Fun-filled week at Maplewood includes a ‘deer hunt’ and a travelling food cart

Activities like this ‘help with the loneliness we all may be experiencing during this pandemic,’ says administrator

The Maplewood team recently hosted a fun-filled week for the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s residents that was highlighted by a “deer hunt” and the life enrichment team transforming a mobile snack cart into both a hot dog and banana-split stand.

Life enrichment aide (LEA) Lynanne Campbell saw a Facebook post recently about a mock deer hunt that was organized by a long-term care home on Manitoulin Island. The activity had staff members dress up as deer and residents were tasked to “hunt the deer” with Nerf guns.

Lynanne gathered the needed supplies, starting with her own costumes which include many animals. She then transformed the dining room into a “forest”. She enlisted the help of residents and staff.

“What followed was genuine happiness,” Maplewood administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery tells The OMNIway.

“It was truly awesome.”

Rachel says Lynanne and fellow LEA Rosanne Blackburn also harnessed their creative flair and dressed up as food-cart vendors to serve hot dogs and banana splits during the week of Jan. 3 to Jan. 9.

Not only was Maplewood’s mobile snack cart transformed to match the theme of the day, there was also music played to match the theme, Rachel notes.

Rachel underscores the difference activities like this make to residents and Maplewood team members.

“It truly is amazingly creative,” she says. “(These activities) help with the loneliness we all may be experiencing during this pandemic and all the restrictions.”

Rachel also commends the life enrichment team for adapting so well to the changes that have affected the home since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

“Yes, our activities have changed, yes, we all wear masks, we miss our families, but the fun and laughter hasn’t changed,” she says.

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Maplewood residents treated to in-home Christmas parade

The event went over so well, plans are in the works to host another parade next holiday season

Life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn and her colleagues at Maplewood are known for coming up with creative ideas to enhance the quality of life for residents at the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, and just before Christmas they organized another engaging event that put smiles on lots of faces: an in-home Santa Claus parade.

On Dec. 23, Rosanne and the life enrichment team decorated an antique crib to look like a sleigh. Inside the sleigh was a Santa Claus figure with lights along with snowmen and wrapped gift boxes.

One resident, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, walked behind the sleigh, while another resident, dressed as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, led the procession in a motorized scooter that was fitted with Christmas lights.

The parade went down a hallway and into the dining room, just before lunch was served. Traditional Christmas band music was played as the parade made its way through the home. There were seven participants in the parade.

Rosanne says the sight of the Santa Claus parade drew lots of cheers from residents as they watched the procession.

“All the residents enjoyed the parade as they waved with smiles,” Rosanne tells The OMNIway, adding the parade was planned for lunchtime to ensure most residents could watch.

Rosanne says the parade went over so well with residents she plans to make the event a Christmas tradition at Maplewood.

“This was our first Christmas parade, and it was such a success that we will continue it next year,” she says.

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Maplewood LEA creates humorous skit based on famous Christmas poem for residents to enjoy

Rosanne Blackburn’s rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas is the latest example of how she uses creativity to enhance quality of life for residents

Maplewood life enrichment aide (LEA) Rosanne Blackburn is often using her creativity to enhance the quality of life for residents at the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home, and she recently recruited her co-workers and some residents to perform a skit based on a parody of the famous poem Twas the Night Before Christmas.

“I just thought it would be nice to do something different,” she tells The OMNIway. “I always used to make up my own poetry, so I thought I would make up my own version of the poem for the home to act out.”

Rosanne says a conversation with a member of the Maplewood nutritional care team inspired her to write a parody of the poem and create a skit. The two were chatting about how to keep residents’ spirits high during the holiday season amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Rosanne’s colleague suggested a humorous skit, and Rosanne thought, “what a good idea.”

“I just went home that night and tried to think of something that we could do that was short for the lunch service, and I just came up with Twas the Night Before Christmas – but in my own words,” she says.

The performance of the poem happened shortly before lunch was served on Dec. 10.

Rachel Corkery, Maplewood’s administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator, commends Rosanne for the creativity she has brought to the home to help enhance the quality of life for residents over the years.

Rosanne has been an especially valuable asset to residents since the pandemic began in March, she adds.

“She truly has been such an out-of-the-box thinker during this pandemic, and has come up with some amazing ways to brighten everyone’s day,” Rachel says.

Here is Rosanne’s rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas:

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the room
The residents were all ready for the food service soon

Diana the cook forgot to make soup
So she ran in the kitchen and she said “oh poop”

Harry just laughed and said that is alright

Make the soup later we’ll have it tonight

Corina hit the table and shook her head NO
I want my soup now and don’t be too slow

When out came Jackie with two plates in her hand
So hot to the touch, it was all she could stand

Tracy came out wondering, what’s going on

She said this will not happen in here from now on

The PSWs were waiting, oh so patiently

To start with feeding, all smiling with glee

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

Rosanne in her costume … a happy reindeer

The nurses just laughed and thought, what a sight
Don’t turn on the music, or she will dance, she just might


Now Diana, now Jackie, now Tracy and Rosanne
Please tell me, please tell me, do you all have a plan?

They sprang to the kitchen and gave us a whistle
The way they all flew like the down of a thistle

I heard them exclaims as they dove out of sight
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Four-year-old gets birthday wish of spending the day with ‘her people’ at Maplewood

Avery Smith Kargus celebrated her special day outside the home with residents watching on

Four-year-old Avery Smith Kargus considers the people living at Maplewood as “her people.”

For the past two years when Avery’s birthday has rolled around, she has requested her party be held at the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home where her mother, Paula Smith Kargus, works as a personal support worker.

However, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Avery has not been able to visit “her people” for the past nine months.

