Residents give back through Christmas Bazaar

Streamway Villa seniors support Philippines relief, the Giving Tree

November 28, 2013 — Jennifer Neutel 

Streamway Villa’s annual Christmas Bazaar has a new element this year that Christina Verleysen says may make it the best yet – the residents’ council is putting all proceeds towards two good causes.

Some of the funds raised will be donated towards Typhoon Haiyan Philippines relief. OMNI Health Care president and CEO Patrick McCarthy sent out an e-mail noting that any money makes a difference, prompting the idea. OMNI is matching donations made towards Typhoon Haiyan relief dollar for dollar, and the Government of Canada is doubling every individual donation.

The rest of the funds will go towards purchasing gifts for two children in need through the Northumberland Mall’s Giving Tree. Children who appear on the Giving Tree are referred by a number of community organizations.

“It’s definitely going to be one busy Christmas, however it’s going to be probably the best bazaar yet because of what we are putting the funds towards,” says Christina Verleysen, life enrichment coordinator at the long-term care home.

The residents’ council vice-president came to Verleysen’s office noting she had spoken with other residents and they all agreed these causes are what they want the bazaar proceeds to be spent on.

Verleysen notes the residents’ council fund currently has a healthy savings allowing the funds to be used in this way, rather than putting it towards entertainment and outings.

The Christmas Bazaar is taking place at the Cobourg home this Saturday, Nov. 30, from 2 to 4 p.m.

There is a $2 charge at the door. Music entertainment will be provided by Doug Morgan and tea, coffee and hot chocolate will be served.

Family members are providing baked goods. The home’s administrator Kylie Szczebonski takes photographs and frames them as raffle prizes, which are a big hit, says Verleysen.

Residents have been making salsa and cranberry ketchup to sell. A woman whose mother previously lived at the home has also rented a table to sell items.

To spread the word about the event an ad was placed in the local newspaper, and family members have since told Verleysen that is how they found out about it.

“I am hoping to see more of the community coming in this year,” says Verleysen.

Being located close to Cobourg’s downtown, hosting the bazaar allows the home to get its name out in the community and is a way to do something active and give back, she adds.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or email jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or e-mail jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

‘It’s certainly Christmas at Riverview Manor’

 Baking, decorations and special events lead up to the holidays

November 26, 2013 — Jennifer Neutel

With Christmas a month away, residents at Riverview Manor have been busy baking goodies for their bake sale this Friday, just one of several events taking place at the Peterborough long-term care home leading up to the holidays.

Life enrichment co-ordinator Sonia Murney says the baking has produced smells throughout the home luring people into the activity room where residents and staff have been “little Betty Crockers.”

This past weekend residents and staff made fudge, peanut butter fudge, maple fudge, mincemeat tarts, cherry tarts and banana bread.

“They are the kings and queens of baking,” says Murney.

There is one rule: that the first batch is a taste test, and after that it’s for the bake sale, Murney says with a laugh.

The baking provides a time for memories and reminiscing.

“If you look at our residents and the religious factor where they would have been part of their church, and they would have been part of their church bazaar and it brings back true memories that way, as well as just the smells alone – it’s a warm and cozy feeling,” Murney tells The OMNIway.

Everyone is welcome to come to the Nov. 29 bake sale, which runs from 2-4 p.m. at the Peterborough home. Funds raised through the sale will go towards the residents’ council.

In addition to the delicious smells, the home looks festive for the holidays.

“It’s certainly Christmas at Riverview Manor. The home is beautifully decorated with the help of the residents as well as the activity department,” says Murney, noting the nursing stations on each side of the home takes on decorating their station.

The spirit of giving is also present at the home. Office manager Virginia Murphy says Riverview Manor is collecting toys for the Country 105 Christmas Toy Drive, which collects new unwrapped toys for The Salvation Army. People can drop donations off at the home until Dec. 14, when the Miracle Broadcast will happen live from Peterborough’s Lansdowne Place.

“It’s good to get involved in the community, we try to do that a lot,” notes Murphy.

Every year the home has a residents’ wish tree in its main office. The name of each resident is on the tree and people can pick a name and buy that resident a gift to open Christmas morning.

Jay Lough Hayes from Peterborough Realty is assisting with the residents’ wish tree for the second year through the Christmas Elves for Seniors program. This year Hayes took 18 resident names. St. Anne’s Church is also donating beautiful quilted lap blankets.

“There’s a ton of community involvement and donations that help out for every home,” says Murney. “It’s incredible everybody steps up to the plate this time of year and it’s wonderful the love that you get.”

During the first week of December the home hosts two Christmas turkey dinners for families.

If you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway, please contact newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or email deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 26, or e-mail jennifer(at)axiomnews.ca.

