LEC commends team members for their hard work and resident focus

Rachael King applauds Garden Terrace life enrichment team for stepping in to help others during a recent outbreak

Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Rachael King is commending and thanking life enrichment team members for stepping up to help their colleagues in other departments when they could and ensuring that residents’ quality of life remained high during a recent outbreak at the home.

Rachael says several life enrichment team members who have their personal support worker (PSW) certification stepped in to help PSWs when they were short-staffed to provide resident care as well as to assist residents with feeding at mealtimes and other duties during the outbreak, which ended last week.

All the while, they continued to provide meaningful one-to-one time with residents to ensure received the important social and activity time they needed.

“Everyone has banded together and taken on different roles; they have worked together as a team to make it happen because at the end of the day they know that they are here for the residents,” Rachael tells The OMNIway.

“They have all been so helpful during this time.”

Rachael notes that some team members worked overtime, just to make sure residents’ and their co-workers’ needs were met.

What has been most impressive to Rachael, she notes, is how staff members keep their focus on residents and each other, no matter the obstacles they face.

“It means a lot because (of) work overload and fatigue; it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and it’s not just (the life enrichment team), it’s everyone stepping up (from other departments), it really solidifies the team mentality, not only for the staff but for the residents too because this is their home,” she says.

“Admirable” is the word Rachael uses to describe the initiative team members have shown to help each other out.

“People (were) willing to take the leap and give it their all, and that’s really what they’ve done,” she says.

“I really want to say thank you to them (because) I appreciate them, and I am appreciative of their support.”

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Garden Terrace celebrates the start of Chinese new year

With strict safety protocols in effect, residents welcomed in the Year of the Tiger

Garden Terrace residents said goodbye to the Year of the Ox and welcomed the start of the Year of the Tiger on Feb. 1 when the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home hosted a Chinese new year celebration.

Each year in the Chinese lunar calendar is named after an animal, and with this being the Year of the Tiger, residents kicked off celebrations with a craft program where they made tigers from paper plates that were then decorated.

Residents were also treated to fortune cookies while learning about Chinese new year and the history of the celebration.

Although Garden Terrace was dealing with an outbreak at the time of the event, all pandemic protocols were in effect to keep everyone safe.

Residents live on five floors at Garden Terrace, and as part of the safety protocols in effect, there were no gatherings between residents living on different floors. Social distancing was also in effect.

Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King says a great deal of organization amongst life enrichment team members goes into creating programs like this, and safety is always the top priority.

“We try to be as organized as possible in our program creation; it’s all about working together because we couldn’t do it without each other,” she tells The OMNIway.

“It’s us all working together to make sure the residents (have programming) because they need it right now.”

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Student says Garden Terrace placement has been a chance to positively impact people’s lives

‘I want all residents to be happy and to see them engaged – that’s what I like and I like to be a part of that,’ says Ellen Niekoop

Ellen Niekoop says the best part of her student placement at Garden Terrace has been the opportunity she has each day to make a positive difference in residents’ lives and to see residents tap into their full potential.

“I want all residents to be happy and to see them engaged – that’s what I like and I like to be a part of that,” says Ellen, a student in the community service worker program at the Native Education & Training College.

Ellen spoke with The OMNIway just before Christmas about her experiences as a placement student at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home. One of the benefits to students doing a placement in long-term care, she says, is that there are many different things to learn.

Helping residents during mealtimes, assisting with activities and lending a hand to staff members where needed are among the things Ellen does when she is at Garden Terrace three days a week.

But she says her favourite part of her placement work is doing one-to-one programming with residents. It’s through one-to-one programming that Ellen says she has learned the most about residents and their strengths.

“If I have to choose from all the activities, I have to say I like the one-on-one activities the most,” she says. “(During one-to-one programming) I have a chance to chat with the residents, and for me it is an opportunity to see how I can make them happy or get them more engaged.”

While Ellen says she’s still not sure where her career path will take her, she says her experience “seeing the residents smile” at Garden Terrace has had a positive impact on her time at the home.

Ellen also says she would recommend Garden Terrace to students looking for placement opportunities.

“This is a nice environment to work in and it will give any student a feel for what they would like to do further on,” she says. “If you like working with people, I would suggest doing it.”

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New programming and return of longtime favourites bring cheer at Garden Terrace in 2021

An educational environmental program, a carnival and the return of pet therapy mark a busy year at the home

Garden Terrace had a busy 2021, a year that saw life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Rachael King join the team and bring some new, innovative programming to the home as well as resume some favourite activities that were on hold during much of the pandemic.

Rachael, who became the LEC at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home in April, has a background in environmental education, and she used her expertise in this area to launch a weekly outdoor environmental education program for residents in summer.

The program teaches residents about North American animals and plants. The activity is similar to a scavenger hunt and encourages residents to move around the Garden Terrace courtyard to find animal miniatures and examples of flora with ID tags.

When residents find animals or plants, they read information sheets Rachael provides to learn about what each specimen is, its native habitat and a fun fact.

“There are a lot of great things to explore, and this program helps with cognition, memory and reminiscing, so I thought it would be cool to bring this to Garden Terrace,” Rachael said.

Another program highlight we saw at Garden Terrace this year was an outdoor carnival day the life enrichment team created 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 had a really fun time,” Rachael said. “They got to have fun and not worry because it has been a tough year.”

In September, with some pandemic restrictions eased, a longtime favourite program returned to Garden Terrace: pet therapy.

