired by an omelette she had in a restaurant

Country Terrace nutritional care team member Josephine Goddard is the winner of OMNI Health Care’s first annual March Madness recipe contest for her entry, a Mediterranean omelette bursting with flavours.

Josephine says she got the idea for the omelette, which is a medley of spinach, eggplant, red pepper, mushrooms, onions, feta cheese and garlic, after ordering something similar in a restaurant once.

She says she liked what she tasted but thought it could be improved, so she got to work creating her own version, which has been a hit with residents at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home.

“When I saw the recipe contest, I immediately thought about the Mediterranean omelette; (it’s) such a great recipe,” Josephine says, adding this savoury egg dish has great versatility.

“(There are) a lot of flavours, and it can be used at breakfast and lunch.”

Chris Weber, OMNI’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the March Madness contest, which saw 16 recipes compete in a bracket contest where votes were cast each week between April 14 and May 6, was close, and the Mediterranean omelette won “by a very thin margin,” he says.

OMNI launched the first annual March Madness recipe challenge in March in recognition of Nutrition Month in Canada.

Chris came up with the idea to encourage nutritional care managers and cooks to showcase their most-loved recipes and to highlight the high-quality meals served in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes.

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

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

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Country Terrace moms receive aromatherapy bracelets

LEC creates unique accessories for Mother’s Day

The ladies of Country Terrace were treated to a special Mother’s Day gift when they received specially made aromatherapy bracelets courtesy of Lora Blackett, the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC).

Aromatherapy bracelets are beaded bracelets covered with a scent. Lora used lavender for the bracelets she made residents. Bracelets, she notes, were a unique way to combine a gift for Mother’s Day, which was May 8, with aromatherapy.

In addition to the bracelets, the Country Terrace mothers also received Mother’s Day cards and nutritional care manager Alex Achillini made special cupcakes for everyone to celebrate the occasion.

Lora got the idea to make the bracelets from administrator Christie Patterson, who formerly served as the home’s LEC. Christie had made aromatherapy bracelets for residents one Mother’s Day and they had been a big hit with residents.

Lora explains how the bracelets work.

“They are made from little beads that soak up essential oils and you just dab the beads with the oil,” she tells The OMNIway, adding, “lavender is a very calming scent,” which is why she chose it.

Lora notes that Mother’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year at Country Terrace. Lora, who became the Country Terrace LEC last October, says she wanted to make her first Mother’s Day at the home extra special.

Going with a tried and proven handmade gift felt like the perfect way to do so, she says.

“Mother’s Day is (so popular) here that it can sometimes be busier than Christmas,” Lora says. “Since the residents loved the bracelets when Christie made them, I thought it was a good idea to do it again.”

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PSW visits Country Terrace on his day off to bring residents Easter cheer

Trevor Blackmore is being praised for his commitment to residents

Country Terrace personal support worker (PSW) Trevor Blackmore is being praised for coming to work on his day off to bring some Easter cheer – and chocolates – to residents.

On Easter Sunday, Trevor turned up at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home to visit residents and deliver Easter sweets to them, a gesture life enrichment co-ordinator Lora Blackett says demonstrates Trevor’s commitment to residents and the passion he has for his work.

Lora says Trevor told her he dresses up as the Easter bunny for community functions every year, and he approached her with the idea to come to Country Terrace on Easter Sunday in costume with plenty of treats to hand out.

Trevor is a fairly new team member at Country Terrace and he wanted to share his Easter spirit with residents, Lora says.

“He went around and handed out chocolate and cheer to the residents who loved it,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents were laughing and hugging the Easter bunny. At one point the Easter bunny lost his tail – it just fell off – and the residents all thought that was hilarious.”

As much as the visit from the Easter bunny made residents’ day, the big story is about a staff member coming to work on his own time to make everyone’s day a little brighter, Lora says.

“I think it’s so amazing that staff here will volunteer their own time to spread cheer to the residents,” she says. “I think that really tells you the kind of person they are.

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Upbeat, collaborative atmosphere makes cooking at Country Terrace a joy, says team member

‘I haven’t had that at any other job,’ says Georgina Pantazopoulos

When Georgina Pantazopoulos started her position in the Country Terrace kitchen three years ago, she found the atmosphere to be both positive and collaborative, and this is just as true now as it was then, she says.

“Everyone here is so willing to help, so upbeat, all of the managers jump in to help when we need somebody or when we are short people, everybody really has a positive attitude and works together to make sure everything is running properly – I haven’t had that at any other job,” Georgina tells The OMNIway.

Georgina works as both a cook and a dietary aide at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home. There are plus sides to working two positions, she says.

When working as a cook, Georgina says she enjoys creating delicious meals that make residents happy. When working as a dietary aide, she gets to see first-hand the smiles on their faces when residents taste the meals the nutritional care team makes, she adds.

Georgina also credits nutritional care manager Alex Achillini and her colleagues in the dietary department for their strong support.

“Alex is incredible, I came here and got started and he got me set up with the cook’s training, so I’ve been doing that and there are lots of opportunities here, and they are always willing to help me go that extra mile and try new things,” she says.

Asked about her favourite meal to prepare for residents, Georgina doesn’t skip a beat with her response.

“We make a beef tenderloin here once in a while and it’s always incredible,” she says. “The residents love it. It is usually served with root vegetables, and Alex makes his special cheese bread to go with it.”

While Country Terrace is the first and only job Georgina has worked in long-term care, she says nothing has surprised her about her job – it has been everything she thought it would be.

“Everyone is so upbeat and caring, and that’s really nice – and that really makes a difference,” she says.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, beef tenderloin with root vegetables is the meal Country Terrace cook Georgina Pantazopoulos says she enjoys preparing most for residents.

Country Terrace dietary aide says fast-paced job is ‘a perfect fit’

‘I’m a person who likes to be always on the go and keep moving,’ says Joy Goddard

Joy Goddard learned about the job requirements long-term-care home dietary aides need from a friend who works as one. She told Joy it was a job that required people to work at a fast pace and have strong organizational skills along with a good memory.

That was all Joy needed to hear.

“I’m a person who likes to be always on the go and keep moving, so I thought this would be a perfect fit for me,” Joy tells The OMNIway.

“My friend told me that if you are working in the kitchen, you have to be organized or else you will fall behind, and I said, ‘I’m an organized person.’ ”

When a job opening for a dietary aide came up at Country Terrace, Joy applied and got the position. Eight years later, she’s still working at the Komoka, Ont. long-term care home.

Joy says she enjoys the fast-paced environment that comes with serving residents their meals. With more than 100 residents to serve during mealtimes, Joy says dietary aides need to be fast and efficient.

This means knowing residents’ specific preferences – for instance, what they like to drink with their meals or how they take their tea – so they can be served quickly.

Speedy service is crucial when there are more than 100 residents who are dining at any given time, Joy says.

“When you are working in the kitchen, it’s a really intense job and you have to be really, really organized and you have to keep up the speed and you have to know the residents,” she says.

As much as she enjoys the fast-paced environment that comes with the territory, Joy says her favourite part of her job is making residents happy.

“I really like working with the residents,” she says. “It’s really nice to see the residents enjoy what they’re eating.”

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