Garden Terrace’s success at awards ceremony reflective of OMNI’s values

Garden Terrace staff members are seen here at this year's You and Me for Memories An Evening to Remember gala.

Garden Terrace staff members are seen here at this year’s You and Me for Memories An Evening to Remember gala.

“Administrator praises nominees for focus on the OMNIway”

November 1, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Since Ottawa-area Alzheimer’s support group You and Me for Memories launched the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award in 2009 three OMNI Health Care team members have won the accolade. This, notes Garden Terrace administrator Carolyn Della Foresta, says a lot about OMNI as a long-term care provider.

While staff members adhere to each of OMNI’s core values, the administrator points to the value of “respect” as being one that gets much focus from this year’s nominees.

Della Foresta says the success OMNI staff members have had winning the award is also indicative of the organization’s motto — “Our passion is people.”

Garden Terrace life enrichment aide (LEA) Kellie Bennett is the most recent winner of the award, which is given out at the annual An Evening to Remember gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

Two other OMNI team members, Garden Terrace personal support worker (PSW) Birru Firew and Almonte Country Haven LEA Jessica Lynch, were also among the five finalists chosen by an independent selection committee.

Past winners include Forest Hill PSW Beverley Berard, who won in 2010, and Garden Terrace PSW Abe Asmeron, who took the honour in 2009.

“Of the five years, three winners have been from OMNI, so that says something about the staff that we have,” Della Foresta tells the OMNIway.

While scores of award nominations came in to the selection committee from across the Ottawa region, Della Foresta says she’s honoured that three caregivers represented OMNI and two were from Garden Terrace.

Della Foresta also praises Bennett and Firew for their nominations making it to the final judging, adding they deserve to be recognized for their tireless efforts serving residents.

“It was so fantastic to see them getting the kudos they deserve, because they don’t get that as often on the floor as they should,” she says.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Almonte Country Haven honours staff at awards ceremony

Long-time service and dedication to home recognized

Almonte Country Haven recently recognized several dedicated staff members at a ceremony where service pins and gifts were given as a token of gratitude. Read more

OMNI LEA wins prestigious caregiver award

‘At the end of each day I feel like it’s my life that has been enriched by the residents,’ says Kellie Bennett

October 29, 2013 — Deron Hamel

It may be Kellie Bennett’s job to enrich people’s lives but she says it’s her life that’s made better through her work with Garden Terrace residents.

Garden Terrace LEA Kellie Bennett (centre) is seen here after winning the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award.

Garden Terrace LEA Kellie Bennett (centre) is seen here after winning the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award.

A life enrichment aide (LEA) at Garden Terrace, Bennett was honoured on Saturday (Oct. 26) with the 2013 Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award. It was presented in Ottawa during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala.

“At the end of each day I feel like it’s my life that has been enriched by the residents,” she tells the OMNIway. “This means the world to me; I’m very honoured.”

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually at gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

While she says she’s “honoured” to have won the award, Bennett notes the impact has yet to sink in. As happy as she is to have won the award, Bennett says she’s even more proud that the selection committee chose a life enrichment worker, adding LEAs play a major role in the lives of long-term care residents who have dementia.

Bennett was nominated for the accolade by administrator Carolyn Della Foresta. Like Bennett, Della Foresta comes from a life enrichment background and knows first-hand the difference LEAs make in residents’ lives.

Della Foresta nominated Bennett because of the LEA’s personalized approach to working with residents affected by cognitive impairment. The administrator saw that when Bennett worked with residents they would often enjoy an activity they didn’t think they wanted to do, simply because of Bennett’s kind, caring approach.

“With Kellie, nothing is done for show — every decision that is made in her day is about what is good for the residents,” says Della Foresta.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by families of Garden Terrace residents.

This year saw three front-line workers from OMNI Health Care long-term care homes. They were Bennett, Garden Terrace personal support worker Birru Firew and Almonte Country Haven LEA Jessica Lynch.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

‘Perpetual smiling staff member’ lives the OMNIway

Jessica Lynch nominated for Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award

From picking flowers with residents to helping them make fresh fruit smoothies, Jessica Lynch “lives” the OMNI values of honesty, integrity, creativity, and fun and laughter. Read more

Kellie Bennett’s caring approach to programming recognized

‘Her respect and genuine regard for each individual resident comes through clearly in both her words and actions’

October 24, 2013 — Deron Hamel 

Creating meaningful programming for residents affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia is a challenge for most programming departments, but one Garden Terrace life enrichment worker embraces that challenge — and gets positive results.

Because of her tenacity and resident focus, life enrichment aide (LEA) Kellie Bennett has been nominated for the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award, which will be announced Oct. 26 during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala in Ottawa.

In her letter to the nomination committee, Garden Terrace administrator Carolyn Della Foresta praises Bennett’s ability to engage residents and get a positive reaction.