Two trained therapy dogs – a Labrador retriever and a Shetland sheepdog – visited Garden Terrace with their handlers from Ottawa Therapy Dogs on Sept. 14.

To keep everyone safe during the pandemic, the program was kept outside, and mask-wearing and social distancing protocols were in effect.

Rachael said residents were overjoyed to be able to visit with the dogs. The therapy dogs had been to the home before the pandemic began.


“They haven’t had pet therapy in over a year and a half, and a lot of the residents adore animals,” she said. “It was nice for them to get to see the dogs again.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Residents got to throw pies at Garden Terrace team members during the July carnival the home hosted.

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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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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Urban farm visit marks first outing for Garden Terrace since the pandemic began

‘The residents loved it; they said it was nice to be outside and enjoy a nice fall day’

It had been a long time coming. A group of Garden Terrace residents recently enjoyed their first outing since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020 when they took a trip to a local urban farm.

For their first outing in 19 months, six residents of the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home enjoyed a day at Maple Hill Urban Farm where they spent time visiting animals and learning about the 167-acre property located in nearby Nepean.

Animals residents visited included goats, alpacas, pigs, cats, dogs, ducks, chickens and cows.

With safety precautions in effect, visitors were not able to pet the animals, but the residents still enjoyed the excursion, says Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

Aside from the animals, residents and accompanying Garden Terrace team members got to check out a pumpkin patch and everyone was treated to coffee and Timbits as well, Rachael notes.

Rachael says residents enjoyed their long-awaited outing, noting the hospitality, good weather and especially the animals helped make the excursion memorable for everyone.

“The residents loved it; they said it was nice to be outside and enjoy a nice fall day,” she tells The OMNIway.

“It was nice for them to see the animals.”

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Garden Terrace pays tribute to veterans on Remembrance Day

Six resident veterans attended the emotional service

Garden Terrace hosted a Remembrance Day service Nov. 11 to pay tribute to those who have served Canada and to honour the soldiers who didn’t return home from war.

Attending the service were six veterans living at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home, some of whom saw combat, who wore their uniforms and medals, says Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

There were also some residents attending who had spouses or other family members who had served in the Armed Forces, she adds.

About 12 residents as well as family members and staff attended the ceremony.

Rev. Jonathan Kelly from Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church read Scripture as well as John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields.

Bagpiper Brandon Stewart went to the courtyard and played songs, such as Amazing Graze, as part of the service. There was a moment of silence and a wreath-laying ceremony at the service as well, Rachael notes.

Rachael says the service was a sombre occasion, especially for the resident veterans attending.

“It was a very emotional service for them, but they were very grateful that they got to experience it,” she tells The OMNIway.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Resident Jack Dean and bagpiper Brandon Stewart are seen here during the Remembrance Day service at Garden Terrace.

Garden Terrace turns Snoezelen room into a haunted house

Spooky Halloween idea sparks a high level of resident engagement

In the days leading up to Halloween, the life enrichment team at Garden Terrace turned the home’s Snoezelen room into a haunted house, and the idea sparked lots of interest from residents.

Team members at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home put some “frightening” decorations inside the Snoezelen room and included a fortune teller and palm reader as well.

There was also an activity called “spooky senses” that had people put their hands in a jar to feel “brains”, “eyes” and bags of “blood”. The “eyes” were olives and the “brains” were candy brains that were purchased at a dollar store. The “blood” was syrup.

Snoezelen rooms are special rooms designed to provide quiet environments and sensory stimulation. The Garden Terrace Snoezelen room contains a variety of sensory stimulating items, so it made the perfect haunted house.

Halloween is a favourite holiday for many people, and the haunted house garnered lots of interest from residents, says life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King.

The big success of the day, Rachael says, was the high level of resident engagement the haunted house created.

“Throughout the day there were about 20 residents who circled in and out,” she tells The OMNIway.

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Family member reflects on the importance of having ‘hard conversations’ early

It’s never too early for us to start having conversations with loved ones and medical professionals about our health and well-being in order to live better and help us prepare for the future, says Julia Gamble.

This is something Julia, whose father is a resident of Garden Terrace, says she has learned first-hand.

“If I could go back in time, I think I would (talk with my father) about the importance of eating well, being healthy and exercising,” Julia recently told The OMNIway.

“I think having the hard conversations before they are needed is important.”

Julia describes her father as a “strong, proud man” who was athletic and had played football in his younger years. He also had an illustrious career in public service.

However, by the time Julia’s dad reached middle age, a busy career, coupled with the other constraints in life most of us experience, left less time for physical activity and eating well, she says.

As years went by, this would have an impact on his health and would later lead to circumstances requiring Julia’s dad to move into long-term care.

Julia says what she has learned from her experience with her dad’s journey into long-term care is that what we do in our 40s, 50s and 60s – or even younger – has a large impact on how we age, and that the time to have discussions about our health is in our younger years.

With this in mind, Julia believes that being proactive today will help address tomorrow’s health-care challenges.

Julia notes that we have an aging population. According to the Government of Canada, in 2012 one in seven Canadians was a senior citizen. By 2030, that number is expected to jump to one in four.

Given the impact an aging population will have on the greater health-care sector, Julia says people who are middle-aged today need to start thinking about what they can do now to improve their health outcomes later on.

“(We need) to have the hard conversations about aging early and with our doctor,” Julia says. “Ask yourself how you want your final 10 to 25 years to be.”

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story

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PHOTO CAPTION: This photo, submitted by Julia Gamble, shows her father as a young football player.