Still, Avery wanted her birthday plans to include Maplewood, so she and Paula had to think of a different way of celebrating her special day.

Last year, Avery’s birthday party was held at Maplewood. Maplewood administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator Rachel Corkery recalls the day being “so much fun for everyone.”

Although they couldn’t have Avery’s party inside Maplewood this year, they could, Avery and Paula discovered, have a celebration outside the home.

So that’s what they did.

On Dec. 5, Paula brought a birthday cake to Maplewood for residents to enjoy, and Avery visited residents from outside their windows.

“Although Avery was disappointed that she couldn’t come inside to visit her friends, she was happy that ‘her people’ got birthday cake, and her friends were so happy to sing Happy Birthday for Avery,” Rachel tells The OMNIway.

Rachel notes that the community also stepped in to help Avery celebrate her special day.

When Paula mentioned that Avery wanted a police car for her birthday, a Maplewood team member contacted the local OPP detachment and arranged for police to drive by her home with their sirens sounding.

Rachel says the kindness shown towards Avery is part and parcel of what Maplewood is all about.

“We truly are the Maplewood family here,” she says.

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Maplewood LEA shares her First Nations culture with residents

Rosanne Blackburn recently performed a traditional dance, which received a warm round of applause

Life enrichment aide (LEA) Rosanne Blackburn is known for entertaining the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s residents with her Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton impersonations, but she recently changed things up and shared some of her Ojibwa culture by performing a ceremonial dance.

On Sept. 22, Rosanne, dressed in her traditional regalia, danced for residents, who gave her a warm round of cheers.

She explains how the idea came to her.

“I was listening to Native music one evening, and the idea for dancing for the residents came to me,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents loved it. They were clapping their hands in their rooms.”

Rosanne dances at powwows every summer; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these traditional First Nations social gatherings were cancelled.

Having an opportunity to dance for Maplewood residents was a way for Rosanne to continue doing something she enjoys while sharing an important piece of her culture with residents.

Rosanne says she tries to do something special for residents every week.

Performing a traditional First Nations dance for residents also proved to be an opportunity for Rosanne to learn about some residents’ own cultural backgrounds.

“There were a couple of residents who I did not know came from Native cultures,” she says.

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Maplewood residents help make realistic front yard fall display

‘We have had quite a few people walk by and stop to look at the display, so the residents are proud’

Applefest may have been cancelled in the town of Brighton due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop Maplewood residents and staff from pitching in to keep the spirit of the annual celebration of all things apple alive.

Applefest is a flagship event held every September in Brighton that features a street fair, a parade and a variety of entertainment, and Maplewood residents and staff members always attend.

To keep things safe during the pandemic, the municipality encouraged local businesses to create festive autumn displays on their property, so the folks at Maplewood decided to get in on the action.

Residents and life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn created a front yard scene that features a very lifelike display of a Maplewood nurse and a resident – both wearing face masks to promote safety – surrounding a table covered with apples and a bag of flour to make apple pies.

Residents were involved with creating the display by helping with crafts, such as colouring foam balls red and green to make the apples.

They also glued the foam apples to a cupcake stand Rosanne gave them so the replica fruit wouldn’t blow away.

There’s even a homemade apple tree with laminated apples dangling from it the residents made, and the flour bag included in the display was crafted by residents from a potato sack.

With social distancing protocols in effect, Rosanne brought a few residents outside to stuff the display nurse with garbage bags, and residents decided on how everything was arranged.

Rosanne says the display is so realistic some pedestrians have had to look twice when passing by.

“We have had quite a few people walk by and stop to look at the display, so the residents are proud,” she says.

The display was completed Sept. 18 and will remain on Maplewood’s front lawn for the next few days.

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Local musical duo brings lunchtime entertainment to Maplewood residents

‘This is definitely a lunch experience to write home about’

A local favourite vocal-guitar duo stopped by Maplewood on Aug. 12 to provide some safe outdoor lunchtime entertainment for the Brighton, Ont. long-term care home’s residents.

The performance on Maplewood’s front lawn from Ray Herbert and Ralph de Jonge, who call themselves R and R, was so moving that Rachel Corkery, Maplewood’s administrator, was inspired to send out an e-mail to The OMNIway as well as residents’ families as she watched.

“As I write this email I am listening to the glorious music that R and R are playing for our residents,” she writes. “Our residents and staff are so excited for this day.”

While R and R performed, residents got to enjoy a barbecue lunch along with blueberry smoothies.

Indoor entertainment and large-group programming have been suspended in OMNI Health Care’s 18 long-term care homes since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in March in an effort to keep residents and staff members safe from the highly contagious virus.

Being able to provide safe outdoor entertainment for residents was a welcome change.

“This is definitely a lunch experience to write home about,” Rachel says.

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Maplewood LEA Rosanne Blackburn is taking on the role of in-house entertainer

Maplewood life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn, pictured above, recently dressed as Elvis and danced to one of the King’s songs for the home’s residents.

‘I just want to put a smile on residents’ faces and make them laugh – and it’s working’

Since Maplewood residents have been missing their regular entertainment due to restrictions in place during the global COVID-19 pandemic, life enrichment aide (LEA) Rosanne Blackburn has been coming up with ways to keep people smiling and the laughter flowing. Read more

The sister of a new Maplewood resident is applauding staff for their care during a challenging time

Betty Wagner says the Maplewood team has provided a safe, loving environment for her sister

Moving into a long-term care home is often a big change for new residents, and during a global pandemic there are even more changes to adapt to. Read more

Maplewood uses PA system to spread cheer

Home makes daily announcements, shares jokes

Maplewood is using its PA system to give residents a smile during the global pandemic restrictions that have those who live there isolated in their rooms. Read more