“I have watched as Kellie has sung her heart out as she walks around a room, reaching forward and clasping residents’ hands in an effort to engage them — I have watched those residents respond to this gesture in a way I have never seen them respond to other staff,” says Della Foresta.

“She can elicit a smile, a wink, a hug from people that many would consider unreachable. . . . Kellie shows incredible patience with residents as they try to complete a task for themselves during a program — she doesn’t rush them — she encourages them and then she celebrates with them.”

Bennett takes a personalized approach when working on an activity with residents affected by cognitive impairment, often changing her methods until she finds an intervention that works. Often, a resident will enjoy an activity they didn’t think they wanted to do, simply because of Bennett’s kind, caring approach.

And Bennett always upholds residents’ dignity, Della Foresta adds.

“Her respect and genuine regard for each individual resident comes through clearly in both her words and actions,” she says.

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually during the You and Me for Memories and Evening to Remember Gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

— More to come

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

Think pink: Willows raises breast cancer awareness

Home hosts its first Pink Day

October 23, 2013 — Deron Hamel

Given that the majority of staff members and residents at Willows Estate are women, it was fitting for the Aurora long-term care home to host Pink Day to support breast cancer research and awareness, says life enrichment co-ordinator Teddy Mazzuca.

Because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, administrator Linda Burr suggested at the start of October that the Willows team reserve

Willows Estate residents Joan Caldwell and Margaret Cunningham are seen here during the home's Oct. 11 Pink Day.

Willows Estate residents Joan Caldwell and Margaret Cunningham are seen here during the home’s Oct. 11 Pink Day.

a day to raise awareness of breast cancer, a disease that will affect approximately one in every nine Canadian women in their lifetime.

“It was nice to be able to give our support,” Mazzuca tells the OMNIway, adding that this is the first Pink Day the home has hosted.

Residents and staff members began organizing the Oct. 11 event. The first thing the group did was make pink tie-dyed T-shirts. Residents and staff members also baked cupcakes frosted with pink icing that were sold on Pink Day.

The team also sold pink grapefruit flavoured Tic Tac mints. Pink Tic Tacs are sold in autumn in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the manufacturer, Ferraro, makes a $100,000 donation to breast cancer research.

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, 23,800 women and 200 men in Canada will be diagnosed with the disease in 2013.

Click here for more information on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Do you have a story you would like to share with the OMNIway? If so, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

PSW praised for focus on ensuring people’s dignity

Birru Firew nominated for Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award

October 22, 2013 — Deron Hamel

On any given day, Garden Terrace personal support worker (PSW) Birru Firew can be found working with residents affected by cognitive impairment and going above and beyond his responsibilities.

Firew often takes on tasks that increase his workload, says administrator Carolyn Della Foresta. But because his No. 1 priority is residents he never shows an ounce of stress, she adds, noting he exhibits patience, kindness and genuine caring every day.

Ensuring residents living with dementia maintain their dignity is of utmost importance to Firew, says Della Foresta, adding she has seen the PSW encourage residents to complete tasks independently. When they do, Firew is standing there with a big smile.

This is why the administrator has nominated Firew for the Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award, which will be announced Oct. 26 during the You and Me for Memories Evening to Remember Gala in Ottawa.

“His respect and reverence for each of the residents entrusted to his care is evident in his words, his actions and his smile,” says Della Foresta in her nomination.

“His soothing and calm approach with his residents can be described as angelic.  Even though his workload is tremendous and his duties are taxing, no one around him would ever know and the residents he is caring for would certainly never feel that he is experiencing any stress.”

As a testament to Firew’s gift as a caregiver, Della Foresta says the PSW has amazing success working with female residents. This, she notes, is often challenging for male caregivers, but Firew’s caring nature overcomes this, she says.

“I believe that our residents see in Birru what each of us would so desperately long for if we were in their shoes — I believe they see comfort.”

Della Foresta tells the nominating committee that Firew doesn’t expect any recognition for his work — for him it’s all about the residents.

“Nothing with Birru is for show — it is genuinely who he is and how he desires to care for his residents,” she says.

“He can often be seen reassuring a resident, calming them down when they are upset for no apparent reason and in doing so preserving their pride and helping them back to a place of peace.”

The Anita St-Jean Memorial Caregiver of the Year Award is given out annually during the You and Me for Memories and Evening to Remember Gala to front-line caregivers in the Ottawa region who have shown outstanding performance in caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

You and Me for Memories is a grassroots group raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research. It was started in 2008 by family members of Garden Terrace residents.

— More to come

Roots of resident’s interests found in early station days

Frank Trombley’s latest endeavour: a wooden diorama

CAMPBELLFORD, Ont. – Frank Trombley has no problem finding something to occupy his time. The Burnbrae Gardens resident is enthralled by a wide variety of things. Read more